A UK tribunal has made a significant legal decision favoring Clearview AI, a controversial US facial recognition tech company, by overturning a £7.5 million fine imposed by the UK’s privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The fine was related to Clearview unlawfully storing facial images of UK citizens. The tribunal’s ruling was based on the question of jurisdiction and foreign law enforcement’s use of data from British citizens. The tribunal found in favor of Clearview because its technology is not used by UK police, and there’s an exemption in UK data protection laws for use by foreign law enforcement. The tribunal stated that the ICO didn’t have the authority to issue the fine, even though Clearview processed data from people in the UK. It emphasized that Clearview’s clients were primarily in the US, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, focusing on cross-border investigations. Clearview AI’s technology relies on a vast database of 30 billion facial images from the internet, which has caused controversy. The company’s facial recognition app is used by US law enforcement agencies to search for matches to specific faces. The ICO said it would review the judgment and noted that the ruling doesn’t impact its ability to take action against international companies processing data from people in the UK, particularly those involved in data scraping activities. This case was about a specific exemption for foreign law enforcement agencies.
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