France Sanctions Clearview AI €20M for Violating GDPR Rules

Clearview AI, the New York-based facial recognition firm that is targeting 100 billion facial images in its database by the close of 2022, has been fined €20 million ($19.7 million) by France’s data protection authority, the CNIL, for what the agency says is the illegal collection and processing of personal biometric data belonging to French citizens. The fine comes after the CNIL last year ordered Clearview to cease data collection and delete its existing database, instructions the company reportedly ignored. This is Clearview’s third breach of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) pertaining to France. Continue reading France Sanctions Clearview AI €20M for Violating GDPR Rules

Microsoft Pulls AI Analysis Tool Azure Face from Public Use

As part of an overhaul of its AI ethics policies, Microsoft is retiring from the public sphere several AI-powered facial analysis tools, including a controversial algorithm that purports to identify a subject’s emotion from images. Other features Microsoft will excise for new users this week and phase out for existing users within a year include those that claim the ability to identify gender and age. Advocacy groups and academics have expressed concern regarding such facial analysis features, characterizing them as unreliable and invasive as well as subject to bias. Continue reading Microsoft Pulls AI Analysis Tool Azure Face from Public Use

Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Facial recognition software company Clearview AI has agreed to limit U.S. sales of its identity database to businesses and other private actors as part of a lawsuit settlement. The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups, was filed in state court in Illinois, where the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) is considered the nation’s strongest data privacy law. The lawsuit alleged that Clearview routinely scraped images of state residents from the Internet without obtaining their permission or making them aware of the practice. Continue reading Clearview to Limit Sales After Settling Illinois Privacy Lawsuit

Pew Research Finds Americans Suspicious of AI and Biotech

A Pew Research study finds the public has a cautionary attitude toward artificial intelligence and human enhancements, with concerns about potentially unintended consequences of autonomous machines, and fear of what accelerated change in these areas might mean for society. The survey of more than 10,250 U.S. adults in November 2021 examined opinions of six technologies broken down into two categories: AI and bioengineering, with crossover in the area of AI-enhanced exoskeletons. Across all categories, a majority believe that federal government and “end users” should be involved — along with the creators or inventors — in setting standards. Continue reading Pew Research Finds Americans Suspicious of AI and Biotech

Clearview AI Courts Investors While Facing Privacy Pushback

Clearview AI is positioning itself for a major expansion that is already generating major controversy. At a December financial presentation, the New York-based firm reportedly predicted it will have 100 billion facial images in its database by the end of 2022 — or about 14 photos for each of the earth’s 7 billion people. And there is said to have been talk of surveilling gig economy workers, identifying people based on how they walk and remotely scanning fingerprints. While the company’s 34-year-old founder and chief exec Hoan Ton-That is careful to present the firm as a crime-fighting tool, its broader implications are chilling. Continue reading Clearview AI Courts Investors While Facing Privacy Pushback

Guidelines, Accountability Considered as AI Becomes Priority

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are technologies with lots of heat behind them, and some controversy. Organizations (including the Entertainment Technology Center at USC) are working to better understand the ramifications of AI and how to hold its users accountable. Among the criticisms is that AI disproportionately exhibits bias against minority groups — the so-called “discrimination feedback loop.” In November, the New York City Council became the first in the nation to pass a law requiring that the hiring and promotion algorithms of employers be subject to audit. Continue reading Guidelines, Accountability Considered as AI Becomes Priority

Meta Halts Face Recognition Opt-In, Continues Development

Facebook parent Meta has announced it is shutting down the social network’s facial recognition technology program, deleting more than a billion individual face templates. Even users who have opted in will no longer be automatically recognized in photos and videos, according to the company. Meta vice president of artificial intelligence Jerome Pesenti emphasized the technology’s helpfulness in auto-generated image descriptions for the blind and visually impaired, conceding it was necessary to weigh “the positive use cases for facial recognition against growing societal concerns, especially as regulators have yet to provide clear rules.” Continue reading Meta Halts Face Recognition Opt-In, Continues Development

European Parliament Recommends Ban of Facial Recognition

The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution that calls for banning law enforcement’s use of biometric surveillance, including facial recognition. The vote signals what Parliament is willing to adopt as part of the Artificial Intelligence Act being developed by the European Commission. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) advocate for a permanent ban on automated recognition of individuals in public spaces in addition to the use of private facial recognition databases such as those developed by companies including New York-based Clearview AI.  Continue reading European Parliament Recommends Ban of Facial Recognition

Clearview Facial Recognition Adds Deblur and Mask Removal

Undeterred by lawsuits and demands to stop scraping social media, facial recognition firm Clearview AI is plowing ahead with efforts to expand its database and introduce new tools. Company co-founder and CEO Hoan Ton-That said Clearview has collected more than 10 billion images from social media and the Internet, while the company is adding new tools to help users, often law enforcement, obtain matches. Most recently, the company developed a deblur tool in addition to mask removal, which uses machine learning to recreate the covered part of a person’s face. However, use of such tools raises concerns that individuals could be wrongly identified or biases could result. Continue reading Clearview Facial Recognition Adds Deblur and Mask Removal

Gaming Industry Reacts to New Entertainment Rules in China

Chinese online game companies are falling in line with Xi Jinping’s government mandate to curb negative influences on the country’s youth, vowing to self-police the workarounds kids have found to circumvent regulatory limits on play-time. In August, China banned persons under 18 from playing video games more than three hours each week. More than 200 game firms including Tencent and NetEase say they will comply with regulations announced by China’s National Press and Publication Administration and take steps to ensure the rules are enforced. The NPPA suggested use of facial recognition to accomplish that goal. Continue reading Gaming Industry Reacts to New Entertainment Rules in China

Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties

After being road-tested in Amazon’s retail outlets, the Amazon One biometric palm reader is being made available as an identification and payment option to third-party businesses. Ticketing company AXS this week introduced Amazon One as an option for contactless entry at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks guests can link their AXS Mobile ID with Amazon One at dedicated stations then enter the venue by hovering their hand, touch-free, over a scanner. Once the accounts are linked, Red Rocks ticketholders can quickly enter using a separate line exclusively for Amazon One users.  Continue reading Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties

China Says No Video Games for Kids During the School Week

China’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) announced a regulation that bans young people under the age of 18 from playing online video games between Monday and Thursday and, on the other days of the week and holidays, limits game play between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Authorities blame “video game addiction” for distracting younger people from school and family responsibilities. The rule states that all video games must connect to an anti-addiction system operated by the GAPP. Continue reading China Says No Video Games for Kids During the School Week

Government Reveals U.S. Agencies Using Facial Recognition

The federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that, out of 24 U.S. government agencies surveyed, 19 of them are using facial recognition, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and numerous other smaller agencies. The GAO report added that as use of facial recognition “continues to expand … members of Congress, academics, and advocacy organizations have highlighted the importance of developing a comprehensive understanding of how it is used by federal agencies.” Continue reading Government Reveals U.S. Agencies Using Facial Recognition

China’s New Data Privacy Law Targets Big Tech Companies

China passed the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) for data privacy, to take effect November 1 of this year. The law is similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and includes a requirement for organizations and individuals to minimize data collection of Chinese citizen’s personal data and obtain prior consent. Unlike the GDPR, however, the Chinese law is not expected to limit state surveillance or access to such data, though it could apply to lower-level government agencies. Continue reading China’s New Data Privacy Law Targets Big Tech Companies

Warner Bros. Teams with AI Startup to Create Custom Trailers

To promote its upcoming sci-fi thriller “Reminiscence,” Warner Bros. has teamed up with AI startup D-ID to create a website that allows anyone to upload a photo that turns it into a deepfake video sequence promoting the film. D-ID, which started out as developing technology to protect consumers against facial recognition, now uses that research to optimize deepfakes. D-ID chief executive Gil Perry stated that the company “built a very strong face engine” that enabled a deepfake to be created from a single photo. Continue reading Warner Bros. Teams with AI Startup to Create Custom Trailers