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US judge rules biometric processing of public data not protected by First Amendment

BIPA case against Clearview AI proceeds
US judge rules biometric processing of public data not protected by First Amendment

An Illinois state court has rejected Clearview AI’s motion to dismiss a biometric data privacy suit against it on grounds its construction of a database of photos for facial recognition comparison from publicly available images on the internet is protected by the First Amendment.

Cook County Circuit Judge Pamela McLean Meyerson ruled that the restrictions BIPA places on Clearview’s First Amendment freedoms are limited to those essential for protecting the privacy and security of Illinois citizens, Law360 reports. The judge noted that sharing information publicly does not make it free for any use by a third party.

The suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). They are seeking a court order forcing Clearview to delete all face biometrics collected from Illinois residents without consent.

Meyerson further rejected Clearview’s claim that applying BIPA to its data collection practices violates the Constitution’s commerce clause, and that Illinois’ court does not have jurisdiction, ruling evidence of the company deliberately marketing its technology in the state sufficient.

Clearview is also defending a multidistrict biometric data privacy suit being heard in federal court.

International clients catalogued

BuzzFeed News has collected a list of 88 law enforcement agencies based in 24 different countries outside of the U.S. that have used Clearview’s facial recognition.

The list is compiled from internal data discovered in February 2020 by an unauthorized third party, and the publication includes the response or lack thereof from each agency.

Of the 88 entities, 12 denied having used Clearview, 30 did not respond, and 10 others neither confirmed nor denied that employees had used the software.

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