ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Clearview AI: Dangers to Privacy from the Private Sector


The passing of the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 by the Parliament has renewed the public debate on privacy and data protection in India. Many scholars have commented that certain provisions of the bill are against privacy and fail the test of proportionality and necessity. However, after the Pegasus episode, it should have been clear that the wider danger to citizens’ privacy is not from a database maintained by the government but from products created by the private sector and being misused by several institutions.

Clearview AI is a United States (US)-based company that has downloaded over 10 billion facial images from the internet. These images have been sourced from social media and content-sharing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, as well as through other websites. These images belong to people of all nationalities, irrespective of their age, gender, or any other factors. Once downloaded, these images were put through Clearview AI’s facial recognition platform that created a database with numerous biometric data points. Experts have claimed that it is possible to identify gender, age, ethnicity, or emotional state through facial recognition and also “honesty, personality, intelligence, sexual orientation, political orientation, and violent tendencies” with relatively low accuracy. This trove of data, which can reveal the inherent private information of a person, was licensed by Clearview AI to several law enforcement organisations across the world, including the Vadodara City Police in Gujarat.

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Updated On : 24th Apr, 2022
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