Million fine for Swedish police – used facial recognition

SEK 2.5 million. The police are fined so much for using facial recognition technology from controversial Clearview AI.

It is the Privacy Protection Authority (IMY, formerly the Data Inspectorate) that finds that the police authority has handled personal data in violation of the Criminal Data Act. According to IMY’s review, Clearview AI has been used by Swedish police “on several occasions”.

– The police authority has clear legislation on how personal data is to be processed, especially in law enforcement activities. The authority has a responsibility to ensure that the staff knows what rules apply, says Elena Mazzotti Pallard who is a lawyer at IMY and who led the review, in a press release.

Clearview’s technology came to light when the New York Times did a review a year ago by the company and its founder, Hoan Ton-That. With an app, it is possible to upload a picture of a person which is then analyzed biometrically and matched against similar faces on social media and a large number of other websites. According to the New York Times, Clearview already collected three billion images in its database a year ago.

Can identify all

US police are said to have used the technology to identify thieves, eco-criminals and sex offenders.

But in the wrong hands, technology could also identify pretty much anyone online. For example, to map political dissidents or to find out who is sitting opposite one on the subway.

Read more: Swedish facial technology attracts large international companies

Just a week ago, a Canadian data protection commission came to the conclusion that Clearview’s technology is illegal and should be considered mass surveillance. Large technology companies have demanded that Clearview stop scraping footage from their sites.


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