The ACLU of Illinois is suing Clearview AI for violations of Illinois Biometric Privacy Act. We joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff on behalf of our members all across Illinois, along with National ACLU, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, the Illinois State Public Interest Research Group, Mujeres Latinas en Accion and the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Chicago.
Clearview AI has amassed a database of billions of face prints by “scraping” or taking pictures posted by a wide range of people from the internet. The images are turned into faceprints and added to the database, which is then marketed to government and private corporations for comparison to images captured by surveillance cameras. This massive facial recognition system is a threat to our privacy.
The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) was adopted by the State of Illinois over a decade ago. BIPA requires companies that collect, capture, or obtain an Illinois resident’s biometric identifier — such as a fingerprint, faceprint, or iris scan — to first notify that individual and obtain their written consent.
The complaint was filed in Cook County Circuit Court in May 2020. The judge denied Clearview AI’s motion to dismiss in August of 2021, allowing for the case to continue.
In May of 2022 a settlement was approved by the judge restricting Clearview AI from selling access to its faceprint database to most businesses and private entities across the US. The settlement also ends Clearview’s practice of giving free or trial memberships to individual police officers who are not acting under departmental authority.
Clearview can no longer treat people’s unique biometric identifiers as an unrestricted source of profit. By requiring Clearview to comply with Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, this settlement demonstrates that strong privacy laws can provide real protections to our most private information.