A global ‘mass surveillance’ company ordered by B.C.’s privacy watchdog to stop collecting British Columbians’ images is challenging that order in B.C. Supreme Court.
Clearview AI claims B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act does not apply to the company as it is physically located in the United States. It calls the orders unreasonable and unenforceable.
In December, Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) Michael McEvoy ordered the facial recognition company to stop collecting, using and disclosing images of British Columbians without consent.
The order was initially a set of February recommendations that the company has refused to comply with, McEvoy’s office said.
The Quebec and Alberta commissioners issued similar orders. They found the New York-based company violated federal and provincial privacy laws.
The recommendations followed a joint investigation report by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta.
“What Clearview does is mass surveillance, and it is illegal,” Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien said at the time. “It is completely unacceptable for millions of people who will never be implicated in any crime to find themselves continually in a police line-up.”
The commissioners found Clearview scraped images of faces and associated data from publicly accessible online sources (including social media) and stored it in its database.