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France punishes Clearview AI for failing to pay fine

AFP . Paris
10 May 2023 21:10:26 | Update: 10 May 2023 21:10:26
France punishes Clearview AI for failing to pay fine
— Courtesy Photo

France's privacy watchdog doled out further penalties to US firm Clearview AI Wednesday for failing to pay a €20 million fine imposed last year over data breaches.

The company collects images of faces from the internet without seeking permission and sells access to a trove of billions of pictures to clients, including law enforcement agencies.

Clearview has already been banned from selling its main database to private clients in the United States, and the firm has also been ordered to halt its activities in Canada, Italy and Britain.

French watchdog CNIL fined Clearview last October and told it to stop collecting data in France, warning that a penalty of €100,000 ($110,000) a day would be imposed if it failed to act.

"Clearview AI had two months to comply with the order and justify compliance to the CNIL," the French body said on Wednesday.

"However, the company did not send any proof of compliance within this time limit."

CNIL imposed a penalty of €5.2 million on top of its initial fine in a decision taken on April 13 but only made public on Wednesday.

Clearview boss Hoan Ton-That told AFP at the time of the initial decision that his company had no clients or premises in France and was not subject to EU privacy law.

Clearview was formed in 2017 and has since attracted almost $40 million in funding from investors including prominent Silicon Valley conservative Peter Thiel, according to the Crunchbase website.