ICO seeks permission to appeal against Clearview AI tribunal ruling

17 November 2023, 15:04

A zoom burst photo of a user touching the screen of a laptop displaying a ‘Matrix’-style screensaver
Internet Browsing Stock. Picture: PA

Clearview AI successfully overturned a data privacy fine at a tribunal last month.

The UK’s data protection watchdog is seeking permission to appeal against the decision of a tribunal to overturn a data privacy fine handed out to facial recognition firm Clearview AI.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it believes the tribunal incorrectly interpreted the law when overturning a £7.5 million fine handed out to Clearview by the ICO last year.

At the time, the ICO said Clearview had collected billions of images of people’s faces and data – without informing people or gaining their consent – from publicly available information on the internet, including social media platforms, for use in facial recognition services by law enforcement agencies outside of the UK.

But last month, a tribunal overturned the ICO’s decision after a Clearview appeal ruling that the ICO did not have the jurisdiction to issue its fine and enforcement notice because Clearview’s system was only used by law enforcement agencies based outside the UK.

Now the ICO says it wishes to seek permission to appeal on the grounds that it believes that Clearview itself was not processing data for foreign law enforcement purposes and should not be shielded from the scope of UK law on that basis.

“I fully respect the role of the tribunal to provide scrutiny of my decisions – but as the defender of the public’s privacy, I need to challenge this judgment to clarify whether commercial enterprises profiting from processing digital images of UK people, are entitled to claim they are engaged in ‘law enforcement’,” Information Commissioner John Edwards said.

“It is my job to protect the data rights of the people of the United Kingdom and it is my view that there are too many who are being affected by the sheer scale and intrusiveness of Clearview’s mass scraping of personal information.

“This is an important issue within the AI sphere and whilst my office supports businesses that innovate with AI solutions, we will always take the appropriate action to protect UK people when we believe their privacy rights are not being respected.”

The ICO said it would now await the tribunal’s decision on the issue.

Jack Mulcaire, general counsel for Clearview AI said: “The tribunal decision vindicated the common-sense position that Clearview AI has taken all along: Clearview AI is not subject to the ICO’s jurisdiction. We oppose the ICO’s meritless appeal.”

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Cyber attack at major London hospitals

Hundreds of operations and appointments cancelled in week after NHS cyber attack

Labour said it would also ban the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes (PA)

Labour commits to introducing AI regulation for tech giants

Daniel Bedingfield

Pop star Daniel Bedingfield praises AI for capturing ‘soul’ of his music

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX (PA)

Elon Musk says Tesla shareholders will vote to approve pay deal

Person wearing an Apple watch on their left wrist

Smart watches could help track Parkinson’s disease progression – study

A person's forefinger poised on the keyboard of a laptop computer

Gaming giant Steam facing £656m legal claim for ‘overcharging’ UK gamers

A group of schoolchildren standing around

Most children cannot name MP and fifth get political news from TikTok – survey

A person using a keyboard to sign into the X website on a laptop

Elon Musk confirms X will start hiding likes on posts

A technician working at Currys' Repair Centre in Newark, Nottinghamshire

Currys working to improve consumer trust in refurbished and repaired tech

Raspberry Pi 4 micro computer launch

Raspberry Pi shares jump 40% after London IPO

Apple WWDC event

Apple unveils generative AI assistant for iPhone, iPad and Mac at conference

ChatGPT on a MacBook

Apple keen on more deals with AI chatbots after link-up with ChatGPT

Elon Musk during an ‘in-conversation’ event

Elon Musk says he could ban Apple devices at his companies over OpenAI deal

Apple Intelligence writing tools

Apple Intelligence is ‘promising first step’ for firm’s AI tools, experts say


Genetics testing company 23andMe facing investigation over data breach

Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence: Tech giant unveils its new flagship generative AI tools