Clearview AI Settles Lawsuit and Limits the Sales of Facial Recognition Database

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Clearview AI Settles Lawsuit and Limits the Sales of Facial Recognition Database
Short Title Clearview AI limits the sales of Facial Recognition Database
Location Illinois
Date May 2020

Solove Harm Aggregation, Insecurity, Identification, Exclusion
Information Identifying, Ethnicity, Sexual, Demographic, Physical Characteristics
Threat Actors Clearview AI

Affected United States residents
High Risk Groups Victim of Domestic Violence, Sex Workers, Undocumented Immigrants
Tangible Harms Criminal Charges, Loss of Privacy, Potential for identity theft

Clearview AI, a facial recognition software company, has settled a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union to limit its usage of its face database in the United States primarily to private American companies.


Clearview AI is a facial recognition software company that maintains a database containing more than 20 billion facial photos. The database was created by scraping images from the internet, including social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube Aggregation. The app developed by Clearview is able to let the user identify a face and match it with publicly available information about the person Identification, Exclusion. Companies, government agencies, or individual government officers are able to get access to Clearview's database and its applications through a free trial service Insecurity.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed its lawsuit on behalf of groups representing victims of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants, and sex workers. ACLU accused Clearview of violating Illinois's Biometric Information Privacy Act, a state law that prohibits private entities from using citizens’ bodily identifiers, including algorithmic maps of their faces, without consent. In a settlement deal, Clearview has agreed to create a formal process for their trial accounts and stop selling to any Illinois based private or public entity for five years. However, the company will still be able to sell its facial recognition algorithm without its database.

Laws and Regulations

Illinois's Biometric Information Privacy Act