The Impact of Clearview AI's GDPR Violation on AI in Modern Corporations

The Impact of Clearview AI's GDPR Violation on AI in Modern Corporations

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Background on Clearview AI
  • Clearview AI's Violations of GDPR
  • Regulatory Actions Against Clearview AI
  • Controversial Use of AI in Modern Corporations
  • Transparency Issues with AI
  • Clearview AI's Business Model in Europe
  • Lessons for AI and Surveillance in Europe
  • Impact of AI on Talent Acquisition
  • Obligations for Companies Utilizing AI Products
  • Conclusion


In this article, we will delve into the recent fine imposed on Clearview AI by the Italian Data Protection Authority for violations of GDPR. We will explore the background of Clearview AI and the implications of this case for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in modern corporations. Additionally, we will discuss the transparency issues surrounding AI and the obligations companies have when utilizing AI products. By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and considerations associated with AI and data privacy.

Background on Clearview AI

Clearview AI is a U.S. corporation that utilizes innovative AI technology to identify individuals, including those wanted by law enforcement. The company claims to have over 10 billion indexed images in their database, some of which have been scraped from social media platforms. However, several social media operators have asked Clearview AI to cease lifting images from their platforms. The controversial nature of Clearview AI's technology and its use have led to multiple investigations in countries such as Germany, the UK, and Australia.

Clearview AI's Violations of GDPR

The Italian Data Protection Authority, the Garante, has fined Clearview AI 20 million euros for violating GDPR. According to the Garante, Clearview AI unlawfully obtained data and failed to comply with transparency obligations. The company also neglected to establish data retention times and did not assure the regulator that individuals were not being discriminated against. This case sheds light on the challenges and scrutiny faced by companies that utilize AI technology and highlights the importance of transparency and accountability under GDPR.

Regulatory Actions Against Clearview AI

The fine imposed by the Italian Data Protection Authority is not an isolated incident for Clearview AI. The company has faced regulatory investigations in Germany, the UK, and Australia, leading to the closure of its operations in some regions. The joint investigation carried out by the UK and Australian privacy regulators played a crucial role in uncovering Clearview AI's violations. These regulatory actions indicate a growing trend of regulators targeting AI-related companies, particularly in relation to data privacy and transparency concerns.

Controversial Use of AI in Modern Corporations

The use of AI in modern corporations has become increasingly common, with many organizations employing AI to automate tasks such as recruitment. However, this widespread adoption raises concerns about the potential reinforcement of biases and lack of transparency. The tension between the proponents of AI, who claim the system's inner workings as proprietary, and regulators, who stress the importance of transparency under GDPR, sets the stage for a battleground surrounding AI technology.

Transparency Issues with AI

Transparency is a critical consideration when it comes to AI technology. Regulators emphasize the need for companies to disclose how their algorithms work and be accountable for the potential biases introduced by these algorithms. Clearview AI's case highlights the challenges faced by companies that aim to keep their AI systems secretive while complying with GDPR's transparency obligations. Striking a balance between proprietary technology and transparency is crucial for AI's acceptance and regulatory compliance.

Clearview AI's Business Model in Europe

Clearview AI's business model in Europe faces significant challenges due to its data collection practices and lack of transparency. The Italian Data Protection Authority's fine serves as a significant setback for the company, and it is likely to face further litigation and regulatory scrutiny in Europe. The use of AI technology for surveillance purposes, such as facial recognition, is also frowned upon by many regulators, signaling potential roadblocks for Clearview AI's operations going forward.

Lessons for AI and Surveillance in Europe

The case of Clearview AI serves as a lesson for organizations involved in AI and surveillance practices in Europe. It highlights the importance of adhering to GDPR principles, including transparency, data protection impact assessments, and handling data subject requests. As AI continues to gain prominence in various industries, companies must navigate the complexities of regulations and ensure their algorithms are fair, objective, and compliant with data protection laws.

Impact of AI on Talent Acquisition

The utilization of AI in talent acquisition processes raises additional concerns about fairness and discrimination. AI-based tools are often used to filter job applicants and provide a reduced set of resumes to hiring managers. However, there is a risk of reinforcing biases and subjectivity when selecting candidates using AI algorithms. Companies must establish objective criteria for selecting candidates and embed these criteria into their AI Tools to ensure fairness and compliance with regulations.

Obligations for Companies Utilizing AI Products

When a company purchases an AI product and incorporates it into their business processes, the responsibility for ensuring data protection and compliance lies with the company. As the data controller, the company must demonstrate the rigor and documented process for utilizing the AI product. This includes conducting data protection impact assessments, objectively proving the fairness of the algorithm, and addressing data subject requests. Companies should work closely with AI vendors to establish a framework for compliance.


The fine imposed on Clearview AI by the Italian Data Protection Authority highlights the challenges and complexities associated with AI technology and data privacy. The case serves as a reminder that transparency, fairness, and compliance with regulations such as GDPR are paramount when utilizing AI in modern corporations. As AI continues to evolve and Shape various industries, organizations must navigate the regulatory landscape, embed objective criteria, and ensure transparency to build trust and protect individuals' rights.

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