Facial recognition firm faces possible £17m privacy fine

A stock illustration of facial recognition

An Australian firm which claims to have a database of more than 10 billion facial images is facing a potential £17m fine over its handling of personal data in the UK.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it had significant concerns about Clearview AI, whose facial recognition software is used by police forces.

It has told the firm to stop processing UK personal data and delete any it has.

Clearview AI now has the opportunity to make representations over the decision.

It has already been found to have broken Australian privacy law but is seeking a review of that ruling. The BBC has contacted the firm for comment.

Clearview AI’s system allows a user – for example, a police officer seeking to identify a suspect – to upload a photo of a face and find matches in a database of billions of images it has collected from the internet and social media.

The system then provides links to where matching images appeared online.