Vermont AG Announces Lawsuit Against Data Broker Company
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
On Tuesday Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced a lawsuit against a data broker company known as Clearview AI.
According to Donovan, Clearview AI is a company that has collected billions of photos off the internet by screen scraping and applying artificial intelligence technology biometrics data to these photos and selling them.
Biometrics data is a unique identifier that uses technology to identify someone.
“Vermonters have a right to know and Vermonters have a right to privacy. Think about somebodies finger print, think about DNA, that’s biometrics data. You have to get a court order to get somebody fingerprint or DNA,” said Donovan.
The attorney general’s office claims Clearview AI uses “screen scarping” technology to take Vermonters pictures.
“Which is a technology where you basically just go on a website and you collect all the information downloads it all at once, many websites Facebook LinkedIn YouTube they have clear policies that you’re not allowed to do this,” said Assistant Attorney General Ryan Kriger.
Donovan explained that Clearview AI is using facial recognition technology to map the faces of Vermonters and their children. He said Clearwater AI then sells those pictures to private businesses, individuals and law enforcement without consent.
“You want to take something from our kids. You better ask us, or you’re going to hear from us,” said Donovan.
“When you think about children that may be swept into this data base with unique biometrics data that can follow them for the rest of their lives,” said Chief of Public Protection Division Chris Curtis.
Attorney General Donovan is suing the company for violating the law. The attorney general filed a complaint alleging violation of Vermont laws. The state also filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the court to order the company to stop collecting Vermonters photos.
“That violates the Vermont consumer protection statute it’s a violation of our data broker registry and we say no more,” said Donovan.
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