Clearview AI’s hefty fine and countries’ monkey pox preparations

Controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI has been fined more than $10 million by the UK’s data protection watchdog for collecting the faces of UK citizens from the internet and social media. The company was also ordered to delete all data it has on British citizens.

The move by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the latest in a series of high-profile fines against the company as data protection authorities around the world impose stricter restrictions on its practices.

Clearview AI has one of the world’s largest databases of 20 billion images of people’s faces that it scraped from the internet without their consent from publicly available sources, such as social media. Clients such as police forces pay to access the database to search for matches.

But data protection authorities around the western world have determined that this is a clear violation of privacy. Now they’re starting to work together to take action — and fines may just be the beginning. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

The must reads

I’ve scoured the internet to find the funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology today.

1 Production of the smallpox vaccine is ramping up
Dozens of countries have inquired about stocks of the injection, which protects against monkey pox. (WSJ$)
The US has more than 100 million doses in stock. (NOW $)
Conspiracy theories are circulating in China that blame the US for the outbreak. (Bloomberg $)
There is no evidence to suggest that the monkeypox virus is becoming more contagious. (NOW $)

2 Data’s Wild West Era Is Ending
While countries are divided on how widely it should be shared, everyone agrees on its value. (NYT$)
The GDPR has not stopped data brokers from hoarding our information† (Wired $)

3 Mark Zuckerberg’s Grand Plan To Appear Politically Neutral Failed
His $419 million donation fueled the false theory that the 2020 election was rigged. (Protocol)
He is also being indicted over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal† (WP$)
+ Meta will provide researchers with more information about political ad targeting. (NOW $)
Facebook troll farms reached 140 million Americans a month before the election† (MIT Technology Review)

4 Swamps Struggling With Rising Water Levels
While some plants will suffer, others will thrive – for now, at least. (Wired $)
How rising groundwater caused by climate change can devastate coastal communities† (MIT Technology Review)

5 We may be spreading misinformation about disinformation
The expression has become such an all-encompassing concept that we lose sight of what it actually means. (slate $)
How Facebook and Google are funding global disinformation† (MIT Technology Review)

6 Facebook’s Customer Service Is Notoriously Awful
Leaving disgruntled users with no way to seek help for their problems. (WSJ$)

7 Humans Won’t Die Out Soon
But our ability to adapt and learn from mistakes is critical to our future survival. (CNET)

8 Mexico City’s Gig Economy Helps Medical Responders Treat Patients
So that they can perform tests and vaccinations at home. (Rest of the world)

9 It’s Time To Break With Email
“If it’s important, they’ll come back to me” is a good philosophy to follow. (WSJ$)

10 Google’s Text-to-Image AI Is Pretty Impressive
But it is not as advanced as OpenAI. (TechCrunch)
This riding astronaut is a milestone in AI’s journey to understand the world† (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“You can make a fortune in crypto. I’d never say you can’t, but you’re betting you’ll be a better shark than all the sharks that built the shark pond.”

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