Swedish police fined $300.000 for unlawful use of facial recognition AI

On 7 February 2021 Sweden’s data protection authority, IMY, fined Swedish police €250,000 ($300,000+) for unlawful use of the controversial facial recognition software Clearview AI, in breach of the country’s Criminal Data Act.

As part of the enforcement the police must conduct further training and education of staff in order to avoid any future processing of personal data in breach of data protection rules and regulations.

The authority has also been ordered to inform people whose personal data was sent to Clearview — when confidentiality rules allow it to do so, per the IMY.

Its investigation found that the police had used the facial recognition tool on a number of occasions and that several employees had used it without prior authorization.

Earlier this month Canadian privacy authorities found Clearview had breached local laws when it collected photos of people to plug into its facial recognition database without their knowledge or permission.

Elena Mazzotti Pallard, legal advisor at IMY said in a statement.“IMY concludes that the Police has not fulfilled its obligations as a data controller on a number of accounts with regards to the use of Clearview AI. The Police has failed to implement sufficient organisational measures to ensure and be able to demonstrate that the processing of personal data in this case has been carried out in compliance with the Criminal Data Act. When using Clearview AI the Police has unlawfully processed biometric data for facial recognition as well as having failed to conduct a data protection impact assessment which this case of processing would require,” the Swedish data protection authority writes in a press release.

“There are clearly defined rules and regulations on how the Police Authority may process personal data, especially for law enforcement purposes. It is the responsibility of the Police to ensure that employees are aware of those rules,”

The IMY’s full decision can be found here (in Swedish).

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