More than a dozen governments and websites have called into question the legality of Clearview AI, a controversial startup that uses publicly available photos posted on social media networks to compile an artificial intelligence facial recognition database. The company continues to operate in the meantime, and it is possible that your personal information is still accessible through their database. The Clearview AI database contains your photos and information, and it is possible to retrieve them. However, how you go about doing so is dependent on where you live and the privacy laws that are in place to safeguard your information. Residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the state of California in the United States can use the company’s automated forms to submit their information.
Method 1 Using Clearview AI’s Automated Forms
1. Navigate to the Clearview privacy page by clicking here. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the Clearview homepage at https://clearview.ai/ to find out more. Then select “Privacy Request Forms” from the drop-down menu. The page that appears contains links to the automated forms for each of the participating jurisdictions.
In order to exercise your data privacy rights, you can use one of seven different forms available as of March 2020. Your specific legal rights, on the other hand, differ depending on where you live.
2. It is best not to use the de-index request form. If you do not reside in the EU, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, or California, you will need to submit an email request to be removed from the list. A form for the general public is provided by Clearview AI, and you can use it to request that specific images be removed from the Clearview AI database, but only under a set of complicated conditions.
Only if Clearview AI has a photo in its database that you have removed from the internet can you use the de-index form to have it removed. However, in order to submit your request, you must first be aware that Clearview AI possesses the photo in question. Afterwards, you’ll need to know the photo’s web address (URL) (before it was taken down).
In order to use this option, you would need to copy the URL of every publicly available photo of yourself that is available on the internet, and then delete the images from your computer. After confirming removal, you could then provide Clearview AI with the old URL by submitting an automated de-index request form on their website.
Warning: Using the de-index request form will not remove images that are still active and publicly available on the internet. It also has no effect on Clearview AI’s ability to collect additional information you may provide in the future.
3. Choose the form that best meets your requirements. Clearview AI has three forms available for California residents, as well as three forms available for residents of the EU, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, according to the company. Despite the fact that these forms all ask for the same information, it is important that you use the correct form so that the company can respond to your request in the proper manner.
If you live in California, you have the right to completely opt out of the service, request access to the information the company has on you, and request that all of your information be deleted. It’s probably a good idea to complete all three tasks. If you only request that your data be deleted, you will have no way of knowing what information the company had about you, and the company will retain the right to potentially obtain additional information about you in the future if it so chooses.
Similarly, if you live in the EU, the United Kingdom, or Switzerland, you have the right to object to the collection of your data, review the data that has been collected about you, and request that all of your data be deleted. You should do all three of these things to ensure the greatest amount of privacy protection.
4. Clearview AI will be able to find your data if you upload a picture of yourself. Clearview AI asserts that it does not store any other personal information about individuals, such as their names or addresses — the company claims to only store photographs. Therefore, you must submit an undistorted image of your face in order for Clearview AI to map your face and find all of the photos in its database that correspond to yours.
When you submit the form, the company states that the photo you upload for the purposes of your request, along with any other information obtained as a result of your submission, will be deleted from the company’s database as soon as your request is completed.
5. Please provide an email address where you would like to be contacted about your request. Following the submission of your photo, the webform will request that you provide a valid email address. Clearview AI will use this email address to send you confirmation that your request has been received as well as to keep you informed of the status of your request.
It is stated by the company that your email address will not be kept on file after your request has been completed. In order to be extra cautious, you may want to create a new email address that will be used solely for Clearview AI communications only. You will be able to deactivate that email address once your request has been completed.
Method 2 Requesting Removal by Email
1. Prepare an email to be sent to the Data Protection Officer at Clearview AI. Make it crystal clear in your email what you want Clearview AI to do with any information it may have about you. Generally speaking, you have three options: you can request to see your file, you can request that the data the company currently has about you be deleted, and you can request that the company not include you in its database in the future.
If you don’t live in a jurisdiction that protects these rights, Clearview AI may decline your request to access the service. You will, however, remain on the record as someone who is concerned about protecting your data privacy rights.
Even if you are not a resident of California, you can use the sample forms available on the website of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) at https://www.epic.org/ccpa/ to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act. Simply remove all references to California and California law from the text of the document.
2. Upload a clear photo of your face to your profile. Clearview AI claims that, aside from photographs, they do not maintain any other information about the individuals in their database. Therefore, if you wish for the company to locate all of the photos of you that it has in its database, you must provide them with a photo that can be mapped and matched with the database photos provided by the company.
Clearview AI maintains that after your request has been processed, it will not retain these photos or any information obtained from them. Nonetheless, just to be safe, send a photo that is already available to the general public on the internet if possible.
3. If you’re requesting access to data, you’ll need to scan your government-issued photo ID. Because you can submit anyone’s photograph to Clearview AI, the company requires you to provide proof that you are the individual depicted in the photograph if you want to see your file. You should black out the ID number as well as your birth date after you have scanned in your identification. It’s also possible that you’ll want to conceal your last name.
This step is only required if you’re requesting access to your file for the first time. The company will delete all of your data if you request that all of your data be deleted, and it will delete all of the photos that match the photo you sent. You will, however, have no way of knowing what photos they had on hand.
Warning: According to privacy experts, providing Clearview AI with this much information is not a wise decision. However, as of March 2020, it will be the only way to find out exactly what information the company has on you and your activities.
4. Send your request to Clearview AI for consideration. Send your email to [email protected] after double-checking for spelling and grammar mistakes. Upon completion of your request or if additional information is required to process your request, you will receive a response from the company’s Data Protection Officer.
Create a new email address before sending the email, and use it solely for correspondence with Clearview AI if you are concerned about Clearview AI having your email address.
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