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Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition company, was just crippled by a recent legal settlement. The settlement means that Clearview AI will end sales of its biometric data to private companies and individuals in the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims that Clearview AI had violated BIPA, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The law requires permission before a company can collect a person’s biometric data.

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The ACLU has been fighting Clearview AI since May of 2020. And the announcement earlier this week finally brings the fight to a close. The fight ends with Clearview AI agreeing to halt its private company sales, among other consequences.

“Clearview can no longer treat people’s unique biometric identifiers as an unrestricted source of profit. Other companies would be wise to take note, and other states should follow Illinois’ lead in enacting strong biometric privacy laws,” said Nathan Freed Wessler, deputy director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.  

In addition to stopping private company sales, Clearview AI must end its free trial for police officers. The company must also build a page for Illinois residents to “opt-out” and block their biometric information from Clerview’s database.

Additionally, the company cannot sell information to Illinois law enforcement agencies for the next five years. BIPA contains an exception for government contractors, but Clearview can’t take advantage of that for the next five years.

The last few months have already been expensive for Clearview AI. The company was fined €20 million in Italy earlier this year. And UK regulators issued a £17 million fine back in November.

While this settlement with the ACLU doesn’t directly hit the company’s wallet like those fines, it will certainly have an effect in the long run. And things will look even worse for the company if US lawmakers are successful in their endeavors to ban the company outright.

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