ABC Breakfast: Privacy concerns over face recognition AI real, says expert

The Office of the Information Commissioner has ordered US company Clearview to stop collecting photos taken in Australia and remove those in its collection as they were ruled to have breached privacy rules. The company had offered a free trial to police to access its database of millions of photos - assembled by scraping facebook and other publicly available websites without consent from anyone.

The company suggests the data is governed by US, rather than Australian law, as it is stored in the US.

Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck spoke to NSWCCL Treasurer Stephen Blanks, who said:

"This is really a move towards a surveillance state. the idea that just because you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to worry about is just a false view. The risks are real."

"There is a  real problem if it can escape the laws of any particular country by forum shopping."

"Innocent people will be subject to unfair investigations as a result of being misidentified by these databases."

Fingerprints, iris, palm and voice recognition are all more accurate than facial recognition; people who are female, black and aged 18-30 are 34% more likely to be subject to misidentification than fair skinned males. 

Stephen calls for a moratorium on the technology, commenting that it is "racing ahead of regulation" with government agencies like police forces are entering into agreements with companies such as Clearview without understanding the ethical issues. 

Listen to the full interview: Privacy concerns over face recognition AI real, says expert