A historic settlement filed in court on Monday highlighted the power of Illinois\u0026#039; strong privacy law and will result in new nationwide restrictions on a controversial technology company infamous for selling access to the largest known database of facial images.\r\n\r\n\u0022This represents one of the biggest victories for consumers to date.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe deal permanently banning Clearview AI from providing most private entities with free or paid access to its database stems from a lawsuit that the ACLU and partners filed in 2020, arguing that the company violated Illinois\u0026#039; Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).\r\n\r\n\u0022This settlement is a big win for the most vulnerable people in Illinois,\u0022 declared Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, president and CEO of the Chicago-based nonprofit Mujeres Latinas en Acción, one of the plaintiffs in the case.\r\n\r\n\u0022Much of our work centers on protecting privacy and ensuring the safety of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,\u0022 she added. \u0022Before this agreement, Clearview ignored the fact that biometric information can be misused to create dangerous situations and threats to their lives. Today that\u0026#039;s no longer the case.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn addition to permanently banning Clearview from granting private companies and individuals access to the database, the settlement has some state-specific limits. For the next five years, Clearview can\u0026#039;t allow private companies with exceptions under BIPA or state or local government entities in Illinois, including law enforcement, access to the database.\r\n\r\nUnder the settlement, Clearview will also maintain an opt-out request on its website for Illinoisans, end its free trials for individual police officers, and continue its efforts to remove photographs that were taken in or uploaded from the state.\r\n\r\nAs The New York Times reported:\r\n\r\n\r\nIn a key exception, Clearview will still be able to provide its database to U.S. banks and financial institutions under a carve-out in the Illinois law. Hoan Ton-That, chief executive of Clearview AI, said the company did \u0022not have plans\u0022 to provide the database \u0022to entities besides government agencies at this time.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe settlement does not mean that Clearview cannot sell any product to corporations. It will still be able to sell its facial recognition algorithm, without the database of 20 billion images, to companies. Its algorithm helps match people\u0026#039;s faces to any database that a customer provides.\r\n\r\n\u0022There are a number of other consent-based uses for Clearview\u0026#039;s technology that the company has the ability to market more broadly,\u0022 Mr. Ton-That said.\r\n\r\n\r\nFloyd Abrams, an attorney for Clearview, said the company was \u0022pleased to put this litigation behind it.\u0022\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, lawyers representing the plaintiffs and other experts celebrated the settlement as a victory.\r\n\r\nJ. Eli Wade-Scott of Edelson PC—which recently obtained a $650 million settlement in a BIPA case with Facebook—noted that the case was part of a broader fight.\r\n\r\n\u0022There is a battle being fought in courtrooms and statehouses across the country about who is going to control biometrics—Big Tech or the people being tracked by them—and this represents one of the biggest victories for consumers to date,\u0022 he said.\r\n\r\nNathan Freed Wessler, a deputy director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said that \u0022by requiring Clearview to comply with Illinois\u0026#039; pathbreaking biometric privacy law not just in the state, but across the country, this settlement demonstrates that strong privacy laws can provide real protections against abuse.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Clearview can no longer treat people\u0026#039;s unique biometric identifiers as an unrestricted source of profit,\u0022 he said. \u0022Other companies would be wise to take note, and other states should follow Illinois\u0026#039; lead in enacting strong biometric privacy laws.\u0022\r\n\r\nRebecca Glenberg, staff attorney for the ACLU of Illinois, echoed that advice for other states.\r\n\r\n\u0022Fourteen years ago, the ACLU of Illinois led the effort to enact BIPA—a groundbreaking statute to deal with the growing use of sensitive biometric information without any notice and without meaningful consent,\u0022 she said. \u0022BIPA was intended to curb exactly the kind of broad-based surveillance that Clearview\u0026#039;s app enables. Today\u0026#039;s agreement begins to ensure that Clearview complies with the law. This should be a strong signal to other state legislatures to adopt similar statutes.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSurveillance Technology Oversight Project executive director Albert Fox Cahn told Gizmodo that \u0022this is a milestone for civil rights, and the ACLU deserves our thanks for once again safeguarding our Constitution.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Banning Clearview AI in one state is not enough; we need a national ban,\u0022 Fox Cahn asserted. \u0022Illinois has long been ahead of the curve in protecting residents from biometric surveillance, but it\u0026#039;s time for the rest of the country to catch up.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022It\u0026#039;s only a matter of weeks before we start seeing police use technologies like Clearview AI to enforce bans on abortion,\u0022 he warned, alluding to a battle that\u0026#039;s been heightened due to a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. \u0022We shouldn\u0026#039;t allow this sort of technology to target pregnant people in any state.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs Common Dreams reported earlier this year, the fight over Clearview isn\u0026#039;t contained to the states; progressive lawmakers have also urged federal agencies to end the use of Clearview\u0026#039;s facial recognition technology.