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Facial recognition company Clearview AI agrees to restrict sale of database in settlement

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The settlement was reached in a case alleging the company violated Illinois's Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), considered the strongest data privacy law in the country.The company in a legal filing Monday agreed to permanently stop selling access to its face database to private businesses or individuals around the U.S., putting a limit on what it can do with its ever-growing trove of billions of images pulled from social media and elsewhere on the internet.The settlement — which must be approved by a county judge in Chicago — will end a 2-year-old lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups over alleged violations of Illinois' data privacy law."Clearview can no longer treat people's unique biometric identifiers as an unrestricted source of profit," the ACLU's deputy director for privacy Nathan Wessler said in a statement. Clearview's attorney, Floyd Abrams, said the company is "pleased to put this litigation behind it.""The settlement does not require any material change in the company's business model or bar it from any conduct in which it engages at the present time," said Abrams, a lawyer known for taking on high-profile free speech cases.He noted that the company was already not providing its services to police agencies in Illinois and agreed to the 5-year moratorium to "avoid a protracted, costly and distracting legal dispute with the ACLU and others."While Monday's settlement "reins in Clearview's practices significantly," it should not end scrutiny of the company by federal and state lawmakers, Wessler said.

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