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Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

Facial recognition was the big topic of privacy news this week, sparked in large part by an article Kashmir Hill wrote for The New York Times about startup company Clearview AI. The company developed an app that allows users to compare photos of an individual to a database that contains 3 billion images. The company obtained them by scraping public photos from a number of social media sites and websites, including Facebook, YouTube and Venmo. You can read more about this in IAPP Editorial Director Jedidiah Bracy’s article below. 

Reports the company may be marketing the app to law enforcement departments throughout the U.S. prompted questions from one federal lawmaker.

In a public letter to Clearview AI Founder Hoan Ton-That, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., expressed his concerns and requested answers to a number of questions regarding the technology itself and its implication on privacy. “Public safety professionals should, of course, employ new tools and techniques to keep our communities safe,” he writes. “However, use of new innovations to protect the public should not come at the expense of our basic privacy rights.” Markey requested a response by Feb. 12, and we will keep you updated as news happens.

In federal privacy legislation news, Politico reports Friday is the final day to submit feedback on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s unnamed federal privacy bill. The bipartisan draft was released Dec. 16 and did not discuss state preemption or a private right of action.

One last note, Jan. 28 is international Data Privacy Day, and we would like to hear if you have plans to observe the day. A number of our local KnowledgeNet chapters have something planned — you can always reach out to them.  

Have a good weekend.


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