Facial recognition: the French SA imposes a penalty payment on CLEARVIEW AI

11 May 2023

Background information

  • Date of final decision: 13 April 2023
  • Cross-border case or national case: National case
  • Controller: CLEARVIEW AI
  • Legal Reference: Article 6 (Lawfulness of processing), Article 12 (Transparent information, communication and modalities for the exercise of the rights of the data subject),  Article 15 (Right to access by the data subject),  Article 17 (Right to erasure (‘right to be forgotten’)), Article 31 (Co-operation with the supervisory authority)
  • Decision: Administrative fine 
  • Key words: Facial recognition


Summary of the Decision


Origin of the case

CLEARVIEW AI collects photographs from a wide range of websites, including social networks, and sells access to its database of images of people through a search engine in which an individual can be searched using a photograph. The company offers this service to law enforcement authorities. Facial recognition technology is used to query the search engine and find an individual based on its photograph.

In a decision of 17 October 2022, the restricted committee – the French SA body responsible for issuing sanctions – imposed a fine of 20 million euros and ordered the company not to collect and process data on individuals located in France without any legal basis, and to delete the data of these individuals, after responding to requests for access it received.


Key Findings

CLEARVIEW AI had two months to comply with the order and to justify compliance to the French SA. However, the company did not send any proof of compliance within this time limit.



On 13 April 2023, the French SA’s restricted committee considered that the company had not complied with the order and consequently imposed an overdue penalty payment of EUR 5,200,000 on Clearview AI.

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The news published here does not constitute official EDPB communication, nor an EDPB endorsement. This news item was originally published by the national supervisory authority and was published here at the request of the SA for information purposes. Any questions regarding this news item should be directed to the supervisory authority concerned.