back to article Privacy pilfering project punished by FTC purge penalty: AI upstart told to delete data and algorithms

A California-based facial recognition biz has been directed by the US Federal Trade Commission to delete the AI models and algorithms that it developed by harvesting people's photos and videos without permission, a remedy that suggests privacy violators may no longer be allowed to benefit from ill-gotten data. Everalbum, a …

  1. Richocet

    Inconsistent decision is concerning

    So they allowed Google to keep the models they developed after privacy rules were broken, but not this smaller company.

    The Google decision set a precedent, so why make a different decision afterwards?

    This decision creates an unfair playing field. Google benefits from both decisions and the smaller company can't compete with Google because of the decision.

    Is it because Google is bigger?

    For me it raises a larger concern about the integrity of the whole process, decision-making and penalties. Why did a larger and wealthy company get a more favourable decision?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      Why did a larger and wealthy company get a more favourable decision?

      Perhaps they had a number of side projects with TLA's that were taken into consideration?

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      > The Google decision set a precedent, so why make a different decision afterwards?

      Perhaps this situation was slightly different so they felt that precedent didn't really apply or perhaps they now realise that precedent was not the best enforcement action they could have taken and decided to make a new, better precedent.

      Or should we stick with whatever precedents were decided for crimes in the past? A justice system locked in stone for all eternity...

      1. Richocet

        Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

        Bad precedents should be overturned. But this is rare, and should be rare.

        Something goes to court and an expensive process takes place in which judges consider the laws and the evidence and make a decision.

        Everybody expects the next case of the same time to have a similar outcome. This is good for judges, lawyers and the entities subject to the laws.

        That is one reason I was so surprised at the outcome here.

    3. Danny Boyd

      Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      It's not because Google or Facebook is bigger. It's because they are richer and can pay FTC a proper kickback.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      Let's get this clear. They were wrong to be permissive and now they're wrong not to be permissive.

      1. Richocet

        Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

        @Doctor Syntax . If you change "and" to "or" then I agree.

        I don't think that both decisions are wrong - in which case there would be some third outcome which which is better for both cases somehow.

    5. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge
      Black Helicopters

      @Richocet Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      There are two issues...

      1) What if the company only slurped images that were made under creative commons license?

      2) Favoritism towards Google...

      The first issue is that with many posting photos without understanding licensing , w creative commons one can slup to one's content. So to attack the company... not good.

      The other isn't just an issue of Google's size but the fact that the big tech... is now capable of censoring anything and anyone.

      A legal way to quash competition. Biden is in their pocket. Just ask the NY Post.

      We live in dangerous times.

      Is it no wonder that 1984 and Animal Farm have seen a resurgence in sales?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: @Richocet Inconsistent decision is concerning

        Depends on the specific CC licence used. It might be that you can't sell the resulting work commercially, or you have to release it under the CC licence. If it is one of the "no derivatives" licences, then you can't use it.

        1. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge

          @katrinab Re: @Richocet Inconsistent decision is concerning

          I'm looking at their use of CC licensed images to train their model.

          So there's no issue on any down stream licensing.

          Note... even if they used the image in marketing material.. CC licenses are very permissive.

          Note: CC == Creative Commons.

    6. grizewald

      Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      Don't forget every US police department's best friend Clearview AI.

      I can't see anything which distinguishes their offering from this company's.

    7. Jake Maverick

      Re: Inconsistent decision is concerning

      well, it's because they're working hand in glove with the PTB including the US earth, total surveillance on everything....+ they also stole a lot of author's work, digitised it, made a lot of money from it...but never prosecuted for that either...! It's a corrupt perverse system rigged so the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and the poor suffer even more....

  2. HildyJ Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The FTC?

    Who'da thunk it?

    They usually seem to specialize in slaps on the wrist but this actually seems like a meaningful action. More power to them.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: The FTC?

      "seems like a meaningful action", but months or years late. See "whiff" in the dictionary.

      (golf) An attempted shot that completely misses the ball.

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: The FTC?

      "More power to them." I know it's just a phrase, but remember that this is a national government entity we are talking about...

  3. Snake Silver badge

    Sure, I'll believe that. Little piggies can fly...

    when you throw them hard enough.

    So let me get your story straight: you claim that you have a new face recognition AI online, built without using Ever's data set.

    So, exactly, WHO'S data set DID you use to train your shiny new system??

    Nice of you not to say.

    Facebook? Scraping Google's scraping? Raid Instagram?

    Your images for training had to come from somewhere. Did you get proper owner permissions for this task, even from the suckers that use Facebook?


    Why do I doubt that they did..??

  4. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge


    I remember when they first introduced tagging people in photos. The long term implications were so immediately obvious I activity started asking people not to tag me. King Canute and holding back the tide. They've all got me no doubt, regardless of what I want and my total disdain for the lot of them.

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: Tagging

      And I did exactly the same. Despite not having a Facebook account, the grubby peddlers of stolen data still managed to get me tagged in a photo on another persons account.

      My family and friends have been warned that all niceties between us will cease if they ever tag me on a photo they upload to Facebook.

      1. Mike the FlyingRat Bronze badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Tagging

        Now try asking FB to forget you.

        You don't have an account so they don't care.

  5. Jake Maverick

    Just shocked they done this at all.....thought govt was in favour of this sort of thing? Total surveillance of everybody and everything.....despite the laws against it!

  6. Cederic Silver badge

    Everal Bum

    I think I've lost it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021