Everalbum personal facial data harvesting 

Occurred: August 2020

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In August 2020, NBC News reported that cloud photo storage app Ever is using its users' photographs to train its facial recognition technology (FRT) system without informing them or letting them turn the system off. 

Furthermore, the report discovered that Ever was selling its FRT system to companies, police, and military customers. 

The report sparked multiple privacy and civil rights organisations to accuse Ever of egregious privacy abuse and opaque and misleading marketing, and to a wave of complaints by its users.

The furore also prompted a January 2021 complaint (pdf) by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which was settled (pdf) in May 2021, with Ever instructed to all user data harvested from its app and to delete 'any models or algorithms developed in whole or in part' using that data. 

Ever rebranded as Paravision days after NBC's 2019 report and closed Ever in August 2020, blaming increased competition from Apple and Google. 

Operator: Paravision/Everalbum
Developer: Paravision/Everalbum
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Train facial recognition system
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Privacy; Marketing


Legal, regulatory

News, commentary, analysis

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2022