German privacy watchdog investigates PimEyes for privacy abuse

Occurred: December 2022

The data regulator of German state Baden-Württemberg announced it had launched an investigation into PimEyes for its processing of biometric data. 

PimEyes was asked by the State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in the state of Baden Württemberg to provide detailed information on its processing of data. The investigation followed reports in the German media in 2021 alleging that PimEyes had been scraping and scanning images from social media sites, and storing biometric data. 

PimEyes had stated in a November 2021 response to the Commissioner that it only processed publicly available images and that it could not assign them to identifiable persons - a statement the regulator had found inadequate and which constituted a danger to the rights and freedoms of German citizens under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation. 

Developer: PimEyes
Country: Germany
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Identify individuals
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Governance; Privacy
Transparency: Governance

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