🗞️ Erasing Facial Recognition, Corporate Un-Diversity, & Celebrity Scams
This week: Clearview AI gets slammed by the UK, corporate diversity hiring practices appear to be failing, and celebrity crypto endorsements may not be all they were led on to be. Plus, non-legal advice, and Trump v. NY AG.
If you've never heard of Clearview AI, they know who you are. Or, at least your face. Clearview is a facial recognition company that scrapes 20 billion images from around the internet to identify people, and officials in the UK are unhappy with the trove of data the company holds on its country's citizens. As The Verge reports, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has ordered the company to delete data on all UK citizens and further fined the company over £9 million for failing to comply with a previous order.
The UK is the fourth nation to order data deletion on behalf of its citizens, following Australia, Italy, and France.
In the UK, Clearview's services were previously used by the Metropolitan Police, Ministry of Defence, and National Crime Agency.
The ACLU filed a suit against Clearview in 2020 for violating Illinois state law, MSNBC notes. The lawsuit claimed the company failed to get consent from state residents before their biometric data was collected or used. Earlier this month, Clearview settled the case, and agreed “not to sell its product to most private companies and individuals in the United States.”
It's heartening to see countries begin to fight against mass private biometric data collection (even if their own law enforcement agencies once used the product). That being said, a lawsuit in Illinois that led to a loose commitment by Clearview is nowhere near enough action in the US.
🎧 What We’re Listening To
This week, we’re listening to Ólafur Arnalds, an Icelandic instrumentalist, and producer who utilizes a mix of drums, piano, and ambient synths to produce beats that lead to an elusive and dreamy sound. Trance Frendz is an improvised collaboration with a peer of Arnalds, German composer Nils Frahm. In just an 8 hour session, they brought the 7-track record together without any overdubs or edits.
In 2020, banking giant Wells Fargo began an informal policy that required positions of $100K or more to interview at least one woman or person of color (POC). Well, those efforts have fallen mostly flat, employees of the company now say. Meanwhile, Netflix, which is cutting staff, is being criticized for disproportionately hitting those “who aimed to elevate diverse content and talent,” says the Los Angeles Times.
According to The Hustle, Wells Fargo has allegedly been holding "bogus interviews" with women/POC for roles that have already been filled in order to satisfy diversity efforts.
At Netflix, the Times adds that many of the company's diversity hires were contractors, and thus have been the first to get cut.
The Contractor Illusion
A report by the TechEquity Collaborative states that “contract and temp workers are more likely to be Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, women, and nonbinary people than those hired in the direct workforce,” calling the phenomenon "occupational segregation". This means that a company's diversity efforts may be mostly in contractors and not W2 staff and that these employees tend to face layoffs first when a company tightens its belt. In other words, white, male employees benefit from being laid off last in this order.
While it's not exactly a surprise to learn that some major corporations treat their diversity pledges as superficial, it's also a worrisome trend that layoffs disproportionately affect women and POC.
🎆 It’s The First Of The Month!
We’re starting the summer off with a (big) bang. Well, you could say we have a few events coming up this month.
✅ June 8th, 3 pm ET | Office Hours
Join our talent team to learn more about how you can transform your legal career by choosing who you work with, what you want to work on, and when you want to work.
✅ June 14th, 2 pm ET | Legal Freelancer Bootcamp: How to Stand Out from the Crowd
✅ June 16th, 3 pm ET | Let’s Talk Legal & Crypto
Join us for a fireside chat with Drew Morris as we explore the legal highs and lows of working in this fascinating industry.
✅ June 28th, 2 pm ET | Legal Freelancer Bootcamp: How to Interview Successfully
You no doubt saw the ads all over this year's Super Bowl: celebrities pushing crypto. Larry David did it, just like LeBron James, Kim Kardashian, and many others. But now that the music has stopped in the crypto market, those same celebrities that were giving an implicit (or even an explicit) stamp of approval on the investment, are suddenly silent — even when they had made enormous profits from their involvement in the crypto product, sometimes even stakeholders too.
“You have this shameless profiteering from celebrities and others, who aren’t at all disinterested or impartial,” former SEC Internet Enforcement chief John Reed Stark said. “There is a lot of potential for harm.”
Failure To Disclose
As the New York Times details, promoting cryptocurrencies and/or NFTs occupies a legal gray zone as federal law requires anyone marketing a security to disclose conflicts of interest — however, crypto isn't (yet?) defined as a security. This has led to example after example of a celebrity who has endorsed a specific cryptocurrency or NFT, only to reveal later (after people have lost tons of money) that the celebrity had some personal/financial ties to the token.
It takes a crash of a market to expose its flaws, and this crash is exposing many major concerns in the crypto market. As we've said here week after week, its an urgent matter that the crypto market become regulated.
📤 What Else We're Forwarding
Legal Non-Legal: A federal judge has ruled that using non-lawyers for legal advice is permitted as free speech, according to the ABA Journal. The judge stated that the use of non-lawyers to advise New Yorkers facing debt challenges “will not threaten the overall regulatory exclusivity of the legal profession.”
Trump's Woes: Former President Donald Trump cannot stop the New York Attorney General's investigation into his business dealings, a federal judge has ruled reports Law360. Trump had argued that the investigation violated his constitutional rights, including freedom of speech and due process.
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See ya next week!