Federal MPs call for strict regulation of facial recognition
Faced with the absence of adequate legislation to regulate the technology of facial recognition (TRF) and artificial intelligence, “a national pause should be imposed on the use of TRF, particularly as it relates to policing,” the report reads. /p>
The current legislative framework in Canada is not sufficient to properly regulate the use of facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence, concludes the committee.
A House of Commons committee recommends a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology by federal police and Canadian businesses, unless there is court clearance or a consultation with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
In a report tabled Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy Privacy and Ethics also urges the government to develop a regulatory framework regarding the uses, prohibitions, monitoring and privacy protections of this emerging tool.
Facial recognition technology compares an image of a face against a database of millions of photos in an effort to identify a person.
MPs on the committee say appropriate privacy safeguards should address issues such as the accuracy, retention and transparency of facial recognition initiatives. They also recommend a comprehensive strategy addressing the informed consent of Canadians regarding the use of their personal information.
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MEPs also want the government to amend the Privacy Act to prohibit the private sector from capturing images of Canadians on the internet or in public places to feed databases. of data used by facial recognition technology or artificial intelligence algorithms.
Several people who appeared before the committee acknowledged that facial recognition can sometimes be useful, for example to authorize a payment or to keep medical information confidential on a cell phone.
These folks, however, cautioned that this technology comes with a few downsides. In particular, it can lead to a greater number of misidentifications for black and Asian people, it can also be used for illegal surveillance and the laws surrounding it do not are not up to date. Committee members were also warned that there is a lack of transparency from police and intelligence agencies.
“Without proper oversight, facial recognition technology and other artificial intelligence tools could cause irreparable harm to some people. »
— Report excerpt
These new technologies must therefore be used wisely and be governed by strict laws, according to the elected members of the committee.
Since this legislative framework does not exist at the x27;Currently, a national pause should be imposed on the use of [facial recognition technology], especially in policing, the MPs write in their report.
The committee strongly encourages the government to implement its recommendations as quickly as possible.
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Coalition National Coordinator Tim McSorley welcomed the submission of this report. He added that many stakeholders interested in the issue of privacy related to new technologies have been calling for concrete action from the federal government for the past two years.
We hope that this new report will finally lead to the reform of the laws necessary to regulate the use of facial recognition and, more generally, of all artificial intelligence, underlined Mr. McSorley, who is ;was presented to the committee last March.
In May 2022, Canada's Privacy Commissioners said they believe it should be illegal for police to use facial recognition technology to monitor people who participate in sexual assaults. peaceful protests.
In a joint statement, federal, provincial and territorial privacy agencies also called for a ban on any recourse, by law enforcement agencies, to to this technology which could lead to mass surveillance.
The privacy commissioners of British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec have also ordered facial recognition company Clearview AI to stop collecting, using and disclosing images of people without their consent.
An investigation by the three provincial oversight bodies and by their federal counterpart revealed last February that Clearview AI technology resulted in mass surveillance of Canadians and violated federal and provincial laws that govern personal information.