Following concerns expressed by Atlantic Canada’s four provincial privacy commissioners, the P.E.I. government has said it is working toward becoming more transparent regarding its use of facial recognition technology.
Earlier this week, a joint statement was released by the commissioners in which they expressed their concerns over the use of the technology, specifically on driver’s license applications. P.E.I. Privacy Commissioner Kare Rose said Islanders not being informed that the technology was being used was problematic.
Driver’s licence applicants’ photos are being scanned using facial recognition software to spot potential identity fraud and to prevent any suspended drivers from obtaining a new license.
As a response to the concerns and recommendations from the privacy commissioners, P.E.I.’s Department of Transportation has said it plans on amending the Highway Traffic Act in the spring in order to make it clear to Islanders that biometrics are being used to verify their personal information on a license application.
The Department of Transportation stressed in a statement that it is not sharing any biometric information with any other provinces.
“The facial recognition information is only used by select Highway Safety staff and the image is checked against previous driver’s licence and ID photos in our own database,” the statement said.
“No other groups/organizations other than Highway Safety have access to this database. We do not share this information. We do not check it against any outside database.”
January 31, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis