The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has disclosed in its “2022-2023 Annual Report to Parliament” that it consulted with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on an online passport application pilot project. The pilot aims to simplify renewals by using facial recognition technology to verify photos already in the IRCC database. This marks a noteworthy step in Canada’s efforts to integrate biometric technologies into its public services.
The Annual Report, which covers the period from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, delves into various aspects of privacy, including the use and impact of facial recognition technology. The report notes that the OPC appeared before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) to discuss the need for regulating privacy-impactful technologies. Following the OPC’s appearance and discussions, the Committee released its own report, which confirmed the need for regulating technologies that have a significant impact on privacy, such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence. The Committee’s findings were in line with the OPC’s recommendations for mandatory Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) and enhanced oversight for such technologies.
The OPC’s new report also touches upon the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) engagement with the OPC regarding the use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology. The OPC expressed satisfaction with the RCMP’s compliance measures, stating that the police force had implemented their recommendations effectively. This comes as part of the OPC’s broader efforts to ensure that law enforcement agencies are compliant with privacy regulations when deploying new technologies.
In addition to these developments, the report mentions that Canadian privacy regulators have recommended the development of a legal framework that clearly outlines the circumstances under which police can use facial recognition technology. Their joint statement aims to provide a standardized approach to the use of biometric technologies across various jurisdictions in Canada.
The OPC’s Annual Report serves as a comprehensive overview of Canada’s current stance on privacy issues, particularly in the realm of biometrics and facial recognition. As the country continues to explore the integration of these technologies into various sectors, the OPC’s role in providing oversight and guidance becomes increasingly crucial.
September 20, 2023 – by the FindBiometrics Editorial Team