The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is in the process of drafting new policy guidelines to govern its use of facial recognition. The Department is hoping to complete a draft of the policy before the end of the year, and has indicated that it will not use facial recognition technology in any of its investigations until that policy is implemented.
In that regard, the VPD’s actions are a response to the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s investigation of Clearview AI, which determined that the company’s collection and use of biometric data violates Canadian privacy law. That investigation was carried out in collaboration with provincial privacy commissioners from Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.
For its part, the VPD acknowledged that one of its offers had downloaded a trial version of the Clearview platform after attending a conference, which would seem to be in keeping with Clearview’s habit of distributing free trials, seemingly in an effort to circumvent official police approval channels for the use of new technologies. That officer used Clearview once in the course of an investigation, though the VPD suggested that the search did not advance the investigation, and that the officer was later instructed to cease all use of the service.
“We acknowledge that we did have the one issue with Clearview, which quite frankly was a misunderstanding,” said Police Chief Adam Palmer. “But there’s no misunderstanding anymore. So we don’t use it, we have no plans in using it until solid policy is in place.”
That policy will ultimately seek to ensure that any VPD facial recognition system does not violate the civil liberties of Vancouver residents, or create additional harms for marginalized communities that already have to deal with over-policing and racial bias in law enforcement. OpenMedia’s Bryan Short called for such a system back in January, and asked the VPD to suspend its use of facial recognition until it can ensure those privacy protections.
Source: Vancouver is Awesome
April 22, 2021 – by Eric Weiss