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Privacy Watchdogs to Probe Clearview AI’s Facial-Recognition Technology

February 21, 2020 12:21 PM | The Canadian Press


By The Canadian Press

Daniel Therrien

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien waits to appear before The International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

OTTAWA — The federal privacy watchdog and three of his provincial counterparts will jointly investigate Canadian use of facial-recognition technology supplied by U.S. firm Clearview AI.

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says he will be joined in the probe by ombudsmen from British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

The investigation follows media reports that raised concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent.

Clearview AI’s technology allows for the collection of huge numbers of images from various sources that can help police forces and financial institutions identify people.

Therrien’s office says the four privacy regulators will examine whether the organization’s practices comply with Canadian privacy laws.

It also says privacy regulators in every province and territory have agreed to develop guidance for organizations — including law enforcement — on the use of biometric technology, including facial recognition.

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