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Facial recognition – the path forward?

June 11, 2021 - Ron Kruzeniski, Information and Privacy Commissioner

The media has focused considerable attention on facial recognition (FR). Access and privacy commissioners have been focusing on the issue too. The Ontario Commissioner has just posted an excellent blog on Mugshots to megabytes:  facial recognition has made privacy protection more urgent than ever.

The privacy protection authorities for each province and territory of Canada and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada have jointly issued a draft privacy guidance on facial recognition for police agencies. It is draft because we are embarking on a consultation across Canada.

The federal privacy commissioner has filed a special report on facial recognition technology. The report deals with the use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

If you have an opinion or comment on the use of facial recognition by police forces, check out the Notice of Consultation and Call for Comments. This document outlines a series of questions and suggests the procedure for giving written feedback. Submissions may be sent via email to until October 15, 2021. Feedback may be sent in the form of an email or Word document, in either official language. When submitting feedback, please provide your name and contact information and also indicate which category best represents your perspective (e.g. individual, academia, business, civil society/nonprofit, business association, government, etc.). In terms of what will happen with your feedback, see the feedback procedures section of this document.

This consultation allows you to take part in a debate that has been going on for some time. I encourage you to provide your input.

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