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June 10th, 2021

NDP comment on the Privacy Commissioner's report on the RCMP's use of facial recognition technology

The NDP Critic for Ethics, Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), and NDP Deptuy Leader, Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie), made the following joint statement on the Privacy Commissioner’s report into the RCMP's use of facial recognition technology:

“The NDP welcomes this morning’s report from the Privacy Commissioner. This report validates the concerns we brought to the Commissioner’s attention over the RCMP and other police force’s use of facial recognition technology, made by Clearview AI.

There is a deep sense of mistrust between Indigenous, Black, racialized communities and protest groups and the RCMP. Both technology companies like Clearview AI and the RCMP remain secretive about their use of facial recognition technology, furthering that sense of mistrust.

The Privacy Commissioner’s findings in this report are startling and incredibly disturbing. The report shows that the RCMP misled Canadians in their use of facial recognition technology, repeatedly violated their privacy, and broke the law while doing so.

Privacy rights are fundamental. Clear rules over the consent and taking of private information must be a priority for our government. The Liberal government must now hold the RCMP to account to implement these recommendations put forward by the Privacy Commissioner.

We’re calling on the Attorney General to tighten protections for people across Canada to ensure that Canadians privacy is protected. We’re also calling on the Attorney General to take corrective action to ensure the RCMP is compliant with privacy laws. This report makes detailed and strong recommendations for corrective action within the RCMP, and the RCMP’s behaviour in this report has done little to increase confidence they can take corrective action on their own.

The Liberals need to stop letting the interests of big tech companies selling shiny new technologies come ahead of the rights and privacy of everyday Canadians.”