March 9th, 2020
NDP demands answers on RCMP use of facial recognition software
OTTAWA – Today, NDP Critic for Ethics, Charlie Angus raised concerns about the RCMP's use of facial recognition software and called on the Liberals to tell Canadians why the nation's police force repeatedly denied using it before eventually coming clean.
"This software that's being used by the RCMP and police forces across the country is run by a US company that has collected a database of billions of photos of Canadians. Canadians have concerns and they deserve answers," said Angus. "This is a serious compromise of people’s privacy in Canada. The onus is on the Minister of Public Safety to immediately come clean to Canadians on the use of facial recognition software."
Earlier this year, Angus got the support of the parliamentary Ethics Committee to investigate the situation and the Privacy Commissioner is also investigating to determine if any Canadian laws were broken in the use of the software on Canadians. So far, the Liberals have refused to follow Angus' call to implement a moratorium on the commercial, private, and public sector use of this technology in public spaces until the investigation is done.
“In the US, many municipalities are banning the use of facial recognition software like this. The Liberal government should follow suit, at least until we know for a fact that no laws in Canada have been breached,” said Angus. "Canadians deserve to have their privacy protected. 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.”