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June 25th, 2021

NDP highlights concerns with the Liberals use of facial recognition technology in letter to Privacy Commissioner

OTTAWA - The NDP’s Critic for Ethics, Charlie Angus (Timmins- James Bay), has sent a letter to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, it was discovered that the Liberal Party uses facial recognition technology in local nomination meetings. This news is deeply concerning and raises serious concerns around how agreements with third party companies that provide this technology could undermine a citizens’ right to privacy leading to the exploitation of their personal information.

“It is troubling that the Liberals are experimenting with the massive power of facial recognition technology without coming clean with their volunteers and supporters,” said Angus. “For a long time, political parties in Canada have enjoyed a unique and special exemption from the provisions of Canadian privacy law. However, if that privileged status results in political parties compromising Canadians’ privacy, then it’s time to change the law.”

Facial recognition technology is extremely controversial but is becoming more and more commonly used by the Liberal government. Just a week ago, the Privacy Commissioner released a report which found that the RCMP repeatedly violated Canadians’ privacy and broke the law in their use of this technology.

The letter sent by Angus asks the Commissioner whether third parties, contracted by political parties, are exempt from Canada’s privacy laws. He also asks the Commissioner if he has recommendations to Bill C11 which would secure the privacy rights of Canadians.

“Privacy rights are fundamental. Clear rules over the consent and taking of private information must be a priority for our government. The Liberals are starting to exhibit a pattern of letting the interests of big tech companies selling shiny new technologies come ahead of the rights and privacy of everyday Canadians,” added Angus. “New Democrats will continue to fight to ensure Canadians’ privacy rights are protected.”