RCMP facial recognition privacy abuse

Occurred: June 2021

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The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has found the RCMP guilty of breaking the law by using facial recognition to collect the personal information of Canadians without their knowledge or consent. 

Canada's privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien said the RCMP was guilty of 'serious and systemic failings' in its information gathering operations using controversial facial monitoring company Clearview AI. 

Clearview AI uses artificial intelligence to match people’s images against a database of billions of photos scraped from the internet, including social media sites. 

In July 2020, during the investigation AI into whether Clearview’s AI technology breaks Canadian privacy laws, Clearview AI said it would pull out of Canada and stop working with the RCMP.

Similar to other police forces across Canada, the RCMP had previously publicly stated it was not using Clearview AI, only to later confirm that officers had used trial versions of the system without the knowledge or authorisation of police leadership. 

Operator: Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
Developer: Clearview AI
Country: Canada
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Strengthen law enforcement
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Privacy; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2021
Last updated: January 2023