Visitors experience facial recognition technology at a Face++ booth during the China Public Security Expo in Shenzhen 2017. In China, facial recognition is being used by the government to help monitor the movements of the country's 1.4 billion people. Privacy experts are concerned about police use of the technology in Canada (Bobby Yip/Reuters

Facial recognition technology; privacy questions growing

It has been revealed that facial recognition technology is being ‘tested’ by many police agencies in both Canada and the U.S.

There are concerns that its use may contravene Canadian privacy laws, and who may be using it beyond police forces. Some have even hinted at a approach towards an Orwellian future.

Teresa Scassa PhD  is the Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy and Full Professor, Faculty of Law, Common Law section at the University of Ottawa.


Professor Scassa says that there should be real discussions about when and how these technologies are used, and clear guidelines about their use, and even if they should be used at all.

Teresa Scassa,(PhD) the Canada Research Chair in Information Law, at the University of Ottawa says ‘we leave ourselves open to essentially a form of total surveillance’ if we don’t set limits on what police can access. (CBC )

Big Brother?

She notes that the company claims that only registered police agencies can use Clearview technology are already being stretched to include campus police, which are not a public agency, the beginning perhaps of a slippery slope towards wider use, and increasing risk of misuse. Professor Scassa adds that there is always a potential for abusive use of the technology, and that if there is a commercial market for this technology, the interest for companies like Clearview to serve that market can be quite strong.

She points out that a couple of provincial privacy commissioners, and the federal commissioner are already investigating use of the technology

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