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Canadian lawmakers recommend moratorium, regulations for facial recognition use

Canadian lawmakers recommend moratorium, regulations for facial recognition use

Canada should put a moratorium on the use of facial recognition by Federal police and “Canadian industries” unless their implementation is first run by the country’s Privacy Commissioner or the judiciary, according to a legislative report.

Four of the 19 recommendations from a Canadian parliamentary committee examining the use of facial recognition refer directly to the country’s Privacy Act, and another to its Human Rights Act, as the need updated laws are one of the main themes of the report. Other recommendations include the establishment of a regulatory framework specifically for facial recognition, and several suggest additional legislation and oversight mechanisms. Two other recommendations refer to studies and disclosure of algorithmic bias and demographic differentials.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics conducted 9 public meetings and heard from 33 witnesses, including Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, and received 8 briefs. The result is the 84-page ‘Facial Recognition Technology and the Growing Power of Artificial Intelligence’ report.

“The report’s recommendations are supported by members of all four parties on the committee and I hope that the government will respond quickly and decisively to implement them,” says Committee Chair Pat Kelly.

The committee recommends that disclosure be required for airports using facial recognition, and a public registry of “all algorithmic tools used by any entity operating in Canada.”

An “opt-in-only requirement” for biometrics collection and use by the private sector, and a “right to erasure” similar to the EU’s “right to be forgotten” should be put in place, the report says.

A recommendation on procurement practices includes disclosure of free trials, as well as the first recommendation “to ensure that the practices of any third party from which it obtains personal information are lawful,” appear to refer to Clearview AI, which is referenced directly over 40 times in the report.

The Committee also noted dissatisfaction with the answers federal police provided about its use of Clearview and other facial recognition technologies.

Canada has proposals currently winding through the legislative process for data privacy rules that would address biometric bias and training data.

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