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Canada Dashboard Digest | Notes from the IAPP Canada Managing Director, July 10, 2020 Related reading: Mozilla rolls out Firefox user tracking safeguard

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What is your position on the use of facial recognition technology today? I ask because the Office of the Privacy Commissioner released a statement this week indicating that Clearview AI has agreed to stop selling its facial recognition technology in Canada. Their announcement also made it clear the OPC was continuing its investigation into the technology and, in particular, whether the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s use of it was lawful.

Do you use your face’s topography to unlock your phone or get into your bank accounts on your device? If so, is that because you trust that Apple is safeguarding your biometrics?

Has this technology become so ubiquitous that, in a sense, the genie is already out of the bottle? And do you love the convenience of it? I know that recently some larger tech companies, such as IBM, announced they were pausing their work on this technology. But is it too late? I personally think we proceeded, quite aggressively, with a pretty broad deployment of this technology without first thinking of the ethics behind it and all the potential abuses. We often ask the question “can we do this” but how often do you hear “should we do this”?

And, ethics aside, what about our privacy rights?  Do you feel comfortable that our legislative framework, whether in the private or public sector, is up to the task of dealing with these issues?

I recently posted on LinkedIn that I am curiously awaiting the OPC’s report on Clearview. In my view, it has the potential of being one of the most important cases ever to come from that office … no pressure!

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