Well, hello, September. NHL teams will have their players reporting for camp soon — which has me very excited. There’s actually an NHL privacy-related story in the news this week. It’s not Canadian-focused, but if it’s about hockey, it’s interesting for a Canadian newsletter, right?
The story I’m referring to is about a proposed class action against the Chicago Blackhawks that was abandoned by the plaintiff, who had sued the team for illegal use of facial recognition. In 2008, Illinois was one of the first U.S. states to pass laws restricting an organization’s ability to collect biometrics from people. Apparently, someone thought the team was using the technology around 2018 when people attended games in Chicago. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the exact details of what happened because, as I said, the plaintiff abandoned the suit.
We’ve also had a few cases about facial recognition in Canada recently, with the Cadillac Fairview and Clearview AI matters. Both raise questions about the appropriateness of using this type of technology. While our laws aren’t as specific as those passed in several American states, we do have rules with respect to collecting biometric information. If you do collect personal information — which facial recognition technology does — then you need consent. Obtaining meaningful consent in the deployment of this technology isn’t without its challenges, though, so I think these issues are not going away anytime soon.
Now I know this is a horribly awkward segue, but since I led with some commentary about the Blackhawks, I’m reminded of how some sports teams are reconsidering their names and logos to be more respectful of Indigenous symbols and culture. Back in June, I wrote about how we in the privacy community haven’t done much work (yet) to understand the privacy issues related to Indigenous communities. This is an area where privacy pros can do better. So I’d like to encourage everyone listen to a very interesting podcast on First Nations and data sovereignty put out by the Ontario Commissioner’s office the other day. Go do it — you won’t need to give up a biometric to listen, I promise!
Have a great weekend and try to enjoy the last bits of summer.
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