Canadian privacy regulators rule that police use of Clearview AI technology violated Privacy Act

An investigation by Canadian privacy regulators found that the use of Clearview AI by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to conduct hundreds of searches of a database compiled illegally is a violation of the Privacy Act. In a Special Report to Parliament, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) shared its findings and, along with its provincial and territorial counterparts, also announced the launch of a public consultation to help establish clearer rules and consider whether new laws are desirable. The RCMP is no longer using Clearview AI as the company ceased to offer its services in Canada last summer in the wake of our then ongoing investigation. However, the OPC remains concerned that the RCMP did not agree with its conclusion that it contravened the Privacy Act. In an effort to provide some clarity to police agencies that are increasingly looking to facial recognition technology (FRT) to solve crime or find missing persons, the OPC, along with its provincial and territorial privacy counterparts, have also issued draft guidance to assist police in ensuring any use of FRT complies with the law, minimizes privacy risks and respects privacy rights.