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ETHI Committee’s Report recommends a federal moratorium on the use of FRT by police services and industry

By October 19, 2022July 25th, 2023No Comments

In October 2022, the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI Committee) released its report, “Facial Recognition Technology and the Growing Power of Artificial Intelligence.” Throughout the spring of 2022, the ETHI Committee heard submissions from a variety of individuals and representatives of communities in Canada, from both the public and private sectors. Despite differing viewpoints, all witnesses agreed that Canada is in urgent need of a comprehensive legislative framework to govern the use and development of facial recognition technology (FRT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

In its report, the ETHI Committee made 19 Recommendations. The most significant of which, was that the Committee recommended a federal moratorium on the use of FRT by federal policing services and Canadian industries until sufficient legislation is passed to regulate the use, prohibition, and oversight of FRT. Additionally, the Committee also made the following recommendations of note:

  • The government should strengthen the powers of the Privacy Commissioner to levy meaningful penalties on government institutions and private entities whose use of FRT violates privacy legislation.
  • The government should define in appropriate legislation acceptable uses of facial recognition technology or other algorithmic technologies and prohibit other uses, including mass surveillance.
  • The government should set out clear penalities for violations of legislation concerning facial recognition technology by police.
  • The government should invest in initiatives to study the impact of AI on various demographic groups and ensure the full and transparent disclosure of racial, age, or other biases that exist in FRT.