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Canadian privacy watchdogs to probe Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology

People walk past a poster simulating facial recognition software at the Security China 2018 exhibition in Beijing. .
People walk past a poster simulating facial recognition software at the Security China 2018 exhibition in Beijing. . REUTERS/Thomas Peter

OTTAWA – The federal privacy watchdog and three of his provincial counterparts will jointly investigate Canadian use of facial-recognition technology supplied by U.S. firm Clearview AI.

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says he will be joined in the probe by ombudsmen from British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

The investigation follows media reports that raised concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent.

READ MORE: Toronto Police Service confirms some members tested Clearview AI’s controversial facial recognition tool

Clearview AI’s technology allows for the collection of huge numbers of images from various sources that can help police forces and financial institutions identify people.

Therrien’s office says the four privacy regulators will examine whether the organization’s practices comply with Canadian privacy laws.

It also says privacy regulators in every province and territory have agreed to develop guidance for organizations – including law enforcement – on the use of biometric technology, including facial recognition.

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Toronto police admits to using controversial facial recognition tool
Toronto police admits to using controversial facial recognition tool