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Update: The deadline to provide feedback for the biometrics consultation has been extended to February 16, 2024.

October 11, 2023

Privacy Commissioner seeks input on draft biometrics guidance documents

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is seeking input to update guidance for organizations related to handling biometric information for both public and private sector organizations.

Since the OPC’s existing guidance on biometrics was published in 2011, technologies such as fingerprinting, voice identification, facial recognition and even new uses for genetic data have evolved significantly.

“From police use of facial recognition technology to a telecommunications company that did not obtain consent for its voiceprint authentication program, the use of biometrics is surfacing more frequently in our investigative work,” Commissioner Philippe Dufresne says.

“This field is growing at a rapid pace and we recognize the need for guidance to help organizations ensure that they use these technologies in a privacy protective way. This is why we are now reaching out to stakeholders, including the public, for input.”

To that end, the OPC is releasing two draft guidance documents – one of which addresses risks under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal private sector privacy law, while the other pertains to the Privacy Act,which governs how federal institutions handle personal information.

Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback by January 12, 2024.

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