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Statement from the Privacy Commissioner following release of ETHI report on facial recognition technology

October 6, 2022

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne today issued the following statement regarding a new report from the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics following its study on the use and impact of facial recognition technology:

I welcome the committee’s report, which confirms and reiterates the pressing necessity of ensuring the appropriate regulation of privacy impactful technologies such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence in a way that protects and promotes Canadians’ fundamental right to privacy.

The report confirms the need for critical measures such as:

  • mandatory privacy impact assessments (PIAs) and consultation with my Office prior to the adoption, creation and use of facial recognition technology;
  • improved accountability and transparency through enhanced oversight and public reporting and consultation;
  • strong and effective legal frameworks to set limits on the use of facial recognition technologies by police and to ensure that privacy is protected at every stage of the process; and
  • the modernization of private and public sector privacy laws.

With this in mind, I look forward to Parliament taking the next steps in its review of Bill C-27, which would update federal private-sector privacy legislation, and which, I hope, will be followed by a modernization of the public sector Privacy Act in the near future.

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