MP accuses RCMP officials of “correct” testimony on face recognition technology | CBC News:

Attempts by lawmakers to learn more about the RCMP’s use of controversial face recognition software hit the wall on Monday when a lawmaker accused police officers of “deliberate evasion”.

The Standing Committee on Access to Information and Privacy has met this morning to continue its study of the use of emerging technologies in Canada.

Their efforts come a year after Federal Commissioner for Privacy Daniel Therien declared that the use of face recognition software by the RCMP, developed by US-based Clearview AI, amounted to a serious breach of Canadian privacy law. :

This program allows users to match photos to a database of over three billion images.

On Monday, NDP MP Matthew Green slammed Gordon Sage, director general of the RCMP’s Sensitive, Specialized Investigation Services, over who licensed the software to use the RCMP back in 2018 and who oversaw the process.

“Can you name your predecessor?” He asked.

NDP MP Matthew Green is coming to the committee hearing in Wellington, Ottawa on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

After a back-and-forth exchange, Sage finally said that the official had since retired, and that he did not think he had the right to name them.

“I think you paid more attention to your predecessor in a situation where his rights are truly public information in a public forum than to the billions of people who collected and analyzed their images using this AI technology. “- said Green.

“What we have, what I have, I will speak for myself, is a matter of trust.”

Warning of Parliament’s contempt

Conservative MP James Bezan later described the commission’s response to the three officials summoned as witnesses as “deliberately evasive” and reminded them that they could be ignored by parliament if they did not cooperate.

“Some of the answers we received today were very limited. I would suggest that the witnesses perform their duties before this commission so that those of us sitting at the table have parliamentary privilege. We expect full answers,” he said.

“And in a word, the answers and being careless do not do our job as a commission member.”

Conservative MP James Bezan asks a question at the House of Commons in Ottawa Parliament Hills on October 27, 2016. (Adrian Wilde / Canadian Press)

RCMP initially ruled out using Clearview AI software in 2020. It later confirmed that it was using the software after rumors surfaced that the company’s customer list had been hacked.

The same year, a New York Times investigation found that the software had removed more than three billion photos from public sites such as Facebook and Instagram. He later turned them into a database used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada and elsewhere.

The company ceased to offer its face recognition services in Canada following the launch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigation. RCMP said it had stopped using the software.

RCMP says it has used the technology three times

Sage said on Monday that he had used force in three official Clearview AI cases, twice inside a child exploitation unit and once to pursue a fugitive abroad.

“There were a lot of members who were testing the technology to see if it worked. They searched a lot in their pictures, in their own profiles, to see if this technology worked. They took photos of celebrities and held it. “Clearview to see if it worked,” he said.

“In fact, by testing this technology, we realized that it is not always effective.”

Following the crackdown on the use of Clearview AI technologies, the RCMP announced that it intends to be more transparent in how it approves և uses new technologies և investigative tools that involve the collection and use of personal information.

RCMP promises to announce this new policy by the end of June.

On Monday, the committee was replenished with members who agreed to ask RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucky to attend.

«[The RCMP] “In my opinion, it has not shown such sincerity – sincerity with civilian oversight bodies as the House of Commons – to provide basic information to Canadians who are concerned about their civil liberties,” Green said during questioning. .

Last week, Thierry և and his provincial counterparts issued a statement urging lawmakers to create rules that clearly state when police can use face recognition technology.

“Prohibited zones should include a ban on any use of face recognition, which could lead to mass surveillance,” they wrote.

“Legislation should require that the use of face recognition by the police be ‘necessary’ for any application of proportionate technology.”

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