Nothing to fear from facial recognition, says ICBC

ICBC responds to concerns the technology is an invasion of privacy

RE: Facial recognition a ‘violation’, Chilliwack Progress, February 8, 2018

We wanted to respond to Gary Raddysh’s concerns regarding ICBC’s use of facial recognition technology and reassure him the technology is there to protect his identity.

ICBC widely communicated its introduction of this technology when we launched the new B.C. driver’s licence back in early 2009. Our provincial driver’s licence is widely used as the primary form of identification in our province so is, unfortunately, often a target for criminal activity. Falsified licences help enable fraud and other criminal activities that cost people, businesses and financial institutions millions of dollars each year.

Facial recognition technology is widely seen today as the security benchmark for government-issued documents because of its proven success of detecting fraud. The technology has been implemented in other provinces in Canada and in more than 30 jurisdictions across the U.S.

Facial recognition technology does not involve collecting any new information about customers – it’s a matter of using technology to better secure people’s identities. The technology works by analysing facial characteristics that do not change, such as the size and location of cheekbones and the distance between the eyes, allowing us to better verify a person’s identity prior to issuance or renewal of a licence. This ensures licences are only issued to individuals using their own identities.

Today, this technology is allowing us to protect our customers’ identities in ways which were not previously possible and we are discovering instances of fraud that would not have come to light without it, as your own newspaper has reported on:

The protection of our customers’ privacy is of paramount importance to us, as is protecting them from identity theft and fraud. ICBC’s use of this technology has been reviewed for privacy implications and meets the requirements of B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

We do also include a good explanation of what facial recognition technology is and how it protects our customers on both our driver licence renewal notices (see the reverse side) and on our website:

Chris Fairbridge


Special Investigations Unit


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