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LETTER: Facial recognition technology goes too far

‘Government and corporate entities using technology to spy on us without our permission should be prosecuted’

It is well known that we are expected to provide a vaccine passport and some form of photo ID to be allowed access to services in public spaces. In the frenzy and the fear of the pandemic, it is almost understandable that people will be grasping at solutions that promise to protect us. I believe people are too willing to give up their privacy for schemes that promise safety.

ICBC uses a facial recognition technology (FRT) system to verify drivers’ identity when they apply for a B.C. driver’s licence. When this FRT was first implemented, I received the B.C. Privacy Commissioner’s assurance that this technology would only be used for driver’s license identity verification. And, he adamantly added that it really could not be used for anything else. This ID verification process has since been adopted by Revenue Canada, BC Medical, and the B.C. vaccine passport among others.

The Canadian federal government is making moves to implement a country wide FRT system. WestJet in Alberta is right now testing FRT for ticketing and boarding ID. Coupled with the federal government’s newly released illegal use of cell phone tracking data, this FRT system moves us ever closer to the constant surveillance of a police state.

Canada’s constitution provides for protection of our privacy. Government and corporate entities using technology to spy on us without our permission should be prosecuted.

The use of FRT is not the way of the future, especially if our elected public servants are hesitant to talk openly about its use. In this testing trial stage of federal FRT, I would like the opportunity to present my ideas on the topic, as I’m sure many others would. I urge readers to contact Mark Strahl, and ask him to open a discussion on the Federal use of facial recognition technology.

Gary Raddysh

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