BC FIPA and BCCLA letter to OIPC on ICBC proposal to share Facial Recognition Data with Police

The BCCLA and BC FIPA have sent a joint letter to the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC regarding media reports that the office of the commissioner will be investigating ICBC’S proposed use of its photo database for the purposes of identifying suspects in the recent Stanley Cup riots.

In our view, it is arguable that the Freedom of Information and Protection and Privacy Act (the “Act”) does not provide for the disclosures of personal information at issue and that the deployment of facial recognition technologies raises critical questions that have yet to be assessed in light of the Act.

In our opinion, the proposed ICBC-police arrangement is an attempted end-run around the purposes of the Act and serves as a dire warning about the privacy threats of government/police “cooperation” especially given the greatly intensified data
centralization underway in every facet of government service from health care to human resources and ever-expanding surveillance and data-mining technologies that can be used to search those systems.

Many citizens have been shocked to discover themselves de facto criminal suspects, their driver license photos transformed into a mug shot database to be searched at the behest of the police. Many ordinary citizens know well that lines are being rossed and critical rights are in danger.

Read the letter (pdf).