Candid facial-recognition cameras to scan for terrorists at border

OTTAWA - Canada's border agency plans to compare images of people arriving in the country with photographs of suspects on watchlists to keep out alleged terrorists and other criminals.

See Full Article

The federal privacy watchdog has cautioned the agency that the scheme could ensnare the wrong travellers, resulting in unwarranted scrutiny for some people at the border.

The Canada Border Services Agency wants to see how well the facial-recognition technology works at various locations and under specific lighting and crowd-movement conditions.

The border agency's science and engineering directorate has quietly been working with the University of Quebec and other partners to gauge the ability of devices to extract needed information from video footage.

The initiative is among the latest federal efforts to use biometric tools that focus on personal characteristics - such as fingerprints, an iris or the contours of one's face - to identify people in the name of security.

In his recently released annual report, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says his office provided advice on the potential pitfalls, including the possibility of "false positives" that could result in unnecessary secondary screening for travellers.

The office also urged the border agency to assess the risks of using such technology, including issues that might arise during testing phases.

The border agency declined to make anyone available to discuss the project. In written answers, the agency said it continues to work with the commissioner to "ensure that privacy implications are appropriately addressed."

The agency also noted that while it plans to test the technology in an "operational context," no trials involving actual travellers have yet taken place.

The surveillance tool could eventually be in place at border points and international airports across Canada.

According to the commissioner's office, for facial recognition to be successful there needs to be a quality digital image of an individual's face, a database of images of identified individuals and facial-recognition software that will accurately find a match between the two.

Technical findings published by the federal border agency indicate researchers have assessed the technique's use in settings such as an interview counter, hallway, turnstile, and waiting and baggage-claim areas.

One thread of the research looked at a system's ability to match images of people in a video stream with photos of "persons of interest."

The Calgary police service is said to be the first force in Canada to use the technology for solving crimes.

Passport Canada has been using facial recognition for years to scrutinize photos and prevent the same person from holding multiple passports under different names. The privacy commissioner has made several recommendations about the initiative, saying all of the data in the system should be protected through encryption.

"We are not yet at the point where we can take pictures of people on the street with our smartphones, identify them, and gain access to information about them," said a March 2013 report published by the commissioner's office.

"However, this reality may not be too far off and we can only imagine what that will do to our interactions, relationships, and how we conduct our lives."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 7 in custody after stabbing near Charlie Hebdo's former office in Paris

    World News CBC News
    Seven people were in custody on Saturday after a stabbing outside the former Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, including the suspected assailant, authorities said. Counterterrorism authorities are investigating what officials called an Islamic extremist attack linked to Charlie Hebdo, which lost 12 employees in an al-Qaeda attack in 2015. Source
  • Ontario reports more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 for third consecutive day

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Health officials in Ontario are confirming more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row. The 435 new cases represent an increase over Friday’s total when 409 lab-confirmed cases were added. Source
  • As a shark latched on to her husband's shoulder, a pregnant woman sprang into action

    World News CTV News
    Moments after her husband jumped into the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, Margot Dukes-Eddy saw a shark fin and blood around the area where he had entered the water. Without hesitation, Dukes-Eddy, who is pregnant, leaped into the water and pulled him to safety. Source
  • Portland braces itself for large right-wing rally

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, ORE. -- At least several thousand people are expected in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday for a right-wing rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump and his "law and order" reelection campaign as tensions boil over nationwide following the decision not to charge officers in Louisville, Kentucky, for killing Breonna Taylor. Source
  • Trump targets Pennsylvania as key battleground state

    World News CTV News
    HARRISBURG, PA. -- U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign has grown increasingly focused on making inroads in Pennsylvania to offset potential vulnerabilities in other battlegrounds. The president will travel to the state for the second time in a week on Saturday, hoping to attract the same rural and white working-class voters who delivered him a narrow victory here in 2016. Source
  • Probe into 'discarded' ballots becomes campaign outrage fuel for Trump

    World News CTV News
    HARRISBURG, PA. -- The news release from a U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania was provocative: Nine mailed-in military ballots had been "discarded" by the local election office in a swing county of one of the most important presidential battleground states. Source
  • In Breonna Taylor's name: Devastation and a search for hope

    World News CTV News
    LOUISVILLE, KY. -- Chea Woolfolk searched the crowd until she found the face of the woman she'd come to regard as a second mother. And then she watched the tears roll down Rose Henderson's cheeks. Looking into Mama Rose's eyes, Woolfolk could see that her heart was breaking. Source
  • Lebanese nominated premier resigns, in blow to Macron plan

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Lebanon's prime minister-designate resigned Saturday amid a political impasse over government formation, dealing a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to break a dangerous stalemate in the crisis-hit country. The announcement by Moustapha Adib nearly a month after he was appointed to the job further delays the prospect of getting the foreign economic assistance needed to rescue the country from collapse. Source
  • Progress against virus brings complacency in parts of Africa

    World News CTV News
    HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- With Zimbabwe's coronavirus infections on the decline, schools are reopening, along with churches, bars, restaurants, airports and tourist attractions. Strict lockdowns designed to curb the disease are being replaced by a return to relatively normal life. Source
  • Paris stabbing suspect targeted Charlie Hebdo: official

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- The chief suspect in a double stabbing in Paris told investigators he carried out the attack in anger over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad recently republished by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a judicial official said Saturday. Source