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

  • Philippine forces fight to retake city besieged by ISIS linked terrorists [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago, authorities said Monday, as the army launched airstrikes and went house-to-house to crush areas of resistance. Source
  • Woman plans to trek 15,000 km for Canada's 150th [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - Melanie Vogel may already feel like a Canadian, but she still wants to walk 15,000 kilometers across the landscape on a personal mission for the nation’s 150th anniversary. Vogel, who permanently moved to Canada in 2008 from Dresden, Germany, is gearing up for the monstrous cross-Canada journey on May 31, departing from St. Source
  • Artist depicts world leaders as desperate migrants

    World News CTV News
    A Syrian artist is highlighting the plight of his people with a series of striking paintings that cast some of the world’s most powerful leaders as powerless refugees. The paintings depict such figures as U.S. Source
  • Quebecers head to polls for by-election in Montreal riding of Gouin

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebecers are voting in a provincial byelection Monday in the Montreal riding of Gouin, where a former student activist running for the left-wing Quebec solidaire party is heavily favoured to win. Ex-student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is up against 13 candidates including the Liberals' Jonathan Marleau, a former president of the party's youth wing. Source
  • Defence minister says Canada will extend Indian Ocean commitment to 2021

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada will extend its commitment to maritime security in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean with ships and personnel. He says Operation Artemis will be extended until the end of April 2021. Source
  • Attorney General to propose safe zones around Ontario abortion clinics

    Canada News CBC News
    Ontario Attorney General and Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi plans to propose a bill that would create safe zones around abortion clinics. Naqvi made the announcement Monday morning alongside Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa city councillor Catherine McKenney, saying policies like this are more important than ever in a polarized society. Source
  • JFK's life, legacy to be celebrated on his centennial

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- The life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy, who died at 46, will be celebrated on the day he would have turned 100. The United States Postal Service plans to commemorate Kennedy's centennial Monday with a dedication of a new JFK postage stamp in Brookline, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb where the late president was born on May 29, 1917. Source
  • British intelligence re-examines suicide bomber's file in light of Manchester attack

    World News CBC News
    Britain's intelligence agency, MI5, has begun an internal review of how it handled intelligence on Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who was known to the authorities but not under active investigation, a source told Reuters on Monday. Source
  • Paris 'Afro-feminist' festival that bars white people draws racism accusations

    World News Toronto Sun
    Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has strongly criticized a black feminist festival in Paris that bans non-black people in large parts of the event, saying she might call for the prosecution of its organizers on grounds of discrimination. Source
  • Alleged serial semen lobber Manuel Banuelos-Alcala arrested in Portland following string of incidents

    World News Toronto Sun
    An accused serial semen lobber has been charged with third-degree sex abuse in Portland. Manuel Banuelos-Alcala was arrested last week after cops spotted him inside a parked car outside a Safeway on the city’s south side. The 47-year-old is accused of targeting the same woman in two separate incidents at the supermarket – once last November and again in April. Source