Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario Statement on Toronto Police Service Use of Clearview AI Technology

Feb 14 2020

The indiscriminate scraping of the internet to collect images of people’s faces for law enforcement purposes has significant privacy implications for all Ontarians. We have made it clear in the past that my office should be consulted before this type of technology is used.

We were not aware that the Toronto Police Service was using Clearview AI technology until contacted by them on February 5. We are relieved that its use has been halted.

There are vital privacy issues at stake with the use of any facial recognition technology. My office will be consulting with the Toronto Police Service shortly and re-examining their use of facial recognition technology and the appropriateness of using Clearview AI. We question whether there are any circumstances where it would be acceptable to use Clearview AI.

We continue to strongly encourage organizations to contact us if they are considering using new technologies that could pose a potential privacy risk to citizens. The use of this technology is of great concern.

We’ve learned through recent media reports that other police services may also be using Clearview AI. They should stop this practice immediately and contact my office. I’ve also asked my staff to contact those we’ve become aware of through the media to discuss the legality and privacy implications of their use of this technology.

— Brian Beamish, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario