TORONTO — Technology capable of scanning a person’s face and linking them to a database of thousands of other people has been introduced in Canadian airports and shopping malls, a fact that a leading Canadian privacy expert considers alarming.
Earlier this month, the Vancouver International Airport announced that it would become the first airport in Canada to introduce facial recognition technology for Nexus cardholders who return to Canada from abroad. Facial-recognition kiosks will identify passengers enrolled in the Nexus program, replacing the airport’s existing iris scanners.
Two malls in Calgary came under fire last year after it was revealed that directory kiosks were taking photos of shoppers’ faces. The technology was suspended after the Federal Privacy Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta opened up investigations.
Cavoukian said more consideration needs to be given to just how damaging the technology can be.
She pointed to a recent report from the U.K. that found that facial recognition technology used by police flagged innocent people as suspects four out of five times.