back to article Mounties messed up by using Clearview AI, says Canadian Privacy Commissioner

Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) announced yesterday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) broke the law by using Clearview AI facial-recognition software. An OPC investigation launched in July 2020 concluded in February this year that Clearview AI violated the country’s federal private sector privacy …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "Clearview AI claims Canadian privacy law shouldn’t apply to US-based companies"

    It does not apply to US-based companies. As far as Canada is concerned, Clearview AI is free to leech anything they want.

    It applies to Canadian companies and organizations.


  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Some hope!

    "These recommendations include the RCMP undertaking privacy assessments of third-party data collection practices to determine legality"

    In my many years' experience as a data protection consultant, I've never found an organisation that examines the T&Cs of the third party services they subcontract to in terms of their effect on data subject rights.

    Under EU and UK law at least, it's a statutory requirement. Nevertheless, if any "due" diligence is performed at all (and that's rare), it stops at the contractual terms between the principal and the third party. Unfortunately, because data protection law in these jurisdictions is not policed, everyone gets away with it, and unlike in the reported case, in the UK at least a single complainant is pretty unlikely to gain the attention of the regulator.

  3. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    The RCMP then claimed it was only using Clearview AI to rescue children who were victims of online sexual exploitation

    "Which is why we also need to outlaw encryption -- for everyone except ourselves, of course, because cops never break the laws we are sworn to enforce."

    ...the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) broke the law by using Clearview AI facial-recognition software...

    "Well, if we did somehow inadvertently break a law, we would never lie to Parliament about it, because that would also be against the law."

    The RCMP initially denied using the software, both publicly and to Therrien, who is also an independent officer of Parliament. However, journalists from Toronto Star and BuzzFeed found that the RCMP had purchased the software, forcing it to reconsider that denial.


    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Next step

      Secret dossiers on Toronto Star and BuzzFeed journalists.

  4. Paul 87

    "In response, Clearview AI told The Register that it does not have contracts with, nor provide access to, customers in the European Union."

    This is not the defence you think it is Clearview AI

    GDPR says do not process the data, not "don't then sell it back to European customers"

    Crap like this is why I do not have any pictures of me online, tagged with my identity. Saw it coming 25+ years ago and haven't changed my practices since.

  5. Tempest

    The RCMP, Horses and Honesty

    Non-Canadians should understand that whilst the RCMP, best known for red uniforms and horses, is a national police force functioning much like the FBI, which

    also acts as 'local' or provincial police in several provinces - for a fee. They are generously Federally funded and. as such, have much more money to splurge on 'wet dreams'. They read that the FBI has a news widget and immediately the RCMP feel they need the same widget.

    To get around restrictions, these top level police have, on many occasions, asked their equivalents in other countries to "do them a favour" where Canadian law prohibits of limits activities. This is not new - the Echelon gang have been doing this for years.

    So don't be fooled by those damn horse and red jackets, the RCMP has "bad cops", who lie, cheat and beat up "clients", as badly as many other forces around the world. They run Canada's criminal records computers which has numerous unfounded, inaccurate information which is run on the GIGO (Garbage In, Gospel Out) principle.

    P.S. I am happy that they use images on the InterNet for there are none of myself and technically intelligent friends - we use pictures gleaned from picture libraries such Izito, Zapmeta or Getty. I don't even use Canadian passports or driving licences - which limits their sources.

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