Algorithmic Policing and the Canadian Charter

Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2020


The Centre for Law, Technology and Society and the AI + Society Initiative present,
in partnership with the University Research Chair in Technology and Society and Citizen Lab:


Algorithmic Policing and the Canadian Charter


Kate Robertson, Cynthia Khoo and Yolanda Song


Wednesday, October 7, 2020
at 12:00 ET


Watch The Video Now



Is Algorithmic Policing Fundamentally Incompatible with the Charter? Join for a conversation featuring the authors of To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing, the latest research report from the Citizen Lab and International Human Rights Program at University of Toronto.

Algorithmic policing refers to algorithm-driven or artificial intelligence-driven technologies used by law enforcement, including "predictive policing" software and algorithmic surveillance tools. These technologies automatically collect, process, and analyze massive data sets on a large scale for the purposes of informing policing and other criminal justice decisions, including drawing inferences to “predict” future criminal activity before it occurs. Canadian police services across the country are already using, developing, procuring, or considering these technologies, including person-focused and location-focused predictive policing programs, facial recognition, social media surveillance, and social network analysis.

Algorithmic policing raises many concerning constitutional and civil liberties implications under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights law. Potential human rights violations may arise from issues such as invasive forms of surveillance of personal data and mass data, algorithmic and systemic bias, discriminatory impacts, lack of transparency, and due process concerns. In some ways, the use of algorithmic policing technology is fundamentally incompatible with constitutional and human rights protections, particularly concerning rights relating to liberty, equality, and privacy.


About the panelists

Kate Robertson is a criminal defence lawyer at Markson Law in Toronto and a Citizen Lab Research Fellow. Her criminal defence practice includes both trial and appellate work, focusing on a range of criminal law cases, including white-collar crime, sexual offences, and computer-based investigations and crime. She previously acted as a provincial Crown prosecutor in Ontario and as a Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada. She holds a J.D from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. 

Cynthia Khoo is a Research Fellow at the Citizen Lab and a technology and human rights lawyer. She holds an LL.M. (Concentration in Law and Technology) from the University of Ottawa and interned as a research student and junior counsel at the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Her work spans across key areas of digital rights law and policy, including privacy, surveillance, intermediary liability, freedom of expression, equality, and technology-facilitated abuse. 

Yolanda Song is a civil litigation lawyer at Stevenson Whelton LLP in Toronto. Her practice includes government litigation and general administrative and constitutional law. Yolanda worked as the William Graham Research Fellow at the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, and she continues to work as a pro bono research associate for the IHRP. She holds a J.D. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law.


This event will be in English only.
This event will be recorded.

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