CIPPIC releases report on facial recognition and border crossings

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society just released Facial Recognition at a Crossroads: Transformation at our Borders & Beyond, a new report on the use of facial recognition technologies at borders.


Prepared and supervised by Tamir Israel, Staff Lawyer at CIPPIC, this report studies and highlights the main issues around facial recognition technologies. The report documents the challenges inherent in facial recognition technology, its substantial intrusive potential, and the implications of its persistent racial biases. Facial recognition is a highly controversial technology that is transforming border crossings around the world by fuelling an unprecedented level of surveillance and too often racially biased automated processing of travellers.

The report suggests that our current legal framework is simply too outdated and lacking in clear safeguards to mitigate the more problematic elements of facial recognition systems. Among the report's key findings is that facial recognition systems adopted in the border context are frequently repurposed. Adoption of facial recognition at our borders can entail wide-ranging legal consequences. However, as our current legal framework lacks the clear and unequivocal safeguards necessary to address the problematic elements of the rapidly evolving technology, the report recommends a moratorium on its adoption at the border and a re-evaluation of existing systems. The report draws on examples from around the world, while its legal analysis is focused on Canada.


Read the full report here

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