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Commissioner Accepts Facial Recognition Software Privacy Impact Assessment

May 14, 2004

Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work has accepted the facial recognition software (FRS) privacy impact assessment (PIA) submitted by Alberta Government Services.

In accepting the PIA, Commissioner Work noted that, “information collected from FRS is to be used only for the purposes of verifying identification, preventing identity theft and fraud, and prohibiting the issuance of multiple operator’s licences and identification cards to an individual.”

The Commissioner attended a presentation of the FRS system and appreciates the efforts demonstrated by Alberta Government Services in balancing privacy considerations with the need to address issues such as identity verification, identity theft and identity fraud.

“The Government of Alberta is taking steps to make driver’s licenses more secure,” said Commissioner Work. “Facial recognition software is another instrument at the disposal of government and we are pleased that it will only be used for enhancing the security of the new driver’s licenses,” added the Commissioner.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act provides the authority for the Information and Privacy Commissioner to comment on freedom of information or protection of privacy implications of proposed legislative schemes or programs of public bodies.

Acceptance of a PIA is not approval; it merely reflects the Commissioner's acceptance that the organization has made reasonable efforts to protect privacy.