Announcement: Commissioners Launch Joint Investigation into Clearview AI Amid Growing Concerns Over Use of Facial Recognition Technology

February 21, 2020

The privacy protection authorities for Canada, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta announced today they will jointly investigate Clearview AI and its use of facial recognition technology.

The investigation will be undertaken by:

The investigation was initiated in the wake of numerous media reports that have raised questions and concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent.

Media reports have stated that Clearview AI is using its technology to collect images and make facial recognition available to law enforcement for the purposes of identifying individuals. The company has also claimed to be providing its services to financial institutions.

The four privacy regulators will examine whether the organization’s practices are in compliance with Canadian privacy legislation.

  • In the case of OPC this would include the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
  • La CAI will investigate compliance with the Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector and the Act to establish a legal framework for information technology in Québec.
  • OIPC BC will investigate compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act.
  • OIPC AB will investigate compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act.

Privacy regulators in every province and territory have also agreed to work together to develop guidance for organizations – including law enforcement – on the use of biometric technology including facial recognition.

As this is an active investigation, no additional details are available at this time.