Numerous media outlets have reported that the Canada Border Services Agency plans to test facial recognition technology, comparing images of people arriving into the country with images of suspects on watchlists, though, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the agency has yet to conduct any trials involving actual travelers.
The border agency’s science and engineering directorate has reportedly been working with several partners, including the University of Quebec, to determine the abilities of facial recognition technology.
Canada’s federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien’s recent annual report stated that his office has given advice on the potential pitfalls to the agency, including the possibility that such systems can generate false positives.
The border agency told the CBC that it will continue working with the privacy commissioner to “ensure that privacy implications are appropriately addressed.”
Canada Border Services is not the first agency in the country to use biometrics or facial recognition technology. The Calgary Police Service has been using facial recognition since November 2014 to help identify suspects and criminals and to help solve cases. Canada’s Passport agency has been using facial recognition for more than a decade. The Toronto Police Service has stated that it has looked into the use of facial recognition to help solve crimes as well, though has not said if it would plan to fully implement such a program.