Commissioner to Examine Calgary Police Service’s Use of New Technologies

November 5, 2014

Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton has initiated an investigation of the Calgary Police Service’s (CPS) use of body-worn cameras and facial recognition software.

Commissioner Clayton is investigating whether the use of these new technologies by the CPS is in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the FOIP Act). The overall objectives of the investigation are to:

  • Develop an understanding of how and why the CPS will use these technologies;
  • Examine the management of personal information in the application of these technologies;
  • Review the security arrangements that the CPS has taken to protect personal information against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure and destruction; and
  • Make recommendations, if required, to ensure that the CPS is in accordance with the provisions of the FOIP Act.

“Police agencies have broad authority under the FOIP Act to collect, use and disclose personal information for law enforcement purposes. But I have questions regarding how CPS is implementing these technologies, and specifically what steps have been taken to ensure privacy and security risks have been identified and addressed” said Clayton.

In a letter dated October 2, 2014 regarding the use of body-worn cameras, the Commissioner urged the CPS to complete a privacy impact assessment (PIA) and an access impact assessment (AIA), and to submit those assessments to the OIPC for review and comment before rolling-out the new technology. Although not mandatory under the FOIP Act, submission of a PIA or AIA is a highly recommended practice for public bodies subject to the FOIP Act. To date, the Commissioner has not received any information from CPS about either initiative.

Results of the investigation report and potential recommendations will be made public.