Commissioner Comments on Edmonton Police Service’s Use of Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition Technology

February 28, 2020

Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton has made the following statement:

“Transparency is paramount to gaining the public’s trust when an organization explores the use of new technologies that have privacy implications.

As evidenced by today’s announcement, Edmonton Police Service was previously not forthcoming about its use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology. Only after a data breach affected Clearview AI’s client list did we find out that, in fact, certain Edmonton Police Service employees had used Clearview AI’s product.

In addition to an investigation announced last week into Clearview AI’s compliance with Alberta’s private sector privacy law, my office is investigating whether Edmonton Police Service is complying with Alberta’s public sector privacy law.

This situation serves as a wake-up call to law enforcement in Alberta that building trust is critical to advancing the use of new technologies for data-driven policing. I will be writing to municipal police forces in Alberta about their potential relationships with Clearview AI.”

Alberta’s public sector privacy law is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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