May 26th, 2024

Border agency eyes smartphone facial recognition system amid privacy concerns

By The Canadian Press on April 24, 2024.

A visitor wearing a face mask walks past a billboard from a firm advertising its AI facial recognition technology at the PT Expo in Beijing, Sunday, June 4, 2023. Travellers in Canada would be able to use facial recognition technology to identify themselves through their smartphones when crossing the border under a planned federal project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein

OTTAWA – Travellers would be able to use facial recognition technology to identify themselves through their smartphones when crossing the border under a planned federal project.

The Canada Border Services Agency says the initiative would allow for a faster and more seamless travel experience.

The federal government recently issued a notice seeking technical solutions from possible vendors, an opportunity worth up to US$25 million.

The system would match a photo from a traveller’s passport with a selfie taken via a mobile device.

A pilot project is still two to four years away, but an Ottawa-based civil liberties coalition is already flagging concerns about privacy and accountability.

The border agency says it ensures the privacy of travellers and their information is protected at all times.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

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