Insurance corporation offers to help ID rioters
The Insurance Corporation of B.C. is offering Vancouver police the use of its facial recognition software to aid in the investigation into Wednesday night's riot.
The technology measures the specific facial characteristics of anyone holding a driver's licence in the province. It also stores images taken for the B.C. ID card, issued to non-drivers over the age of 12.
"It works by analyzing the facial characteristics that don't change — the size and location of cheekbones, the distance between the eyes," said ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman.
"It's extremely rare for two people to have the same measurements."
He said that could give police a fairly fool-proof database of images they can use to cross-reference pictures taken the night of the riot.
"One of the advantages of increasing personal technology is everyone has a camera on them, on their cell or other mobile device, and I think we've all seen the number of images taken during those unfortunate events of Wednesday night," Grossman said.
"There's potential some of those images could be good enough quality to make some matches in our system, so if the police are trying to identify potential suspects we may be able to give them leads on who they are."
Grossman said police would need to provide a court order if they want access to the technology, according to privacy laws.
'Lynch mob mentality'
Meanwhile, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association is speaking out against the so-called "name and shame" websites and social media groups popping up online.
The sites depict images of the rioters, in an attempt to embarrass those involved in the violence and looting following the Canucks' loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
But there are also messages on Facebook and Twitter calling for revenge, which worries B.C. Civil Liberties Association spokesman David Eby.
"There's been a real mob mentality vendetta kind of approach towards the rioters," Eby said.
"The concern we have is a lynch mob mentality: 'We're going to go out we're going to show the rioters, we'll get our own justice' instead of using the police and justice system to get due process."
Eby said there is also a risk the pictures taken are not a clear representation of what was happening. It could be unclear whether someone was a bystander trying to get away from the violence, which is why he argues it should be left up to the police to investigate the photos.
Meanwhile, another good news story in light of the riots has emerged.
The TD Friends of the Environment Foundation announced Saturday it will contribute $15,000 to the city to replace and rehabilitate trees damaged during the riots.
"We were very concerned about the damage incurred during the riot in Vancouver on Wednesday night," said Mary Desjardins, executive director of the foundation.
"We were inspired by the citizens who attempted to protect their city during the riot. Our contribution is part of the city's clean-up efforts, and will help replace planters and trees that were damaged or set alight."