PEI

Here are more details on P.E.I.'s use of facial recognition technology

The P.E.I. government says it is working to become more transparent about the ways it is using facial recognition technology.

Technology has been used on the Island since 2007, says minister

Planned amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will be explicit about biometrics, the province says.

The P.E.I. government says it is working to become more transparent about the ways it is using facial recognition technology.

On Tuesday, Atlantic Canada's four provincial privacy commissioners issued a joint media release expressing concern about the use of the technology on driver's licence applications. Photos are being scanned by facial recognition technology to prevent identity theft and to prevent suspended drivers from getting a new licence.

P.E.I. Privacy Commissioner Karen Rose said it was problematic that the government did not let Islanders know the technology was being used.

All four Atlantic provinces are using facial recognition. In 2017 the provinces switched to a central system for issuing driver's licences, but the Department of Transportation said it is not sharing any biometric information with other provinces.

"The facial recognition information is only used by select Highway Safety staff and the image is checked against previous driver's licence and ID photos in our own database," the statement said.

"No other groups/organizations other than Highway Safety have access to this database. We do not share this information. We do not check it against any outside database."

Fraud uncovered

Responding to a question on Twitter, Transportation Minister Steven Myers said the technology has been in use on P.E.I. since 2007.

Myers said there have been some cases of driver's licence fraud uncovered by the technology, but not as many recently as there have been in the past.

The department said it is responding to recommendations from privacy officials that Islanders should be made fully aware of the use of facial recognition technology. That will include amendments to the Highway Traffic Act to make it clear biometrics are used to verify facts in a licence application.

That legislation is planned for this spring.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Kerry Campbell

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