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Vancouver Riot: Privacy Czar Looks Into Use Of Facial Recognition Tech

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VANCOUVER RIOT
B.C.'s privacy commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said she is looking into authorities' use of facial recognition technology to identify rioters. | AP

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner is investigating the use of facial recognition technology and provincial driver's licences to identify people involved in the Stanley Cup riot.

The province's Crown auto insurer, the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, offered its facial recognition program to assist police in identifying those involved in the riot in downtown Vancouver the night the Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the final game of the series.

The photo of every driver in B.C. is stored in ICBC's database, and the software will allow police to check that database against photos of suspects.

Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says the Crown insurance company has said it will support the police investigation by confirming if there is a match but would not disclose personal information until police obtained a subpoena, warrant or court order.

Denham says she will look into whether that is the case and whether the use of ICBC data complies with provincial privacy rules.

Thousands of photos of rioters were uploaded on social networking sites and sent to police in the days after the riot by members of the public, and police say they expect to lay hundreds of charges in relation to the looting and destruction that took place.

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Filed by Daniel Tencer