Civil liberties group asks Liberals to end use facial fingerprint tech in party votes

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is asking the Liberals to stop using facial recognition technology as part of the party's process to select candidates in the next federal election.

The Liberals are leaning on the technology to verify the identity of those eligible to vote in nomination meetings, having started to roll out its use across Canada in recent days.

Those nomination meetings, normally held in person, have moved online this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CCLA lays out its concerns in a letter to the party today, saying facial fingerprinting carries privacy pitfalls and reliability concerns and that its use by the Liberals sends the message to other election officials that the technology is "ready for prime time."

The party says it gives eligible voters a choice between using the automated verification process similar to those relied on by financial institutions, or do so manually over video with a party official like one would during in-person nomination meetings.

A Liberal spokesman adds the party consulted the guidance by the federal privacy commissioner before opting to go with the technology, and deletes all associated information once a nomination voter is verified.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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