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Privacy Commissioner to look at facial recognition technology in malls

Last Updated Aug 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm EDT

A Reddit user captured this photo of a digital directory at the Chinook Centre in Calgary.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has launched an investigation into the use of facial recognition technology in use at many of the top shopping malls in Canada.

In a statement released Friday, the OPC says a number of questions and concerns have been raised about whether shopping mall operator Cadillac Fairview is using the person information collected without consent.

Question about privacy were first raised earlier this year when a Reddit user posted a screen shot of a digital directory directory at Calgary’s Chinook Centre. The post showed several lines of code which included the words “FaceEncoder” and “FaceAnalyzer”.

Cadillac Fairview has acknowledged that it is using facial recognition technology but only for the purposes of monitoring traffic as well as the age and gender of shoppers. It contends that since they are not capturing or storing images of individuals, no consent is required.

“The investigation will examine whether the organization’s practices are in compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal private sector privacy law,” read the statement.

The OPC is also working in conjunction with the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner which has also opened a separate investigation.

Cadillac Fairview owns 23 shopping centres across Canada including CF Eaton Centre and CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, CF Chinook Centre in Calgary, CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver and CF Polo Park in Winnipeg.