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Montreal should restrict police use of facial recognition technology: councillor

Last Updated Sep 18, 2020 at 3:54 pm EDT

MONTREAL — An opposition councillor in Montreal says he plans to introduce a motion next week that would restrict the use of facial recognition and other surveillance technologies by city police.

Marvin Rotrand says police have “stonewalled” efforts by the city’s elected officials to find out how surveillance technologies he calls invasive are used.

Rotrand wants police to disclose how they’re using these technologies and require them to obtain permission from city council before buying or using them.

Rotrand’s motion is based on one adopted by New York City and, he hopes Montreal will take the lead in addressing the use of facial recognition technology by police.

The motion is scheduled for debate at  a city council meeting Monday, and it has the support of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Black Coalition of Quebec, which says it worries that facial recognition technology is less accurate when identifying Black people and could further systemic racism.

It remains unclear whether Montreal’s governing party, Projet Montreal, will support the motion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press