ICBC wrong to offer police use of photo database

Agency was ready to lend use of its facial recognition system in hunt for rioters

ICBC wrong to offer police use of photo database

B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled ICBC was wrong to offer to let Vancouver Police use its photo database of all B.C. drivers to identify suspected Stanley Cup rioters.

Elizabeth Denham found the public auto insurer should no longer make such offers to police or respond to requests to use its facial recognition software unless required to do so through a subpoena, warrant or court order.

ICBC made the offer last summer to feed images of suspected rioters police were obtaining into the database to help them find matches and identities.

No such help was actually provided, because the commissioner’s office had quickly stepped in and the VPD never sought access via the courts.

“Great care must be taken in evaluating proposed changes in use,” Denham’s report said.

She recommends ICBC do more to inform customers about its system and that senior executives take steps to “foster a culture of privacy” within ICBC.

Denham upheld ICBC’s use of the facial recognition system to root out identity theft and fraud.

ICBC uses the biometric database to compare the image of someone seeking a driver’s licence to that person’s past images in the system as well as those of all other B.C. drivers, flagging any discrepancies.

It routinely detects people who have been banned from driving who are trying to gain a licence under someone else’s name, as well as illegal immigrants trying to dodge deportation.

“We absolutely welcome the findings and the recommendations,” ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said, adding ICBC is taking steps to better notify customers of how their images are being used.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association had worried from the launch of the database that it could be inappropriately used by police to rapidly sift photos or images from surveillance video.

Executive director David Eby said he’s pleased with the ruling, adding it ensures the basic safeguard of court oversight.

“Once a database is created people tend to come up with bright ideas all the time about how to use them,” he said.

Eby said he found ICBC’s lax “off-the-cuff, hey-have-a-look” attitude to control of its photo database troubling and questioned what other agencies might have got voluntary access had the offer to VPD not been made public, triggering the commissioner’s investigation.

Just Posted

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

web
Father’s Day Parade planned for Mission

Classic vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s will drive through Mission, Hatzic on June 20

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Dr. Janet Mort

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus students Ethan Reid, from left, Brenden Higgins, Ty Oviatt, Kaleb Alphonse, Nathan Kendrick and Landon Brink with RCMP officers Const. Nicoll and Const. Stancec. (Photo submitted)
RCMP thank 6 teens for helping prevent forest fire in Williams Lake

The students came across fire in a wooded area and used the water they had to try and extinguish the flames

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Most Read