Update #1: The company in this story, Clearview AI, has just been hacked and more than 2,200 organizations spanning law enforcement to universities have their information accessed. Clearview has clients such as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice, the FBI, Macy’s, Best Buy. In Canada multiple police agencies have used them such as Ontario Provincial Police, Ottawa Police, RCPM, Durham Police, etc.
Canadian privacy agency has launched an investigation into NY-based Clearview AI firm to see if its facial recognition technology complies with Canadian privacy laws.
Clearview uses millions of images across the internet to screen for potential terrorists and criminals. Many law enforcement agencies in US and Canada , like Durham Regional Police in Ontario, have used or have tested the technology.
Critics in both US and Canada said that just pulling images from internet provides no consent , and can be used misused.
The indiscriminate scraping of the internet to collect images of people’s faces for law enforcement purposes has significant privacy implications for all Ontarians. We have made it clear in the past that my office should be consulted before this type of technology is used.
Ontario privacy commissioner
Privacy regulators in every province in Canada have agreed to work together to develop guidance on usage of bio-metric data when it comes to facial recognition.
Some twitter users expressed their dissatisfaction with this facial recognition data used by the police.
Police chief in Ontario said that even though they have used the technology to on trial basis , they will discontinue the use of it until further guidance.
The Durham Police Chief ordered that the use of such technology (facial recognition) be stopped immediately until the matter is reviewed and further direction is received from the privacy commissioner.
Police spokesperson, Durham Regional Police Service
Canadian regulators said that Facebook’s weak privacy protection was to blame for millions of users’ data being exposed.
Canadian privacy commissionaire said that Facebook broke national and provincial regulations when it came to sharing user data with third parties.
Facebook flat-out refused to agree with the Canadian government’s legal findings and refused audits of its privacy procedures.
Daniel Therrien, The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, told New York Times:
“They told us outright that they do not agree with our legal findings. I find that absolutely untenable that a company can tell a regulator that it does not respect its findings.”
Therrien said that they will be taking Facebook to Canadian federal court but he acknowledges that even if Facebook is found guilty due to Canadian law system , it might only be fined few thousand dollars.
Facebook was not happy with Therrien’s announcement and released the following statement:
“After many months of good-faith cooperation and lengthy negotiations, we are disappointed. There’s no evidence that Canadians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, and we’ve made dramatic improvements to our platform to protect people’s personal information.”
While Canada might impose penalties against Facebook in the future there are most likely be puny when compares to up to $5 billion dollars that might be imposed against them by Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations.
Therrien said he is not happy with a current system and is worried because some 622,000 Canadians may have been affected by personal data exposure. Therrien said that he wants better privacy laws in Canada as well as a way for regulators penalize companies.
Canada never adopted stiff penalties like many other European countries.
Supreme Court of Canada has sided with Competition Bureau and gave a big victory to Toronto house buyers and sellers. Supreme court said that starting now housing sold pricing could be available online.
Before you could get that data (sold housing prices) only from licensed real estate broker. Real estate websites were banned from publishing that data online. That meant that you had to deal with one of roughly 50,000 real estate brokers to get that info via fax, email or in person.
Canada’s Competiton Bureau has been fighting Toronto Real Estate Board for over 5 years before coming up with this big win.
Board chief executive, John DiMichele , at Toronto Real Estate Board said that it
“will be studying the required next steps to ensure such information will be protected in compliance with the tribunal order once that comes into effect.”
Competition Bureau said that everyone should have the right to that info while Toronto Real Estate Board said that would violate their clients privacy.
Toronto home sales data is now free to be published online.
Canada’s largest real estate board has officially lost (for the 3rd time!) its seven-year legal battle to keep basic info (i.e. recent selling prices of any given home) private. https://t.co/SdbL3UeTfT
Facebook had important questions to answer to the public however these senators didn’t do their homework. Most of the congressman are in their 70s and 80s and not used to computer and tech talk. The questions they asked makes you wonder if they even know how to turn on a computer or even know what Facebook does.
So without further ado here are the 5 most weird questions asked, poor Mark (see videos below):
Number 1: South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham (R) asked “Is Twitter the same as what you do?”
Confused much? What does she think Facebook runs a monopoly? “It overlaps with a portion of what we do,” Zuckerberg said.
Number 2: Georgia Representative Buddy Carter (R) asked “Did you know that the Motion Picture Association of America is having problems with piracy and…this is challenging their existence?”
OK let’s blame all privacy issues on Facebook. Zuckerburg response: “Congressman, I believe that has been an issue for a long time.”
Number 3: Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D) “If I’m emailing within WhatsApp…does that inform your advertisers?”
Ahhh hold there a second Mr Schatz – you do realize Whatsapp is a chat, and not an email? Mark without correcting him said: “WhatsApp would not lead to related ads.”
Number 4: Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D) “What if I don’t want to receive [ads for chocolate]?”
Ahh OK OK – maybe not such a bad question. But its cookie targeted ads used by thousands of websites, not just Facebook. Blame Chrome and IE browsers and their cookies! Mark answered that users can switch off information if they don’t want that info used to select ads for them.
Number 5: Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R) “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”
Zuckerburg said “Senator we run ads.”
I think my grandma would probably ask more educated questions than these bunch – enjoy the videos below.