ICBC offers facial-recognition technology to Vancouver police’s riot investigation

Since 2009, the Insurance Corporation of B.C. has used facial-recognition technology to catch theft and fraud related to driver licences.

Now, the Crown corporation is offering to let Vancouver police use this technology for a very different purpose—to nab rioters who committed crimes in the wake of the Canucks’ Stanley Cup loss.

“Subject to receipt of a court order, the corporation’s facial-recognition technology will be able to support the identification of suspects,” states a news release issued today (June 17) by Premier Christy Clark’s office.

ICBC’s technology works by analyzing unchanging characteristics of faces, such as the distance between the eyes and the size and location of cheekbones.

The B.C. government also announced today that the Criminal Justice Branch has a team of Crown prosecutors ready to handle the prosecution of crimes related to the June 15 riot.

According to the release, the RCMP and Lower Mainland police forces have agreed to work on these cases with the Vancouver police in an Integrated Coordinated Investigation Team.

The provincial government has also launched a Facebook page called Heroes of British Columbia.

British Columbians are being encouraged to use the page to share “positive stories of volunteers, good Samaritans, emergency services personnel and others coming together”.

The government plans to publicly honour people who “demonstrated bravery and heroism during the chaos after the 2011 Stanley Cup final” in the weeks ahead.

Potential “heroes” can be nominated by sending an email to heroes@gov.bc.ca.

You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.

Comments (17) Add New Comment
brodie31k
Just to be clear. They are not only using the ICBC "technology", they are matching with drivers licence photos. Very scary precedent.

On a similar vein, if anyone has wondered why you can't wear glasses, smile, etc in password photos this is the reason. Glasses and smiles can throw off the facial recognition software.


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Peter 9745948
@brodie31k
Corrective lenses are permitted. You might be thinking of sunglasses?
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Mr Law
Go & Get Them. Make Them Pay. Lots of Love From Boston.
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stealthc
I don't recall my drivers license photo being a mug shot for a police database? They gunna make me get finger printed next in order to drive?

This is a violation of our privacy rights, this system is a tyranny gone totally out of control, our pm is a traitor and is treasonous. This government must be stopped, before it micromanages us all to death with their facial recognition software. Maybe they'll use it to ticket jwalkers (actually they probably will one day, just to milk us for extra money).
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I'm all for privacy
but these douche bags fucked up our city and committed crimes. get 'em. If you didn't break the law then you are fine. get over it, because if we don't bring these pricks to justice this time, then they will just do it again.
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parksvilleal
The passport people made me take my glasses off ....said it was because of glare???
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Cody Salter
@stealthc

You sir are retarded. These are Criminals, they DO NOT DESERVE PRIVACY!!!
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Ted
Not sure about the glasses but the no smiling in passports has been going on since long before this technology came about.
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John Stames
@Stealthc, sounds like someone is paranoid about the facial recognition technology, doesn't take a genius to put two and two together. That's what happens when you riot. Next time, you shouldn't take hockey games so seriously. Moreover, driving is NOT a right. It's a previlige. That's why they can take away your driver's license.

Regards,
-John
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northman9871
The problem is that ICBC has handed over it's entire database including millions of innocent people to be analyzed by the face recognition software. The point isn't about the criminals it is about intruding on the rights of the millions who were not rioting. This action actually violates every privacy law in Canada and will endanger the successful prosecution of the offenders. I agree that criminals do not deserve privacy but innocent citizens do. This initiative violates the rights of innocent citizens who did not consent to have their faces analyzed. In any event, there are enough photos and enough people coming forward to identify the rioters without resort to these totalitarian measures.
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Skywatcher
This seems like it's turning into a military-type operation. Maybe the whole point of the exercise IS to scan the entire database with the facial recognition software for the police. I have a hunch our security and communications networks are gradually being amalgamated into a North American system, with the signing of the border security agreement by our PM. What is in that agreement anyway?
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kreativekaur
creepy*
kreative kaur
- Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Einstein
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Second Nation
"...I have a hunch..." and "...this system is a tyranny gone totally out of control..."

Folks, might want to loosen up those tin-foil hats a bit. I think you're cutting off the circulation to your brains.
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Former High Ranking Government Person
I agree that the rioters do not deserve privacy but the millions of innocent people who did not attend the riots DO. ICBC and the police must get the appropriate search warrants and make the proper FOI requests otherwise this whole exercise will turn into a wholescale violation of the civil rights of the entire population (it is in essence a police line up of the entire database of driver's license photos). No one consented and ICBC could be sued big time if they give the cops free reign to comb through this database of me and you. They must get a court order to do this. The Premier should bone up on her law. We let the rioters unfortunately damage our reputation. We must not let them destroy our civil rights as citizens in a democratic society.
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Mostly right
Well said FHRGP. I can't believe that the database was even offered considering our BC FOIPPA is very clear about intended use of databanks and using them for consistant purposes.
If this is allowed, I will be making a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and ICBC.
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very concerned citizen
Does anyone see a breech in confidentiality. Concern major provokes a lot of questions on this. This is a major disaster waiting to happen. Yes a lot of foolish people did a lot of damage. There are a lot of unknown faces in the crowd who were not involved. ICBC should have no authority on a police matter at all. I read how the police will honor those who tried to help control the riot. Which means their picture could be placed through a photo search. Can you imagine going to get insurance and being turned down since your photo may have been scanned for the recognition and you are then considered as suspect to rioting. This is a major breech of confidentiality.
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DO IT!!!
they should use the technology. if you didn't riot then no problem. if you did, don't be stupid next time. you deserve whatever happens.
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