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

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      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

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at




      Jun 17, 2011 at 3:45pm

      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.

      Peter 9745948

      Jun 17, 2011 at 8:31pm

      Corrective lenses are permitted. You might be thinking of sunglasses?

      Mr Law

      Jun 17, 2011 at 8:32pm

      Go & Get Them. Make Them Pay. Lots of Love From Boston.


      Jun 17, 2011 at 11:25pm

      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).

      I'm all for privacy

      Jun 18, 2011 at 3:26am

      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.


      Jun 18, 2011 at 12:22pm

      The passport people made me take my glasses off ....said it was because of glare???

      Cody Salter

      Jun 18, 2011 at 5:13pm


      You sir are retarded. These are Criminals, they DO NOT DESERVE PRIVACY!!!


      Jun 18, 2011 at 5:21pm

      Not sure about the glasses but the no smiling in passports has been going on since long before this technology came about.

      John Stames

      Jun 18, 2011 at 6:05pm

      @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.



      Jun 18, 2011 at 10:32pm

      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.