More than two years after the government introduced a bill to ban the use of biometric data in government and business, Canadians are still using their biometric identification cards to buy groceries, rent cars, buy groceries online and apply for jobs.
But Canadians are taking it one step further: they are using them to check in with each other, to buy food, to rent cars and apply online, to access the internet and to vote.
The government has yet to publish a detailed explanation of how this new technology is being used.
The bill passed the House of Commons by voice vote last week, but the Liberals promised to introduce a more extensive debate and report on the new law in the coming months.
Critics are skeptical of the new system.
“There is no transparency or public accountability, and there is a lack of clarity about what this new system is for,” said NDP MP Eve Adams.
“It is a new way to identify people, it is a way to check their identity and it is not a way that we have in Canada.”
The NDP has called for the use to be more transparent, but has so far been unable to get a response from the government.
The government also did not provide any examples of how it has used biometric technology in the past, and said the new bill is not in conflict with Canada’s international human rights obligations.
“The Government of Canada has been clear that it will not engage in any activity that violates international human-rights obligations and this law does not, in fact, contravene those obligations,” the government said in a statement.
“However, we do believe that it is important to give Canadians and Canadians across the country time to evaluate the impact of this new bill.”
While the bill is still under consideration, privacy experts are not buying the government’s argument that the new technology will make Canada a safer place to live.
“Canada is one of the safest countries in the world for its citizens and that is something that Canadians have to be conscious of when it comes to their biometrist, biometric card, etc.,” said Marcia Coyle, a senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Toronto.
“In other words, I would be very surprised if the technology is actually going to be used in ways that are in line with Canadian human rights standards.”
She also noted that many of the uses of biometrically linked identities will be on-demand, not by a government agency.
“If you can’t access the service in a timely manner, then the privacy rights of people are really compromised,” she said.
“But, the question is: will the public have any say about what is happening in their digital lives?”
This is a significant step forward, and I hope that this legislation will become a model for the rest of the world,” she added.
The Canadian Association of Privacy Professionals, a privacy and data protection watchdog, called on the government to provide a clear definition of what it means for people to be tracked using biometrical data.”
If the Government of the day believes it can get away with using biometric information without providing any public notice to the public, then it must stop doing so,” said association president Bruce Macdonald.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said that the bill will create “clear guidance” on the use and protection of biometry and that the government has not seen a need to change any of its current privacy policies.
“They are being tracked for their behaviour, their identity, and the privacy and security of those records is being compromised.” “
The use of a biometric system in the workplace is a very big deal,” said David Leitch, a professor at York University’s School of Law.
“They are being tracked for their behaviour, their identity, and the privacy and security of those records is being compromised.”
“In many respects this is not about data collection at all.
It’s about tracking people and people being tracked, and that’s a huge problem,” he added.