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“Shoppers had no reason to expect their image was being collected by an inconspicuous camera, or that it would be used, with facial recognition technology, for analysis,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien. “The lack of meaningful consent was particularly concerning given the sensitivity of biometric data, which is a unique and permanent characteristic of our body and a key to our identity.”
Cadillac Fairview spokesperson Jess Savage said in a statement to the CBC that the AVA technology did not store any images during the pilot program and was not capable of recognizing anyone.
“The five million representations referenced in the [Office of the Privacy Commissioner] report are not faces. These are sequences of numbers the software uses to anonymously categorize the age range and gender of shoppers in the camera’s view,” she said.
“The OPC report concludes there is no evidence that CF was using any technology for the purpose of identifying individuals.”
Cadillac Fairview removed the cameras from its digital directory kiosks in 2018 when the commissioners launched the probe. It has no current plans to reinstall the technology.