Toronto police have confirmed that they have been using facial recognition technology, a form of artificial intelligence (AI), for over a year, as reported by The Toronto Star.
They say the tool has led to arrests in numerous crimes including homicides, and that it increases the efficiency of criminal investigations.
However, the technology has generated privacy concerns, and has recently been banned in San Francisco. Federal MPs in Canada have also looked at the ban concerning the potential implementation AI regulations in Canada.
Last week, NDP Member of Parliament (MP) Charlie Angus, told MobileSyrup that “we really need to look at putting limits on facial recognition technology and lay the ground rules before it gets widely implemented.”
Toronto police have said they use the technology to compare pictures captured through public or private cameras with images from its database of mugshots.
They purchased the technology in March 2018 for $451,718 CAD plus annual maintenance and support fees, according to a report obtained by The Toronto Star. The technology has been used to conduct 2,591 searches.
Chief Mark Saunders wrote in the report that police purchased the system to identify suspects efficiently, and to use fewer resources to uncover unsolved crimes.
The funding for the technology came from a provincial policing modernization grant.
The Toronto police board is scheduled to discuss Saunders’ report on May 30th.
Image credit: YouTube (Screenshot)
Source: The Toronto Star