Facial recognition software becoming more and more common

Montreal City Councillor Marvin Rotrand wants to ban the use of facial recognition technology over concerns about privacy issues.

Digital analyst Elias Makos explained that the technology needs a database to reference to identify faces, and questions what the images will be used for once those databases are full of citizens' faces.

"You need to look at where it is being used, he said.

FaceApp is a popular mobile application developed by the Russian company Wireless Lab and uses artificial intelligence to generate faces transformed by age, gender or in other ways. That app, Makos explained, now has a database of images, as does the government agencies who require photos for identification cards.

Makos wants to know how the images will be used.

"If they're going to be transparent and tell us where they get the photos from and how they're going to use them, I'm more open to the idea of it," said Makos.

Makos feels citizens need to be asking the Montreal Police, for example, what they would use the technology for.

"If they've got the funds for using AI and using facial recognition technology, we deserve to know who they're using it," said Makos.

Makos said facial recognition software is already used in airports across the globe, as well as casinos.

San Francisco, a stone's throw from Silicon Valley, banned the technology.

Trust, is the key when it comes to implementing the technology for Makos.

 "Does the Montreal police force deserve our trust on this issue? That's the big question," he said.