Privacy and Technology

Privacy & Technology at the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS)

The exploration and use of technology are essential for WRPS to meet its obligations to the community regarding public safety, including the prevention and investigation of crimes, as well as to improve overall administration. Technologies are assessed to protect privacy and security while ensuring the public has access to police information as outlined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).   

WRPS is committed to assessing the impacts of new and existing technology, procedures and programs with access and privacy at the forefront, as well as to ensure compliance with the Criminal Code of Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Police Services Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and any other relevant laws or legislation.  As such, information is collected through lawful authority, judicial authorization or upon consent.  

We continue our commitment to providing citizens with responsive policing services that foster a relationship of trust and transparency within our community. 

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Body-Worn Video (BWV)/In-Car Video (ICV)

WRPS use of Body-Worn Video is informed by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario's Guidance for the use of Body-Worn Cameras by Law Enforcement Authorities to provide oversight and accountability for police interactions with the public.

 

Digital Evidence Management System

The WRPS Digital Evidence Management System (DEMs) is a Canadian cloud-based platform that allows police to store, manage, transfer and share digital evidence across all public safety agencies.  This platform is operated by Axon Public Safety Canada, which was procured by the Province of Ontario.  The DEMs provides police services with access to cloud-based technology to allow evidence to be shared securely amongst justice sector partners.

It further provides capacity to capture, store, manage and share large audio and video files, including those recorded and shared through cell phones, 9-1-1 audio, interview room and body-worn cameras, as well as photographs.  It also enables the public to upload evidence directly to the system in relation to any investigation while remaining anonymous.  

The DEMs has established organizational-wide controls to ensure secure storage, transfer and disposal of all digital records.  These controls govern any wrongful access, attempts to defeat security measures, and inappropriate or personal use of this infrastructure.  

 

Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV)

The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) uses a remotely piloted vehicle (RPV), to assist with a variety of law enforcement functions:

  • the collection of digital evidence;
  • to monitor large gatherings for crowd safety;
  • to search for missing persons;
  • to reconstruct collision scenes; and
  • to provide oversight and accountability for police interactions with the public.

 

A RPV is also used to create internal training videos and external communication videos.  Any use of personal information for these purposes requires a signed Photograph/Video Release and Consent form. 

Device Extraction

Device Extraction Technologies are utilized to unlock electronic devices and extract data relevant to law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.  Use of this technology is based on consent, judicial authorization or immediate risk to public safety and is used by authorized police officers only. 

 

Greykey and Cellebrite 

Statistics

 

Image Analytics

Image Analytics Technologies are utilized by authorized police officers to view, process and analyze lawfully obtained photographs, video footage, etc. for specific images that are relevant to law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.  The purpose of using this technology is to expedite the process of locating objects or individuals within the lawfully obtained video.  

 

BriefCam

BriefCam is a new program utilized by WRPS in 2022.  BriefCam software can quickly search volumes of video that would otherwise be impossible to examine manually, providing investigative clues that create intelligence and operational information for officers.  BriefCam does not expand the collection of personal information by investigators.   

BriefCam has a module called "face recognition service"; however, it is important to recognize that it is not the facial recognition that has been the source of public scrutiny.  This "face recognition service" is more akin to "object recognition."  It allows an investigator to select an object, such as a red car, a specific licence plate, a black sweater, or a person deemed to be of interest, in the video being reviewed.  The software will then find all instances of that "object" within the already lawfully obtained video in a couple of minutes rather than watching hours and hours of video footage.  

Select the WRPS Feedback form to submit any questions or comments regarding use of technology. 

If you have questions about making an Access to Information request under the MFIPPA, please contact the Access to Information Unit

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