Transcript: Algorithmic Policing | Sep 29, 2020

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and striped gray tie.

A caption on screen reads "Algorithmic policing. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says IT CAN SOUND LIKE SCIENCE FICTION, BUT WHAT'S KNOWN AS ALGORITHMIC POLICING IS ALREADY IN USE IN ONTARIO. A CAMERA READS YOUR LICENCE PLATE GOING THROUGH A RED LIGHT, FOR EXAMPLE. BUT THAT MAY CHANGE, AS POLICE FORCES CONSIDER EXPANDING THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY, PERHAPS EVEN TO DO WHAT'S CALLED PREDICTIVE POLICING. A RECENT REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO'S CITIZEN LAB RAISED SOME RED FLAGS ABOUT WHERE IT COULD GO WRONG. WITH US FOR A CLOSER LOOK: IN VANCOUVER, BC: RYAN PROX, AN ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY'S SCHOOL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND OFFICER IN CHARGE OF CRIME ANALYTICS FOR THE VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT...

Ryan is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing glasses, a black suit and a white shirt.

Steve continues AND THE CO-AUTHORS OF THAT REPORT: IN OTTAWA: CYNTHIA KHOO, RESEARCH FELLOW AT THE CITIZEN LAB AND A TECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER...

Cynthia is in her thirties, with long brown hair in a ponytail. She's wearing a black blazer.

Steve continues AND IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO, KATE ROBERTSON, A CRIMINAL LAWYER AT MARKSON LAW AND A RESEARCH FELLOW AT U OF T's CITIZEN LAB...

Kate is in her thirties, with long straight brown hair. She's wearing a green sweater.

Steve continues WELCOME, ALL.

Kate says HAPPY TO BE HERE.

Jeyan says SO THIS IS A... SOUNDS PRETTY ADVANCED, SOUNDS LIKE IT'S, YOU KNOW, OUT OF A MOVIE. CYNTHIA, WHAT IS ALGORITHMIC POLICING.

The caption changes to "Cynthia Khoo. Citizen Lab."
Then, it changes again to "What is it?"

Cynthia says ALGORITHMIC POLICING IS OUR TERM TO ENCOMPASS A WIDE RANGE OF TECHNOLOGIES, WHICH GENERALLY SPEAKING USE MASS DATA PROCESSING TO INFORM POLICE DECISIONS OR ALTERNATIVELY TO AUTO MAKE SURVEILLANCE UNPRECEDENTED TO US BEFORE.

Jeyan says KATE, I'M GOING TO BRING YOU IN HERE. WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ALGORITHMIC POLICING?

The caption changes to "Kate Robertson. Citizen Lab."

Kate says WELL, ALGORITHMIC TECHNOLOGY, WHEN USED IN POLICING, TENDS TO TURN TRADITIONAL METHODS OF POLICING ON THEIR HEAD BY EITHER EXTRAPOLATING CASE-SPECIFIC SURVEILLANCE ACTIVITIES THROUGH A MASSIVE SCALE TO CAPTURE WIDE SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION WHO MAY... OR IN ALL LIKELIHOOD ARE NOT UNDER ANY TYPE OF ACTIVE INVESTIGATION OR SUSPICION OF WRONG-DOING, OR ALTERNATIVELY, ANOTHER TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY CALLED PREDICTIVE POLICING IS TRYING TO, SOMETIMES WITH MIXED SUCCESS OR UNSUCCESS, DRAW PATTERNS FROM HISTORIC POLICE DATA IN ORDER TO PREDICT WHERE OR WHEN OR WHO MAY BE INVOLVED WITH FUTURE CRIME THAT MAY NOT EVER HAPPEN.

Jeyan says NOW, RYAN, YOU'RE A POLICE OFFICER YOURSELF. HOW DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL POLICE METHODS?

The caption changes to "Ryan Prox. Simon Fraser University."

Ryan says THERE'S A BIT OF MISCOMMUNICATION AND A BIT OF SENSATIONALISM THAT COMES TO BEAR WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PREDICTIVE... I DON'T LIKE TO USE THE TERM PREDICTIVE. I LIKE TO USE THE TERM CRIME FORECASTING WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT MAKING SPECIFICALLY GEOSPATIAL [indiscernible]. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT CRIME FORECASTING, WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS POLICE HAVE BEEN DOING WHAT'S CALLED HOT SPOT POLICING FOR 30, 40 YEARS. IT'S BASICALLY, BEFORE THE DAY OF COMPUTERS, YOU USED TO PUT PINS ON A MAP, EVOLVED TO COMPUTERS, WHICH DOES HOT SPOTS WHICH IS COLOUR CODED INTENSITY OF WHERE CRIME IS, AND CRIME FORECASTING IS KIND OF NEXT EVOLUTION OF THAT, WHERE INSTEAD OF USING YESTERDAY'S DATA, WHAT WE LOOK AT, WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY AND WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO DEPLOY OUR POLICE RESOURCES TOMORROW, WE'RE LOOKING AT WHAT'S HAPPENING ALMOST IN A REAL-TIME SCENARIO AND TRY TO ALLOCATE THE RESOURCES MORE EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY. SO THERE'S NO KIND OF MINORITY REPORT COMPONENT TO IT. IT'S JUST A MORE EFFICIENT USE OF POLICE RESOURCES, WHICH AS A CITIZEN I'D LIKE TO SEE THE POLICE BEING DEPLOYED MORE EFFECTIVELY.

Jeyan says KATE, YOU WRITE IN YOUR REPORT THAT THE HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS IMPORTANT IN UNDERSTANDING THIS TYPE OF POLICING. HOW COME?

The caption changes to "Kate Robertson. Markson Law."
Then, it changes again to "The current landscape."

Kate says WELL, ACTUALLY, I VERY MUCH AGREE WITH RYAN THAT SOMETIMES THIS TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY IS MISLABELED, AND IN SOME RESPECTS IT'S NOT A NEW PROPOSITION TO DEPLOY POLICE RESOURCES TO, FOR EXAMPLE, NEIGHBOURHOODS ON A PROACTIVE BASIS IN THE HOPES OF SOMEHOW DETERRING CRIME. BUT WHAT WE'VE CALLED ATTENTION TO IN OUR REPORT IS THAT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVICES IN CANADA HAVE ALSO BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES THAT HAS RESULTED IN THE OVERREPRESENTATION OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS, RACIALIZED COMMUNITIES, AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES AND POLICING DATA. SO WHAT OUR CONCERN IN THE INTRODUCTION OF ALGORITHMS INTO THIS DYNAMIC IS IT CAN PERPETUATE THESE TYPES OF DISCRIMINATORY BIASES UNDER A VENEER THAT CAN HIGHLIGHT WHAT'S GOING ON AND [indiscernible] POLICING IN COMMUNITIES.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Jeyan says I WANT TO PICK UP ON THAT. CYNTHIA, DO YOU HAVE ANY EXAMPLES OF WHAT THOSE SPHERES MAY LOOK LIKE WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ALGORITHMIC POLICING DISCRIMINATING AGAINST MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES?

The caption changes to "Cynthia Khoo, @Cyn_K."

Cynthia says SURE. WE HAVE NO SHORTAGE OF EXAMPLES WHEN IT COMES TO THE SORT OF DISCRIMINATION FROM LOOKING AT OTHER JURISDICTIONS, PARTICULARLY THE UNITED STATES. FOR EXAMPLE, WE KNOW OF PREDICTIVE POLICING PROGRAMS HAPPENING IN CHICAGO, WITH THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT STRATEGIC LIST AND IN THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT WITH OPERATION LASER. BOTH HAVE BEEN SHUT DOWN IN THE PAST ONE OR TWO YEARS, FINDING THEY WEREN'T EFFECTIVE, THEY HAD QUESTIONABLE DATA PRACTICES, THAT THERE WASN'T ENOUGH OVERSIGHT. WHAT WE SAW HAPPENING WITH THESE PROGRAMS WAS THAT POLICE WERE BEING SENT DISPROPORTIONATELY TO BLACK AND LATINX COMMUNITIES, FOR EXAMPLE, TO OTHER MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES. OTHER EXAMPLES INVOLVE RISK ASSESSMENT ALGORITHMS, WHICH PURPORT TO PREDICT WHETHER SOMEONE IS LIKELY OR NOT TO ENGAGE IN FUTURE CRIMES, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS OR NOT. SO PROBABLY THE MOST WELL-KNOWN EXAMPLE IS THE COMPASS ALGORITHM USED IN THE CORRECTIONS CONTEXT IN THE UNITED STATES, WHICH PROPUBLICA FOUND FLAGGED BLACK DEFENDANTS AT TWICE THE RATE AS WHITE DEFENDANTS. I WOULD ECHO WHAT KATE SAYS, WE AGREE WITH RYAN, AND WE TRY TO MOVE TOWARDS THE LANGUAGE OF FORECASTING IN OUR REPORT BECAUSE PREDICTIVE POLICING IN SOME WAYS IS A MARKETING TERM BY THE VENDORS OF THIS SORT OF TECHNOLOGY AND IT DOES OVERSTATE THE TYPE OF CERTAINTY AND KNOWLEDGE THAT THE SOFTWARE CAN ACTUALLY GIVE, SO IT'S TRYING TO FIND THAT BALANCE BETWEEN MOVING TO WHAT WE THINK IS A MORE ACCURATE WAY OF TALKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND ALSO USING THE TERM THAT, UNFORTUNATELY, TO SOME EXTENT, HAS BEEN POPULARIZED SO PEOPLE KNOW WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. AT THE END OF THE DAY IT DOESN'T CHANGE WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, WHICH IS USING ALGORITHMS TO DRAW STATISTICAL GENERALIZED INFERENCES FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING CRIMINAL JUSTICE DECISIONS ABOUT A SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL.

Jeyan says RYAN, CYNTHIA MENTIONED OUR NEIGHBOURS TO THE SOUTH, THE U.S., FOR SOME EXAMPLES OF USING THAT TECHNOLOGY. WE CAN ALSO LOOK AT COUNTRIES LIKE CHINA. HOW DOES CANADA DIFFER FROM THEIR USE OF TECHNOLOGY FROM THOSE COUNTRIES?

The caption changes to "Ryan Prox, @ProxRyan."

Ryan says THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT. MOST OF THE POINTS THAT CYNTHIA BROUGHT UP IN REGARD TO THE AMERICAN CONTEXT I ACTUALLY AGREE WITH THE CONCERNS AND THE ISSUES THAT HAVE CROPPED UP IN THE STATES. BUT WITHIN THE CANADIAN MILIEU, WE'VE VERY MUCH BEEN WATCHING WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING AND WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO AVOID THE PITFALLS THAT THE AMERICANS... OPERATION LASER AND LAPD THAT SPURNED A GRASS ROOTS ORGANIZATION CALLED STOP LAPD COALITION WHICH WAS VERY INSTRUMENTAL IN GETTING THE LASER PROGRAM ABOLISHED. SO WITHIN THE CANADIAN CONTEXT, I DON'T SEE AS MUCH OF A PARALLEL. WE DON'T HAVE THE SAME MILITARIZATION OF THE POLICE IN CANADA. WE HAVE MORE OF A COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACH VERSUS WHAT YOU SEE IN THE UNITED STATES. AS WELL, WE HAVE A DIFFERENT LEGISLATIVE AND OVERSIGHT FRAMEWORK IN CANADA. WE HAVE, FOR EXAMPLE, PRIVACY COMMISSIONERS THROUGHOUT EACH PROVINCE, AND THE PRIVACY COMMISSIONERS TAKE A VERY KEEN EYE TO ANY ACTIVITIES THAT THE POLICE ENGAGE IN WHERE THEY'RE DOING ANY SORT OF DATA COLLECTION OR USING DATA IN AN AGGREGATE LEVEL. AS WELL AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, BACK IN APRIL OF 2019, THEY IMPLEMENTED THE ONLINE DATA PROCESSING DIRECTIVE WHICH ONLY APPLIES TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ENTITIES, BUT IT DOES PUT A FRAMEWORK FOR DOING RISK ASSESSMENT, IF THE ALGORITHM IMPACT ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK WHICH EXAMINES THE VERACITY OF THE ALGORITHM ITSELF, LOOKS FOR INHERENT BIASES, AND REQUIRES THESE VENDORS TO ACTUALLY SUBMIT THEIR ALGORITHMS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TECHNICAL SPECIALISTS FOR REVIEW. SO WE DO HAVE A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT IN CANADA THAT'S MORE [indiscernible] THAN THE STATES.

Jeyan says THIS MAY SOUND LIKE A FOOLISH QUESTION HERE. IT'S USED IN THE STATES, IT'S USED IN COUNTRIES LIKE CANADA, WE'RE STARTING TO USE IT IN... LIKE CHINA, WE'RE STARTING TO USE IT IN CANADA. IS ANY OF THIS LEGAL?

The caption changes to "Kate Robertson, @KateRobertson_."
Then, it changes again to "The legal implications."

Kate says WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT LEGALITY, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A MOVING TARGET. OUR CONSTITUTION BY DESIGN HAS TO KEEP UP AND REMAIN MEANINGFUL DESPITE A CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE. WHAT WE'VE CALLED ATTENTION TO IS THAT SOME OF THE BIG TICKET QUESTIONS LIKE, IS THIS TECHNOLOGY CREATING INTRUSIVE IMPACTS ON PRIVACY IN CANADA? IS IT DISCRIMINATORY? THERE ARE CERTAIN QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN UNANSWERED AND WE DO HAVE A NUMBER OF FINDINGS THAT SUGGEST THAT SOME USES OF THIS TECHNOLOGY IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH OUR CONSTITUTION. BUT WE'VE ALSO CALLED ATTENTION TO THE NEED FOR BRINGING THE OVERSIGHT SYSTEM IN CANADA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, AND FROM A QUESTION OF LEGALITY, SOMETIMES THE VERY ABSENCE OF OVERSIGHT, REGULATORY OVERSIGHT, CAN CREATE AN ILLEGAL SITUATION. AND SO I HAVE TO ACTUALLY DISAGREE WITH RYAN THAT CANADA HAS A MEANINGFUL LEVEL OF CHECK AND BALANCE WHEN IT COMES TO CONTROVERSIAL AND EXPERIMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES IN CANADA. TOO OFTEN WE'RE SEEING THAT POLICE SERVICES VIEW SOME OF THE OVERSIGHT MECHANISMS AS OPTIONAL AND DISCRETIONARY, AND THE PUBLIC LEARNS ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL TECHNOLOGY BEING DEPLOYED LONG AFTER THE FACT WHEN IN FACT THE PUBLIC DID HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW, IT'S A MATTER OF PUBLIC CONCERN, AND THEY MAY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY AND A VALUE-ADD IN PROVIDING INPUT ON WHAT KIND OF REGULATIONS ARE NEEDED TO SUPERVISE VERY CONTROVERSIAL TECHNOLOGIES. AND IF I COULD PUT IT IN CONTRAST, FROM A REAL PERSPECTIVE, WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT BIG DATA, CANADA'S NATIONAL SECURITY INSTITUTIONS ARE ACTUALLY MORE REGULATED THAN POLICE SERVICES IN CANADA, WHICH, QUITE FRANKLY, MAKES NO SENSE.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Jeyan says I WANT TO PICK UP ON THAT WITH RYAN. DO WE KNOW, DO POLICE USE THIS TECHNOLOGY TO ARREST, CHARGE, AND HAVE WE GOTTEN CONVICTIONS OUT OF THIS?

The caption changes to "Ryan Prox. Vancouver Police Department."

Ryan says I WOULD ARGUE THAT WE LOOK AT... THERE'S DIFFERENT SUB SETS WITHIN ALGORITHMIC POLICING. IF YOU LOOK AT IT FROM PREDICTIVE POLICING OR FORECASTING, AS I MENTIONED, IT BASICALLY DEPLOYS THE POLICE IN MORE EFFICIENT USE. IF YOU LOOK AT MORE OF THE RISK AREA, WHICH IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINE LEARNING TECHNOLOGY LIKE FACIAL RECOGNITION, THAT'S SOMETHING WHERE, WITHIN THE CANADIAN CONTEXT, THAT'S VERY... VERY LIMITED APPLICATIONS, AND IT'S CONSIDERED A VERY HIGH-RISK AREA FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT TO GO INTO. AND I DON'T SEE THAT WE'RE USING... WE'RE VERY CIRCUMSPECT ON HOW WE USE THE TECHNOLOGY IN CANADA BECAUSE OF THE INHERENT RISKS ON IT. AND I DO FORESEE WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS DONE, THE TREASURY BOARD SPECIFICALLY WITH THE AUTOMATED DECISION-MAKING DIRECTIVE IN APRIL OF 2019. I DO SEE THAT KIND OF JUST A FRAMEWORK OF MOVING FORWARD TO GIVE GREATER OVERSIGHT AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL, SO PROVINCIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND OTHER PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ENTITIES THEMSELVES WILL HAVE SOME SORT OF GUIDELINES AND BEST PRACTICES IN PLACE. BECAUSE TO BE CANDID, THAT ISN'T IN EXISTENCE. WE HAVE GUIDELINES AND WE DO LOOK TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ADHERE TO THEM, BUT THERE IS NO PROVINCIAL LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK THAT HAS AN ENFORCEMENT PROVISION. SO I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I AGREE WITH MY LEARNED COLLEAGUES, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT SHOULD MOVE FORWARD AND BE IN PLACE, AND KIND OF HAVE CLEARER LINES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR HOW POLICE SHOULD USE MORE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY.

Jeyan says CYNTHIA, IS THERE ANY CONCERN THAT THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL BE USED TO SURVEIL PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST LIVING THEIR LIVES?

Cynthia says ABSOLUTELY. THAT IS ONE OF OUR MAIN SOURCES OF CONCERN, THAT THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL BE USED IN AN OVERBROAD AND OVERREACHING WAY, TO SURVEIL PEOPLE LIVING THEIR LIVES OR ESPECIALLY TO SURVEIL PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES THROUGH SEEKING EQUALITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS, FOR EXAMPLE. WE KNOW WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA SURVEILLANCE, PARTICULARLY, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT THE CANADIAN LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS A TRACK RECORD OF SURVEILLING DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS. FOR EXAMPLE, CINDY BLACKSTOCK, A NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER HAD HER PROFILE SPIED ON BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. WE KNOW THE RCMP WAS USING SOCIAL STEWED IN A PROJECT KNOWN AS PROJECT WIDE AWAKE, TO SURVEIL PEOPLE FOR TWO YEARS BEFORE THE PUBLIC FOUND OUT, WITH THE TYEE BREAKING THAT STORY. THE TORONTO POLICE SERVICES WAS USING FACIAL RECOGNITION FOR OVER A YEAR BEFORE THE PUBLIC NEW DUE TO THE MEDIA BREAKING THAT STORY. SO IT'S THAT CONCERN OF TURNING OUR PUBLIC FORUMS OF EXPRESSION, WHETHER THAT'S VIRTUAL FORUMS, SUCH AS SOCIAL MEDIA, OR PUBLIC PHYSICAL FORUMS, SUCH AS ATTENDING PROTESTS, THAT WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SURVEILLANCE RISK. AND WE KNOW THIS HAPPENS BECAUSE THE VENDORS THEMSELVES, FOR EXAMPLE, MEDIA SONAR, BUSINESS BASED IN LONDON, ONTARIO, WAS BANNED FROM FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM BECAUSE IT WAS PROMOTING... AND THE RCMP HAS SAID THEY WANT TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO ENGAGE IN PROACTIVE MONITORING WHICH AGAIN IS PREDICTIVE OR FORECASTING. IT'S NOT IN THE CONTEXT OF AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION WHERE CRIME HAS ALREADY HAPPENED. SO THERE'S SOMETHING PARTICULARLY PERNICIOUS ABOUT THE IDEA THAT BY VIRTUE OF BEING A MARGINALIZED GROUP IN TRYING TO BE ENGAGED IN ADVOCATING FOR YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS, YOU MIGHT BRING POLICE SCRUTINY ON YOU WHEN OTHERS MIGHT NOT, WHICH OF COURSE IS A VIOLATION TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

Jeyan says I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE VANCOUVER POLICE DEPARTMENT. THEY USE A PROGRAM CALLED GEODASH. RYAN, CAN YOU TELL US WHAT DOES THAT PROGRAM DO?

The caption changes to "Does it work?"

Ryan says IT'S THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF HOT SPOT POLICING. SO IT FORECASTS RESIDENTIAL BREAK AND ENTERS 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE, GIVES TWO-HOUR INTERVALS WHERE IT FORECASTS SIX LOCATIONS THAT HAVE A HIGHER PROBABILITY. AGAIN, I HAVE TO JUST SAY PREDICTIONS BUT A HIGHER PROBABILITY IN ENCOUNTERING AN INCIDENT. WITH THAT WE CAN NOTIFY OUR RESOURCES OR NOTIFY THROUGH BLOCK WATCH NEIGHBOURHOODS THAT ARE AT A HIGHER RISK FACTOR, IDENTIFIED AT A TWO-HOUR INTERVAL, THAT THERE'S A GREATER POTENTIAL FOR THEM TO ENCOUNTER A PROPERTY CRIME INCIDENT, SUCH AS RESIDENTIAL BREAK-AND-ENTERS. HAVING SAID THAT, I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION, WE DON'T USE POLICE-GENERATED DATA. WE'VE GONE TO SIGNIFICANT LENGTHS TO KIND OF HEDGE AGAINST A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT CYNTHIA HAS BROUGHT UP IDENTIFIED IN THE U.S. THAT IS PROBLEMATIC. IF YOU CALL AND REPORT THAT YOUR HOUSE WAS BURGLARIZED, WE USE THAT DATA. IF A POLICE OFFICER IDENTIFIES THROUGH PROACTIVE ENFORCEMENT THAT THERE'S SOME SORT OF NEFARIOUS OR CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, WE EXCLUDE THAT FROM THE ALGORITHM TO AT LEAST HEDGE AGAINST BIAS SEEPING INTO THE SYSTEM. AS WELL WE HAVE EXCLUSIONARY ZONES FOR FORECASTING AROUND SENSITIVE AREAS, FOR EXAMPLE OUR DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE, WE HAVE AN EXCLUSIONARY ZONE BECAUSE IT'S CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MORE MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES IN THE CITY OF VANCOUVER, SO WE DON'T DEPLOY IN THOSE AREAS. WE HAVE SPECIALIZED UNITS THAT DEAL WITH COMMUNITY OUTREACH WITHIN THE DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE. SO THERE'S NO NET BENEFIT TO OVERLAP IN THAT CRIME FORECASTING.

Jeyan says HAS THE PROGRAM LED TO A REDUCTION IN CRIME?

Ryan says SIGNIFICANT. DURING OUR SIX-MONTH PILOT PROJECT, WE SAW REDUCTIONS MONTH OVER MONTH BETWEEN 5 TO 27 PERCENT REDUCTIONS IN PROPERTY CRIME WITH OUR DEPLOYED RESOURCES BEING PROACTIVELY ENGAGED WITH THE FORECASTING LOCATIONS. PUT THAT INTO CONTEXT, TYPICAL TRADITIONAL POLICING PROACTIVE MEASURES, IF WE SEE REDUCTIONS OF 5 percent, WE CONSIDER THAT A HIGH SUCCESS. HAVING REDUCTIONS OF 21 TO 27 PERCENT, WHICH WE SAW IN SOME OF THE SUMMER MONTHS, IS UNHEARD OF. SO WE DID SEE SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS IN REDUCTIONS IN RESIDENTIAL BREAK-AND-ENTERS WHEN THE PROGRAM WAS PILOTED.

Jeyan says CYNTHIA, I WANT TO ASK YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT TRANSPARENCY. IN PUTTING THIS REPORT TOGETHER, HOW OPEN ARE POLICE ABOUT USING THIS TECHNOLOGY WITH THE PUBLIC AND WHAT WAS THAT PROCESS LIKE PUTTING THE REPORT TOGETHER?

Cynthia says WELL, IT REALLY RAN ACROSS THE GAMUT, DEPENDING ON THE PARTICULAR POLICE DEPARTMENT OR FEDERAL OR PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENT THAT WE WERE SPEAKING TO. SOME OF THE DEPARTMENTS LIKE RYAN WITH VIC PD WERE FORTHCOMING AND OTHERS IN ONTARIO WERE I'D SAY TO SAY THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE. WHEN FILING A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST, FOR EXAMPLE, WE RAN INTO MULTIPLE BARRIERS, WHETHER IT WAS EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH PROCESSING FEES, FOR EXAMPLE ONE SERVICE QUOTED US ABOUT 9,000 dollars TO PROCESS THAT FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST, WHICH WE COULD NOT PROCEED WITH. CLAIMED VARIOUS STATUTORY EXEMPTIONS, CONFIDENTIALITY, FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WERE LONG PROCESSING DELAYS. SO I THINK THE RCMP TOLD US THAT IT WOULD BE ABOUT TWO YEARS BEFORE THEY COULD FULFIL OUR REQUEST. SO THAT INFORMATION DID NOT MAKE IT INTO OUR REPORT. THE ALBERTA MINISTRY OF JUSTICE TOLD US THAT THEY FOUND SOME 200 PAGES OF INFORMATION THAT WERE RESPONSIVE TO OUR REQUEST BUT THEY WERE WITHHOLDING THEM BECAUSE, AGAIN, STATUTORY EXEMPTIONS. SO THERE'S ALL THIS INFORMATION OUT THERE TO THE EXTENT WE KNOW OUR REPORT, WHAT IS IN THERE, IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. THAT'S WHY ONE OF OUR FIRST RECOMMENDATIONS IS TO CALL FOR FULL DISCLOSURE AND TRANSPARENCY ON THE PART OF POLICE AGENCIES ACROSS CANADA SO WE ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THE FULL FACTUAL LANDSCAPE IS AND THEN CAN MAKE THOSE CRITICAL LEGAL POLICY AND REGULATORY DECISIONS BASED ON KNOWING THE FACTS.

Jeyan says SO THE REPORT HAS BEEN OUT FOR A MONTH. WHAT'S THE REACTION BEEN SO FAR FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT?

Kate says IN SOME WAYS IT'S VERY EARLY TO SEE WHAT THEIR REACTION HAS BEEN. IN SOME WAYS WE'VE ALREADY KNOWN GOING INTO THIS REPORT IN THE RESEARCH PHASES THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT REPRESENTATIVES, INCLUDING RYAN AND OTHERS, ARE COGNIZANT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS DANGERS THAT ARE AT STAKE. BUT NEVERTHELESS, WE HAVE CALLED ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT WE NEED MORE INFORMATION THAN SORT OF THE BASIC FACT THAT THIS ALGORITHM IS BEING USED OR NOT IN ORDER TO DISCERN ITS HUMAN RIGHTS EFFECT. IT CAN BE SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO DISCERN WHAT'S HAPPENING AND WHY. RYAN MENTIONED A FEW MOMENTS AGO THAT CRIME STATISTICS HAD BEEN DECLINING DURING THE PILOT PROJECT OF THE VANCOUVER ALGORITHM. HOWEVER, GENERALLY NATION-WIDE IN CANADA OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS WE SAW YEAR AFTER YEAR DECLINES OF PROPERTY CRIME RATES GENERALLY. SO IT'S HARD TO KNOW IF THAT'S LARGER FORCES AT WORK OR THE ALGORITHM ITSELF. THE SAME KIND OF CONTEXT IS NEEDED FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACTS. WHERE WE DIFFER WITH SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES IN LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH THESE TECHNOLOGIES IS THAT IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO ACTUALLY MITIGATE THE USE OF AN ALGORITHM IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE HUMAN RIGHTS DANGERS. WE'VE SEEN THAT POTENTIALLY THERE MAY OR MAY NOT BE AN EFFECT, A POSITIVE EFFECT, WITH THE USE OF ALGORITHMS, BUT WE KNOW PROACTIVE POLICING IN COMMUNITIES DOES CAUSE ADVERSE EFFECTS FOR PARTICULARLY YOUTH, RACIALIZED COMMUNITIES, PROACTIVE DETENTIONS AND STOPS IN THE COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN LINKED TO MENTAL HEALTH, ADVERSE EFFECTS, EMPLOYMENT EFFECTS AND OTHER LARGER SOCIAL HARM REGARDING THE DETERIORATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POLICE AND COMMUNITY. SO THERE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS THAT STILL DO NEED TO BE ANSWERED AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO SEE THE REPORT ATTRACT PUBLIC ATTENTION ABOUT THE CALL FOR THE NEED FOR REGULATION AND CLEAR LIMITS.

Jeyan says RYAN, I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO THAT RESPONSE THERE.

Ryan says THERE'S QUITE A BIT THERE. I WOULD ARGUE THAT ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, JUST AS A CRIMINOLOGIST, WE SAW MOST PROPERTY CRIME AND VIOLENT CRIME KIND OF HIT ROCK BOTTOM, AND GENERALLY SPEAKING IN CANADA WE'VE SEEN THAT STARTING TO RAMP BACK UP AGAIN. THERE'S BEEN INCREMENTAL INCREASES ACROSS THE BOARD IN VIOLENT CRIME, OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON, AND PROPERTY CRIME. SO I WOULD ARGUE THAT THAT DOWNWARD 20- TO 30-YEAR TREND WE'VE BEEN SEEING AND FOR THE MOST PART LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS TAKEN A LOT OF CREDIT FOR THAT, IT'S BEEN INCHING UPWARD AGAIN. IN TERMS OF THE TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY, I COULDN'T AGREE WITH THAT MORE. I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES IS THAT A LOT OF THESE THINGS ARE NOT DONE WITH FULL DISCLOSURE TO THE PUBLIC. THAT'S SOMETHING WITH THE VANCOUVER POLICE WE'VE MADE GREAT EFFORT TO TRY AND ADDRESS. FOR EXAMPLE, WE'VE HAD TOWN HALL MEETINGS, GIVEN PRESENTATIONS AT THE B.C. CIVIL LIBERTIES ASSOCIATION ON THE USE OF THE TECHNOLOGY. SO THEY WEREN'T FINDING OUT ABOUT IT WITHIN THE COMMUNITY BY FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS BY THE MEDIA WE ACTUALLY GOT OUT AND PROACTIVELY ENGAGED WITH THE COMMUNITY, ANNOUNCED WHAT WE ARE DOING AND WERE AVAILABLE TO PRESENT ON THAT AND ANSWER QUESTIONS TO TRY AND ALLEVIATE ANY FEARS BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHEN THEY THINK OF THIS TECHNOGOLY, THEY MIGHT THINK OF MINORITY REPORTER - KIND OF SCIENCE FICTION MOVIES AND I ACTUALLY THINK WHAT HAPPENING WITH THE REPORT THAT'S CURRENTLY OUT IS THAT IT ENGAGES A DISCUSSION AROUND A TOPIC THAT USUALLY IS KIND OF SIDELINED AND NOT FOREMOST IN PEOPLE'S MINDS AND THERE'S A LOT OF UNKNOWNS AND DISINFORMATION AROUND THAT. SO HAVING A DIALOGUE AROUND THIS TOPIC I THINK IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT, I AGREE WITH MY LEARNED COLLEAGUES THAT WE SHOULD HAVE SOME SORT OF REGULATORY FRAMEWORK THAT JUST SETS UP THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT SO EVERYBODY IS OPERATING ON THE SAME PAGE AND THERE'S AN ACCOUNTABILITY METRIC IN PLACE SO THAT THERE'S NO POTENTIAL OR PERCEPTIONS THAT THE POLICE ARE DOING ANYTHING NEFARIOUS WITH THE TECHNOLOGY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Jeyan says AND WITH THAT, I THINK THAT'S WHERE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT FOR TODAY. BUT I REALLY APPRECIATE IT. THANK YOU SO MUCH. THAT IS CYNTHIA KHOO, KATE ROBERTSON, AND RYAN PROX. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TONIGHT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Kate says THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

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