Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lesson: never surrender your right to self-regulate...

Ontario casinos and slots at racetracks are getting ready to introduce a facial recognition system for people who have identified themselves as gambling addicts, hoping to help them stay out of trouble.

In a project that has received the blessing of the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation will install facial biometric video cameras at the entrance of all 27 of its slots rooms and casinos in 2011.

Starting next spring with the slots at its Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, the OLG cameras will link to a system that alerts staff when someone registered with the service walks through the doors.

The system makes use of an emerging technology called biometric encryption that scans a person's face. When it picks out someone who has registered with the OLG service, it alerts staff and "unlocks" information provided by the registrant.

"The security team would be alerted and would talk to the person and remind them about the requirements and counsel them to leave," said OLG spokesman Rui Brum. If the person refused to leave, security staff would then issue a trespass notice, a move the person would have agreed to in advance.

While video cameras at the entrance will scan all customers, OLG said there is no danger of misuse of that information.

"OLG will not keep [video] records of anyone not self-excluded," said Brum. "They are captured and released immediately. If there is no match, they're released right away..."