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BMO apologizes for handcuffing of Indigenous 12-year-old, denies racism a factor – Global News



A representative for the Bank of Montreal (BMO) is speaking publicly for the first time since an 12-year-old Indigenous girl and her grandfather were handcuffed while trying to open an account at the institution.

The incident, which touched off allegations of racial profiling, took place on Dec. 20, and saw Bella Bella man Maxwell Johnson, 56, and his granddaughter handcuffed by Vancouver police, after bank staff were “unable to validate” their government-issued ID.

LISTEN: CKNW’s Lynda Steele speaks with BMO executive Erminia Johannson

Erminia Johannson, group head of North American personal banking and U.S. business banking, spoke with Global News and CKNW on Thursday, after the bank announced a new Indigenous Advisory Council.

“We made a mistake here. Let’s be very clear. I want to make sure that is understood,” said Johannson.

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We are sad. We are broken ourselves in the sense of saying this should not have happened on our shift.”

Watchdog orders probe of handcuffing of Indigenous grandfather, 12-year-old at Vancouver bank

But Johannson rejected the allegation that racism was in any way involved in the call to police reporting an alleged fraud.

“Our validation process identified a serious issue in the actual identification. This is where we should have stopped. I will keep repeating it and say our mistake was picking up the phone and calling the police,” she said.

“We set off a spark — I’ll use that language — that had unintended consequences that were extreme in this case. And we are heartfelt, sad, disappointed, embarrassed and apologetic on this situation.”

Attempt to open bank account ends in handcuffs for B.C. girl and grandfather

Attempt to open bank account ends in handcuffs for B.C. girl and grandfather

Johannson added BMO had conversations with “hundreds of Indigenous leaders, customers, employees” and conducted a review of what took place, and determined the incident “cannot be characterized” as racist.

Johnson told Global News that he provided Indian Status Cards, his own BMO bank card and a birth certificate, but that the teller told him “one or two numbers didn’t add up,” prior to the police being called.

Vancouver police have said they received a 911 call about a fraud in progress, identifying a South Asian man and 16-year-old girl as suspects.

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‘I felt sick’: Vancouver mayor says handcuffing of Indigenous 12-year-old to be reviewed by police board

Johannson did not answer directly when asked if there would be any repercussions for the employee or employees who phoned police, setting off the “spark.”

“Right now that employee is not in that branch as we speak,” she said.

“We’re all accountable for this. We’re taking action and we’re going to get this right.”

BMO demonstrators demand justice for B.C. Indigenous man and girl

BMO demonstrators demand justice for B.C. Indigenous man and girl

Johannson said the bank has apologized to Johnson, but added BMO will have to “meet, talk, and do more than an apology.”

She also pointed to the bank’s new Indigenous Advisory Council, which includes eight Indigenous leaders from across Canada, as a commitment to review and improve BMO’s policies and work towards reconciliation.

Johnson, a member of the Heiltsuk Nation, declined an interview with Global News to comment on Johannson’s remarks. Instead he referred to his lawyer, who also declined comment.

In a statement, the Heiltsuk Nation said the appointment of the new council is “marred” by BMO’s continued denial that the incident involved racial profiling.

“Denying racism will not move us forward. This moves us backwards,” the nation said, adding it has yet to hear from BMO or the Indigenous Advisory Council.

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“While today’s announcement would normally be a good first step, it’s hard to put weight on this advisory council because it has been assembled so quickly – it feels very much like a reactive gesture or public relations effort.”

Protesters call for action from BMO after Indigenous man, 12-year-old handcuffed in Vancouver

The Heiltsuk Nation added Johnson would be commenting after the weekend.

Chief Patrick Michell of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band, the sole B.C. member of the new council, said he believes the body can have a positive effect.

“People are disappointed and angry about this and I don’t blame them. The Bank of Montreal has accepted responsibility for this and they’ve come up with a strategy moving forward,” he said.

“I’m looking at this incident, what happened — that’s yesterday. I’m more focused on making sure it doesn’t happen again tomorrow.”

Investigation ordered into handcuffing of grandfather and granddaughter

Investigation ordered into handcuffing of grandfather and granddaughter

Michell said he wasn’t sure when the council would start its work, but that the first priority would be looking at the bank’s policies and practices.

He also said there were no plans as of yet to speak with Johnson or his granddaughter, but that he was open to the idea.

Johnson has previously indicated that he may file a human rights complaint over the incident.

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British Columbia’s Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner has also ordered an investigation into the Vancouver police’s handling of the incident.

—With files from Srushti Gangdev

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'It starts with regret': TMX says it needs to regain trust after outage – BNNBloomberg.ca



The interim head of TMX Group Ltd. said the company needs to start rebuilding investors’ faith in its trading platforms.

“It starts with regret,” said John McKenzie, interim TMX chief executive officer, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Friday. McKenzie spoke a day after a technical outage took the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture and Alpha out of commission for over two hours

“We’re actually quite sorry that we made that challenging for our clients to execute yesterday because that’s our number one objective. We start today with rebuilding trust and credibility, and we’ll do that in the way we operate the market every single day. But that starts right now.”

The TSX Alpha was halted at 1:51 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the TSX and Venture exchanges were halted three minutes later. The outage continued throughout the rest of the trading day.

“The simplest way to describe it is; if you think about the activity in the marketplace that we saw yesterday leading to almost-unprecedented levels of order entry coming into our system,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the TMX system saw approximately 190 million buy, sell, and cancel orders on Thursday, compared to an average daily total of 90 million.

“That led to some challenges in the system that we are still working through, in terms of diagnosing what they mean for the long-term, but (we) went straight to the fix last night so we could make sure we were steady, reliable and up to open the market this morning, and you could have confidence in what we’re doing today.”

The S&P/TSX composite index opened sharply lower, down 452.20 points, or 2.70 percent, at 16,265.31 at 9:35 a.m. Friday morning.     

McKenzie is the acting CEO of the TMX Group, having taken over the mantle from Lou Eccleston in January. He said that while the decision about whether “interim” is removed from his title rests with TMX’s board of directors, he remains focused on the here and now.

“For me right now, the focus is on execution,” McKenzie said. “It’s not focused on the next role, it’s a focus on executing the strategy and making sure we’re delivering for clients through the interim period.”

Do you give TMX Group benefit of the doubt after Thursday’s outage?

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Two Calgary officers tested Clearview AI facial-recognition software – Calgary Herald



Keith Raderschadt from NEC Corporation of America gives a detailed explanation and demonstration of the new facial recognition software being implemented by the Calgary Police Service at their CPS Headquarters, Westwinds Campus Media Centre in Calgary, Alta. on Sunday November 2, 2014. Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

Darren Makowichuk / Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/ Q

The Calgary Police Service has confirmed two of its officers tested controversial facial-recognition software made by Clearview AI.

While the police service doesn’t use Clearview AI in any capacity, it said two of its members had tested the technology to see if it was worthwhile for potential investigative use.

“Neither officer used the software in any active investigations and both ceased use following the testing,” said a police representative. “Both have been told to delete any active user accounts.”

Calgary police said one of the officers currently works with the service and the other is seconded to another agency. 

Last month, it was revealed some Canadian law enforcement agencies were using Clearview AI software. The program uses billions of open-sourced images from popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which can then be used by authorities to identify perpetrators and victims of crime.

On Wednesday, Clearview AI revealed its client list had been hacked. It came to light that more than 2,200 law enforcement agencies, companies and individuals are using the software, including Toronto Police Service and divisions of the RCMP.

Both the Calgary Police Service and the Edmonton Police Service had denied use of the software earlier this month, but both have since come forward with reports that several of their officers had tested the Clearview AI software.


Staff Sgt. Gordon MacDonald, of the Calgary police criminal identification section, said the service wouldn’t be interested in software that uses open-source images due to ethical concerns.

“As an organization, we wouldn’t be interested in it no matter the benefits it purports to bring,” said MacDonald.

“It’s just so fundamentally and ethically unsafe to start using that as a means to obtain some form of identification. It’s far better to go through our own photographs that we’ve obtained and can verify who these people are.”

Bonita Croft, chair of the Calgary police commission, said the Calgary Police Service has clear policies that guide the use of information technology and monitors to ensure compliance with those policies and privacy laws.

“We understand that CPS is evaluating the situation to determine whether the privacy commissioner needs to be notified,” said Croft. “The guidance of the privacy commissioner has been instrumental in how the CPS uses tools like body-worn cameras and facial recognition technology.”

In Edmonton, Clearview AI facial-recognition programs were used without approval at least twice by that city’s police service, which triggered an investigation by Alberta’s privacy commissioner, Jill Clayton.

She said in a statement that the situation serves as a “wake-up call to law enforcement in Alberta that building trust is critical to advancing the use of new technologies for data-driven policing.”

Three officers used the technology in Edmonton, according to Supt. Warren Driechel. All members have been directed not to use Clearview AI software moving forward.

Calgary police were the first Canadian police force to use facial recognition technology. Since 2014, the service has used biometric software created by the NEC Corp. of America.

Using the technology, police compare photos and videos, such as CCTV images of persons of interest, with their mug shot database of more than 350,000 images taken under the Identification of Criminals Act.

With files from Postmedia Edmonton


Twitter: @alanna_smithh

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Apple Disables Clearview AI's Developer Account After Violating Enterprise Certificate Rules – MacRumors



Apple has disabled the developer account of New York City-based facial recognition startup Clearview AI and provided the company with 14 days to respond for violating the rules of its enterprise program, according to BuzzFeed News.

As part of the program, Apple issues enterprise certificates to large organizations to deploy select apps to their employees for internal use only, but the report claims that Clearview AI was distributing its facial recognition app to more than 2,200 public and private entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, Macy’s, Walmart, and the NBA. This scheme allowed customers to download the app outside of the App Store by installing the certificate on their device.

Clearview AI’s website says that it “searches the open web” for “publicly available images,” helping law enforcement agencies to “identify perpetrators and victims of crimes” and to “exonerate the innocent.”

Earlier this week, Clearview AI revealed that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of clients, according to The Daily Beast. The New York Times profiled the controversial company last month, claiming it has “a database of more than three billion images” scraped from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Apple took similar action against Facebook and Google last year after each company was found to be using enterprise certificates to distribute consumer-facing apps, but the certificates were later restored, presumably after Facebook and Google agreed to use them strictly for internal-use apps only as required.

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