Algorithmic/super power policing in Canada - Subject: Political Science




Algorithms in policing are applied in Canada, yet the pace is slower than in the U.S. Still, there are questions on algorithms usage in screening. Discrimination cases and criminal charges are still in question. The human rights people are also coming on the front to discuss that just because algorithms are helpful does not mean that these must be allowed, as these lose human rights. However, the algorithms functions have proven to be good in data collection as scattered data about an individual or event at different places can be collected instantly. This information can further be used for predictive measures. The purpose of algorithmic policing is to ensure the better safety of Canadians. 



The current reflection critically analyzes the algorithm's system implication on the Canadian landscape. The implication has already been started, and artificial intelligence is applied in surveillance and predictive programs. The paper has concerned journals and reports to make an undetailed analysis of the algorithmic system. The algorithmic approach has benefitted Canadian society as mentioned:

"with the rise of algorithmic governance…people experiencing homelessness can be policed and punished."[1]

Thesis statement: Algorithms systems have become an important policy tool in the Canadian policing system; however, the human rights charter is not explainable as the rights to privacy, equality, and liberty are violated.


One Concept Learned From Topic

Algorithmic policing in Canada will help to monitor crimes more closely by taking a good grip on criminals through tracking Algorithmic data. Social media communication comments and posts, including facial and personal tracking, may help reduce crime and increase city safety measures. The algorithm in policing is shown as a positive side for policing departments; however, there are threats to human rights as humans are no safer concerning privacy, livery, and equality. 


Significance of the Topic

Algorithmic policing is revolutionizing the informational world as people are classified at regional, provisional and federal levels. The information about the people scattered in different private and public sectors is now available in one place. This is more or less like a surveillance technology, which has been legalized by now via legislation. Algorithmic technologies are legalized to collect disparate information as mentioned:

"provide an alternative understanding and implementation of citizenship, belongings, rights, ethics, morality, human agency, security and borders."[2]

 This is not only about data collection; the data can also be used to make trends and analyze the future. The police services are holding some severe deleterious cases, and the instances of races are resolved by surveillance technology. The unfairness of individuals can be predicted, and due to this, professionals have raised concerns that surveillance technologies are working within the ideal limits of the law.

Views from Other Scholars

Different implications of algorithmic policing systems are observed in other parts of Canada. Departments like the Toronto Police Service and Saskatoon Police Service collaborate with ministries to make predictive analytic labs in different regions, including Vancouver. The purpose is to ensure better safety measures by using Algorithmic work and c extension to hub for community safety. The at-risk individuals can also be identified. The Calgary police service also uses such services along with the Ontario Ministry of the attorney general. The pretrial risk assessment tool is also applied, and technology helps decision-making. The paper summarizes the linkage between university machine learning projects and risk assessment instrument development to release the right decisions for young offenders. The majority use surveillance technologies such as license plate readers, and the Calgary police service uses them for social media surveillance. Chat room scraping and facial recognition technology is applied by almost all police station in Ontario[3]

In addition, Algorithmic policy technology has helped in two ways, i.e. making predictions or finding trends and increasing surveillance. The human rights implications draw inferences; these methods can be location-focused or person-focused. The methods predict the individual likelihood of engaging in any illicit activity. Alike the authors mentioned above, the report of Kenyon has also said the types of surveillance technologies, i.e. facial and social media surveillance technology, along with many others. Canadian law enforcement agencies are using it to preoptic the policing methods. The program's names are divided into GeoDASH algorithmic policing systems, and the Toronto police service utilizes it as Environics Analytics. Person-focused algorithm policing is a new technology mentioned in detail in this paper, and there is police predictive analytic land in Saskatchewan police stations. Social media content and telecommunications information are also used in person-focused Algorithmic policing technologies. Though it is debated if civil liberties are violated this way, in reality, the international human rights law completely protects the Canadian charter of rights and freedom. Algorithmic functions may endanger the right to privacy and rights to freedom of expression along with rights to livery and equality; however, Algorithmic technology is still expanding by the time[4]

Analyzing it from human rights expert's point of view, it is not wrong to say that human rights violations must not be justified as explained. This is a fact owing to development in technology. Canadian police stations have applied this technology, and A.I. has accounted for 48 law enrolment agonies across Canada. The correction systems are utilized in deciding bail and parole as well. The case of Nijeer Parks is famous in which consigned lived in jail for 11 days before going on a pretrial monitoring program. However, human rights are at risk due to a lack of transparency. The peer review journal has raised serious questions about the inaccuracy of the Algorithmic system and discriminatory-based questions. Kate knows that Ontario police, due to false facial recognition, arrested a person, and this was an act of racialized. As mentioned in a peer reviews journal:

Can police officers serve as the harbingers of human rights in a world that desperately needs it?[5]

Outstanding Questions

Several questions can be anticipated, such as whether law enforcement agencies are transparent in utilizing algorithmic policy or not and also argue about the working of surveillance technologies made under the jurisdiction of the law. It is essential to note that the algorithmic policing that defines human rights character and what explanations can be given in this instance is also an important factor to consider. Historic police data sets and current Algorithmic policing technologies are under the control of the police; thus, who will monitor the department of police and how federal, regional, or provisional governments will limit the role of the police is also a serious matter of discussion.


Conclusion and Potential Areas for Improvement or Future Research

Public information is not shared regarding Algorithmic matters. The policing technologies used by law enforcement agencies are, however, the other applications of this policy have not been explored yet. It can also be used in other matters of life; however, those matters are not considered yet. Moreover, the statistics related to dark net websites and location-based services have not been discussed yet. The information must be publicized so that the people may know that life has been revolutionized by Algorithmic policing now. No public data is available in this instance[6]



Arrigo, Bruce A., Brian G. Sellers, and Faith Butta. "Introduction: The Ultramodern Age of Criminology, Control Societies and 'Dividual' Justice Policy." The Pre-Crime Society, 2021, 1–14.

CHRC. "Annual Report - Algorithms in policing." (2021).

Humphry, Justine. "Policing Homelessness: Smart Cities and Algorithmic Governance." Homelessness and Mobile Communication, 2022, 151–81.

"Kate Robertson, Cynthia Khoo, Yolanda Song, "To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing in Canada [2020 C4EJ 67]." C4E Journal, October 10, 2020.

Kenyon, Miles. "Algorithmic Policing in Canada Explained". 2020. Algorithmic Policing in Canada Explained - The Citizen Lab

Marina, Peter, and Pedro Marina. "Police, Power, Agency, and Human Rights." Human Rights Policing, 2022, 36–59.

Pekic, Alexander. "Toronto the Good? the Access T.O. Policy - Making Toronto a Sanctuary City," 2021.

Singh, Shawn. "Algorithmic Policing Technologies in Canada". Manitoba law journal. 44,6. 2021.

[1] Humphry, Justine. “Policing Homelessness: Smart Cities and Algorithmic Governance.” Homelessness and Mobile Communication, 2022, 151–81. 1



[2] Pekic, Alexander. “Toronto the Good? the Access T.O. Policy - Making Toronto a Sanctuary City,” 2021. 1.


[3] Kate Robertson, Cynthia Khoo, Yolanda Song, “To Surveil and Predict: A Human Rights Analysis of Algorithmic Policing in Canada [2020 C4EJ 67].” C4E Journal, October 10, 2020.


[4] Kenyon, Miles. “Algorithmic Policing in Canada Explained”. 2020. Algorithmic Policing in Canada Explained - The Citizen Lab. 1

[5] Peter Marina and Pedro Marina, “Police, Power, Agency, and Human Rights,” Human Rights Policing, 2022, pp. 36-59, 47.

[6] Singh, Shawn. “Algorithmic Policing Technologies in Canada”. Manitoba law journal. 44,6. 2021.1.


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