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IRIS R&D uses the Town of Orangeville in marketing irisGO cameras to help detect protests, civil unrest

It was recently discovered that the Town of Orangeville is being used in marketing materials by the company behind the cameras equipped with artificial-intelligence that were installed in Orangeville’s Rotary Park and Community Garden. More specifically, Orangeville is being used to promote the use of technologies that are designed to ‘help combat covid-19 crowd clusters of students‘ and for ‘early detection of possible civil unrest/protestingon the website of IRIS R&D Inc. Simultaneously, the Guardian reports that nearly 1,000 instances of police brutality have been recorded in US anti-racism protests during the past five months. When these two pieces of information are paired together, many Orangeville residents may be wondering if helping the development of crowd control technology is the kind of progress their town should be working towards.

Source: IRIS R&D Group Website captioned “IRIS Team with Police Services Partners” – Obtained August 4, 2020

Dufferin News previously reported that IRIS R&D was working with a police services organization on a facial recognition technology named ‘Facematch’. This reporting was based partially on a photo on the IRIS R&D website, captioned “IRIS Team with Police Services Partners”, that had a presentation in the background titled “Conceptual Models for the User Interface of FaceMatch V2”. IRIS R&D has since stated that this was “outdated information”, explaining that Facematch is owned not by IRIS R&D, but another entity that was created by the company’s co-founders. IRIS R&D declined to comment further on the relationship between the company and Facematch, only asserting that they did not have any plans to integrate facial recognition technology into any of its products. IRIS would not comment on whether there is a hardware limitation preventing the installation of facial recognition software onto irisGO cameras. The above photo is for reference purposes as it has been removed from the IRIS R&D website. National research organization MITACS still lists IRIS Research and Development Inc. as the industry partner in a project to reduce racial bias in facial recognition technology Facematch. Sheridan College, TechPlace, and the company’s F6S page all allude to an explicit connection between Facematch and IRIS.

IRIS R&D is Applying SmartCity Tech into COVID-19 Healthcare – Source: Arc + Crown

In addition to being used for the purposes of infrastructure maintenance and crowd control, according to Arc + Crown Media, IRIS’s technologies have been applied to allow for remote cardiorespiratory monitoring in hospitals. This allows for contactless and passive measurements of heart rates, breathing rates, and skin temperature.

Shortly after local journalism outlets publicized the installation of the irisGO cameras, Orangeville’s Mayor Sandy Brown shared an unlisted video from the IRIS Group YouTube channel. Unlisted videos are typically only accessible if the owner of the channel, in this case IRIS R&D, shares the link. The video was of CTV News performing positive coverage of the irisGO pilot project, which is available to all through the CTV website. Mayor Brown classified this as ‘good, accurate information’. CTV News is owned by BCE Company (Bell), a major proponent and beneficiary of smart city technology implementations. Orangeville’s Mayor Brown hosts “Talk 519” on Rogers TV, the parent company of which is listed as a supporter of IRIS R&D.

IRIS Research & Development Inc. stated that MFIPPA requires that local government institutions protect the privacy of an individual’s personal information with rules regarding the collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposal of personal information. IRIS also explained that there are “hefty penalties” to municipalities who do not take this seriously. Orangeville is the first municipality to use irisGO to ensure COVID-19 safe-distancing is followed. This pilot allows Orangeville to temporarily use irisGO as an automated people counter. When an area is over-capacity the municipality is provided with a notification on their phone or email of overcrowding. No faces or private information is ever collected or stored. Objects identified as people are indicated as red boxes that are blurred out and unrecognizable.

More reporting on IRIS R&D, from August 4th, 2020, is shown in the video below and can be found here.

November 2nd, 2020 – Correction of the title of the show ‘Talk 519’, which Dufferin News wrongly titled ‘Dufferin 519’. Dufferin News regrets the error.


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