Canadian Government is Tracking People’s Behavior In a ‘Risk’ Database

The database includes detailed information about people’s lives, pulled from public records and conversations between police, social services, health workers and others.

Motherboard’s report Wednesday details the Canadian “Risk-Driven Tracking Database” (RTD) program, where government agencies, social services, health workers and police in Canada use a shared databases to track people and build behavioral profiles on them with little oversight and often without consent.

The system relies on public health agencies and social services to share unprecedented amounts of highly sensitive information about their clients with police. The RTD program includes the disclosure of personal health information that is usually tightly regulated, but agencies can get around these requirements thanks to language in health privacy laws that lets them share any personal information they want if a “probability of harm” exists.

The RTD system compiles a massive amount of highly sensitive information about people, making them known to law enforcement and social services. The database contains information about people believed to be “at risk” of becoming criminals or “at risk” of becoming victims, and these people are evaluated for rapid intervention. The people profiled on the database and given interventions have been as young as 6 years old.



Image adapted from: “End of Contract” by Kandukuru Nagarjun is licensed under CC BY 2.0