The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is offering up its massive database of drivers' license photos, accompanied by the biometric measurements of those photos, to the police to help identify those involved in the recent Stanley Cup riot. (See: Insurance corporation offers to help ID rioters - British Columbia - CBC News.)
They are saying they'd need a court order to do so, but nevertheless I think this is a serious issue that hopefully any judge considering such an application will think long and hard about. Yes the riot was appalling and yes there are many, many photos available of people who were involved. I am greatly concerned that information collected for one purpose, namely identifying licensed drivers, will be reused for a completely unrelated purpose without adequate debate about what this means in the big picture.
This would set a precedent in Canada that might permit the use of Foreign Affairs' massive passport photo database and each provincial drivers' license database to (supposedly) finger people in what is essentially a property crime investigation. If police are allowed access in this case, they'll be looking for access in many, many more. The "slippery slope" argument is a pretty compelling one, since once the pandora's box is opened it's very hard to put the lid on it.