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Statement on FINTRAC’s use of artificial intelligence

As FINTRAC's Director and CEO has stated publicly, the Centre has embarked on a significant modernization initiative to ensure that it remains a world-leading financial intelligence unit and anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing supervisor fully capable of addressing the emerging and evolving threats in the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing landscape.

Central to FINTRAC's vision for modernization, the Centre is focused on advancing organization-wide digital automation, analytics and the use of artificial intelligence (AI). With this, FINTRAC is looking to leap ahead from a technical, process and culture perspective so that it can stay ahead of the bad actors, find new and meaningful ways to collaborate with its partners and continue to deliver value and results in an ever-changing world.

As part of its modernization initiative, FINTRAC is developing its own AI tools. The Centre has not issued any contracts in relation to AI.

Janak Alford, FINTRAC's Chief Technology Officer, developed, on his own personal time, an application called mPersona, which is a 'chat interface' to underlying GPT services. The source code for the application is open, available and free for anyone to use, modify and/or distribute.

Mr. Alford has never attempted to patent, license or sell mPersona as it's publicly available and free for anyone to use. Mr. Alford's personal company, Symaiotics, has no employees and has never solicited nor received any government contracts. The company exists primarily to address potential liability issues in the event that someone misuses the free application.

Mr. Alford fully disclosed all details related to his ownership of Symaiotics to FINTRAC's Chief Human Resources Officer. Mr. Alford's disclosure was thoroughly assessed, in accordance with FINTRAC's Code of Conduct, Values and Ethics. As part of this process, Mr. Alford was provided conditions to ensure that his personal activities, outside of his role as FINTRAC's Chief Technology Officer, remain entirely separate from his duties at FINTRAC.

In his role as FINTRAC's Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Alford has provided presentations to other federal departments and agencies, and within FINTRAC, on how FINTRAC is using generative AI to support its operations. As part of these presentations, Mr. Alford has used mPersona as an example as it is free and available for anyone to use, modify and/or distribute. This is consistent with the Government of Canada's Directive on Service and Digital, which states that open source software is encouraged and, where used, is contributing to the communities whose work is being leveraged.

Canadians expect government departments and agencies to share lessons learned and best practices among themselves to ensure the Government of Canada's activities and operations are as efficient and effective as they can be.

FINTRAC's focus on modernization will allow the Centre to identify, assess and communicate risk in real-time; support and respond to businesses in real-time; receive reporting from businesses in real-time; conduct its analysis in real-time; and to generate valuable financial intelligence for law enforcement and national security agencies in real-time. This will mean proactively identifying and disrupting criminal and terrorist networks much quicker and helping to rescue victims sooner, saving them from prolonged abuse, as well as preventing further victims.

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