A University of Toronto professor is offering $100 to anyone who can show him a business-operated surveillance camera that complies with Canada’s privacy laws, but it’s harder to earn that $100 than you might think, Metro Toronto reports.
Professor Andrew Clement, coordinator of the Information Policy Research Program and the University of Toronto organized the program to call more attention to the privacy laws, which can differ between provinces and between the public and private sector. According to the Metro Toronto article, Canada’s privacy commission has summed up the requirements businesses have when recording people’s images in a public area – including a sign informing people that they are being recorded.
Clement also says that the signs should say what the purpose of the surveillance is and who to contact about it.
He has offered the $100 reward to his students for educational purposes for two years, but now he is opening up the competition to the entire country. Participants can submit photos and descriptions of cameras to surveillancerights.ca and through an Android app, the article says.
The website states that the project has yet to find a single private sector video surveillance installation that is compliant with Canadian law.
In some cases, it is difficult to tell who is responsible for a camera, which is itself a problem, Clement says: “We have a right to know who’s collecting our information, that’s fundamental to our privacy legislation,” he says in the article. “If you don’t see a sign, it’s clearly not complaint with privacy laws around informed consent.” This law, however, does not apply to privately owned cameras, such as in home security systems.
According to Metro, Clement says that video surveillance is also an issue for people who don’t want their intimate moments recorded, and marginalized people, when under surveillance, will likely be treated with suspicion. He also mentions that analytics such as facial recognition will develop even more privacy concerns.