Letter To Canada's Privacy Commissioner

Christopher Rath


From: Christopher Rath < >
Sent: 17 February, 2002 09:38
To: <info@privcom.gc.ca>
re: Watching You: Privacy Rights and Video Surveillance

I object to your call to the public, asking us to campaign against the proliferation of cameras. While I am not a fan of posting cameras everywhere, I am also a realist and believe that public efforts would be better directed lobbying for legislation to allow the public to “watch the watchers.”

One of society’s greatest problems is that those charged with making and keeping the law are not properly monitored. This general problem applies to current camera deployments too: those using the cameras do so behind closed doors.

Your essay (posted to http://www.privcom.gc.ca/speech//02_05_a_020213_e.asp) misses the mark in some key areas:

Placing cameras in private places is a problem in its own right, and so the law prohibits wire-tapping and related actions. Installing cameras in public places is not in and of itself bad; it only becomes offensive when those watching watch in secret.

The public should be encouraged to push for wider monitoring of police agencies, and greater PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY for law makers and law keepers.

I strongly encourage you to read David Brin’s book, The Transparent Society. David Brin’s more current thoughts on the subject are also very interesting: http://www.privacyfoundation.org/privacywatch/report.asp?id=79&action=0


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Telephone: 613-824-4584
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