BRITISH COLUMBIA

CCTV Cameras In Vancouver: City Loses Track Of Who's Watching Footage

09/03/2012 06:55 EDT | Updated 09/04/2012 03:02 EDT
Alamy

The City of Vancouver is rapidly losing track of who accesses closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage.

That's according to the Georgia Straight, who reported that the city doesn't always log who accesses footage from CCTV cameras or how often.

Parties hoping to access CCTV camera footage must fill out a request form. But according to the Straight, that isn't happening as often as the footage is being obtained. The paper reported that the Vancouver Police Department alone has accessed CCTV footage "30 or 40 times" since the 2010 Olympics but the city only has two accesses on record.

The Straight also reported that a log must be kept showing CCTV proposals and accesses to footage. "No such log exists," according to the paper.

Micheal Vonn of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association told the Straight that "many loud promises" were made about how the city would manage hidden camera footage when it brought in the technology.

"If the gap between the practice and the policy is this large, it, of course, throws our trust in the policy-development process completely out the window," she said.

The City of Vancouver obtained new surveillance technology after the provincial government gave it $400,000 in 2009 for a "redeployable CCTV unit for special events and emergencies," 24 Hours Vancouver reported.

Critics charged at the time that the value of CCTV in halting crime had "yet to be proven."

News 1130 went to the streets of Vancouver to ask people how they felt the city was managing footage from CCTV cameras.

One respondent, Andreas, said that citizens have nothing to worry about if they're not doing anything wrong.

"This is not a police state and I don't really see any signs it's going to be."

Another respondent, originally from London, England, said she was used to being captured on CCTV cameras "100 times a day."

"At the end of the day, it's there for your safety," she said.