Oct 25, 2007 04:30 AM Paola Loriggio
Ontario's privacy commissioner will investigate whether installing thousands of security cameras in Toronto's transit system would breach riders' privacy.
Privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian's involvement was in response to a complaint filed yesterday by the London-based organization Privacy International, which argues there is no public-interest justification for the $21 million security system approved by the TTC last spring.
The London organization contends the security project violates Canadian privacy laws.
TTC chairman Adam Giambrone, who has not seen the document, said the transit authority is acting in line with privacy regulations.
He said the cameras will not be monitored and that only police can access the footage.
"This kind of system is common in transit communities across Canada," including Montreal and Vancouver, Giambrone said.
The project calls for up to 10,000 cameras to be installed in TTC subway cars, buses and streetcars, on top of the 1,500 or so currently in place.
Many of the new cameras have already been installed but are not yet switched on, Giambrone said.
The project's completion is scheduled for June.
"It would be unusual if only Toronto were segregated when every major city with a transit authority has a surveillance system," Giambrone said.
He said the TTC will co-operate with the probe by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, but will not interrupt the project unless a stop order is issued.
The commissioner's office will take a full look at the complaint, though it's too early to say how this will play out, spokesperson Bob Spence told The Canadian Press.
"We're looking at exactly why they're putting up cameras – are they putting up signs so that people are aware of the cameras?"
Well, there you go... Less than a week after the installation of the surveillance cameras had been announced, challenge number one has already on the book...
In my Main Entry, I am quite sure that someday if the challenge is brought before the courts, the installation of Cameras will be upheld as reasonable since all precautions and assurances to respect privacy of every citizen been carefully considered...but it is always better to have all the challenges cleared, before switching the Cameras on...
TTC announced Installation of Additional 10000 Cameras on all TTCs vehicles, stations and properties...
TTC chairman Adam Giambrone shows off a newly installed security camera at Ossington subway station yesterday. (Alex Urosevic, Sun Media)
Every Rider in Toronto Transit System will be on Camera.
Another anti-crime, anti-terrorism measure will be in place by June. In a world where a threat from terrorists attacks anytime is now everyone subconscious state of mind, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC, the public mass transit system, serving 1.5 million riders daily) is trying to help ease up this concern a lot.
City Councillor and TTC Chair Adam Giambrone is quoted here for his Security Measures..
"There will be cameras everywhere. Everyone who enters the TTC legally or illegally will be photographed. He said the photographs will be accessible only to police to help solve crimes"."
"Workers or police at the TTC's command centre will be able to instantly view live video or hear audio from any of the security cameras installed on subway cars".
"We don't believe this is an invasion of privacy since police will be the only ones with access to the information. We believe the cameras will help solve crimes and act as a deterrent. We want to ensure the safety of the public traveling on the TTC"."
Controllers will also be able to obtain a live audio feed for incidents on other TTC vehicles for emergency issues..
The Chair added:
"The tiny cams (12000 of them) are one of many features of an overall TTC security plan that includes increasing the amount of TTC constables and adding motion detectors on its property".
TTC spokesman Marilyn Bolton said transit officials worked with police to obtain good-quality cameras that can capture images that will stand up in court.
"Our employees have no access to the images," Bolton said. "The information is not available to everybody."
Councillor Peter Milczyn added his two cents:
"There was a need for the cameras to protect the traveling public.
This is something that we need in our society today. They can help with terrorism and day-to-day cases." (Now you said the dreaded word T).
But on the other side of the coin, Alice Barton, of Toronto Public Space Committee, said her group disagrees with the use of the TTC cameras, which she feels violate the privacy of riders.
"We are very opposed to the use of cameras in public spaces . It is very intrusive when police can keep track on the movements of people."
She said her group is concerned that police will have full access of the images without oversight of their use.
But then it was calls from the public for cameras that escalated after a number of robberies and shootings, including a stabbing in one of the subway stations. Police issue photos by TTC on a regular basis for wanted criminals.
Proponents also maintain the cams can be used -- as was done by police in London, England -- to nab terrorists or break up their cells.
For more of the story visit the other Toronto's daily toronto sun.> and for the sunshine of your life just point your mouse you are the sunshine of my life and clik..>
My thoughts: someday some accused arrested and charged as the result of the images and audio taken by the TTC cams will challenge its constitutionality as a violation of privacy. But recent rulings by the courts that give precedence to Public Safety may rule that such limits to privacy rights are reasonable under Section 1 of the Charter which states:
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
So, the question if this measure and other measures being installed and implemented by the TTC are reasonable limits? I believe so, considering the crimes and vandalism on the properties of the Publicly Funded Transit system is on the rise and the threats of Terrorism on a daily basis is of everyone concern, the courts would be taking the safety of the public as their primary consideration and would let the limits stand as constitutional...