Vancouver Wants Surveillance to Be Temporary

Canada hopes not to follow in the footsteps of the UK, where thousands of government-controlled video cameras constantly watch over citizens, but, according to research, fail to deter crime. A network of cameras in place for this month’s Olympics is intended to be only temporary.

In a Canadian Press article, Steve Mertl says more than a thousand new closed-circuit cameras will monitor areas in Vancouver and Whistler where crowds will gather for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Cameras have already caught someone trying to breach the dockside perimeter of a cruise ship, but police say the person had no evil intent and “just had too much to drink.”

Jim Burrows, a spokesman for the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commission, expressed concern that the cameras would remain in use after the Olympics. But the networks’ operators have promised to remove the cameras after the games.

Police approve of the network of cameras as an effective way to identify breaches to their security perimeter. “The alternative, of course, is having way more police officers,” said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer, head of the Integrated Security Unit overseeing the Games. “For me it’s just smart use of technology.”

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