“Victoria police chief Jamie Graham has stated: “It’s that old adage, if you haven’t done anything wrong and there’s no issues, what’s to be worried about?” and “Trust Us On Use Of Data From Surveillance”
When it comes to a new massive surveillance system being considered by the RCMP that would retain B.C. drivers’ license plate numbers as a possible tracking tool.
According to the timescolonist.com
In the next few months, the Mounties could expand their automated licence plate recognition system to retain the plates of drivers who have done nothing wrong – information known as “non-hit” data.
Chief Jamie Graham said he spoke at the Reboot Privacy and Security Conference in February in support of keeping the data in case it was needed in a criminal investigation.
“I said that I’d like to retain it [the non-hit data], so what?” Graham said in an interview on Wednesday.
Michael Mulligan, a lawyer in Victoria is now blowing the whistle on this (and another) RCMP program.
” The objectionable element of the ALPR devices, as recently elucidated by the B.C. information and privacy commissioner, is that they have been configured to capture and store data on every vehicle that passes by in combination with GPS and timing information.
While the RCMP claims the information is deleted shortly after they receive it from other police forces, they intend to keep it longer to be able to determine where vehicles were spotted in the past. Used in this fashion, the ALPR devices are an affront to personal privacy. They also violate existing privacy legislation, according to the privacy commissioner.
Following the commissioner’s report, Saanich police stopped using the devices. Victoria’s police chief has, however, refused to comply. While Mayor Dean Fortin suggested that the Victoria police department should stop using the device until the privacy concerns are addressed, the police board recently decided to hold an in-camera meeting and, in secret, voted to allow the Victoria police department to carry on collecting, storing and forwarding the information to the RCMP.
Our firm recently made a request pursuant to provincial freedom of information legislation that revealed a similarly disturbing practice with respect to the collection, storage and use of personal information obtained through the Bar Watch program in Victoria.
The purpose of the Bar Watch program is to prevent people associated with gang activity, drug trafficking or other problematic behaviour from entering bars. It involves identification being obtained and scanned electronically by bar employees as people enter licensed establishments.
Again, if the Bar Watch program was operated so as to deny entry to problematic patrons, there would be little cause for privacy concerns. No information would need to be collected and stored. The identification scanning devices could simply alert bar staff when identification was associated with someone who should be denied entry.
The internal police communications we obtained paint a different picture of how the Bar Watch technology is being used and what is being done with the information. The Victoria police discuss the importance of having the identification of every patron who enters a participating establishment scanned, regardless of whether the people entering are known not to be problematic by bar staff.
The Victoria police officer in charge of the program reminds fellow officers about how useful it can be to search the database of information they have collected through the program to determine where and when people were at some time in the past.
The police are collecting and storing information concerning every individual who enters a bar or whose car is passed by a police car. Storing this information to permit the retrospective tracking of people is a serious privacy concern.”
Let’s get this straight. Police are collecting information on people who have done nothing illegal and where there is no warrant/probable cause. Then sending that information to the RCMP to be stored. Privacy concern? To say the least!
As a reminder the RCMP are a paramilitary force. As highlighted in the video below.
So in essence we have a military force collecting information on the the people. But don’t worry it’s all to keep us safe! Nothing to worry about at all. In fact “trust them with that information”.