Police in British Columbia want to increase surveillance cameras, and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says this is an infringement of our rights. I think both sides are right. It makes me feel a bit creepy to know that my every move is being watched, the minute I step outside my house. On the other hand, if I'm not doing anything wrong or illegal, why should I care? And then the question becomes -- "define wrong or illegal". And around it goes. However, if it had not been for surveillance cameras, that very clean-cut young medical student who is alleged to have murdered Julissa Brisman, may never have been caught. He still has to stand trial, of course, and be proven guilty, but he is the main suspect, having been captured on film. How many lives have been saved by such quick police work with the help of 21st Century technical assistance.
On the other hand, the police have had the surveillance and video cameras turned on themselves as well, and often they don't like it. If it had not been for the Paul Pritchard's video tape of the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski, that event would have been covered up, and the Braidwood Inquiry would never have taken place. As it turns out, four of the RCMP officers lied about what took place. The RCMP confiscated Paul Pritchard's video with a promise to return it within 48 hours. The next day they told Pritchard they would not be returning the video, and he hired a lawyer to get the video returned. It has now become proof that Robert Dziekanski was tasered four times, and one RCMP officer kneeled on Dziekanski's neck. Coincidentally, tapes from the surveillance cameras in the area were removed shortly afterwards.
Recently three off-duty policeman were charged with beating and robbing a newspaper deliveryman outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver. The whole event was caught on camera.
Women in particular are vulnerable at such places as Skytrain stations, bank machines, bus stops. I don't have a problem with video surveillance cameras in these places. I think if we aren't doing something wrong, our civil liberties are not necessarily being infringed. In my opinion, the yin and the yang of it is that more of the "bad guys" will be caught with their pants down ... so to speak ... because we don't always know who the bad guys are. They can be the police, or that clean-cut medical student.