Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 4:21PM
The $21 million Toronto Transit System is on hold after Privacy International filed a complaint with the city’s privacy commissioner. They believe “that the installation of cameras on the scale proposed by the TTC fundamentally violates privacy law.”
The TTC, which provides 1.4 million rides each weekday, is in the process of installing up to 10,000 security cameras in its buses, streetcars and subway system, adding to its current network of about 1,500 cameras. The system, which was approved by the TTC last spring and is expected to be operational by June, will be capable of snapping photos and recording video – and in some cases, audio – of any of the TTC's daily riders. The federal government kicked in $6.5 million for the project.Like all previous attempts to slow and or block city camera implementations, this effort is probably doomed to failure.
TTC chairman Adam Giambrone defended the system today, saying the information is centrally collected and accessible only to police, and that the cameras are part of a larger security plan that involves such measures as increasing the number of transit constables. "We were the last of the major transit authorities in North America and Europe – who are way ahead – to install a major camera program," he said. "So clearly, the consensus out there is that this is a positive."Given their track record and the inertia behind these urban camera rollouts, privacy advocates might want to try a new tact. Maybe…something like this or this.