OUR VIEW: Licence probe a positive step

We say: Fair to ask how much surveillance we endure

Automatic licence plate readers are either another step closer to a Big Brother surveillance society or a needed piece of technology police can use to nab car thieves and bad drivers.

Either way, it is a good decision by B.C. Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham to try to shed light on how licence plate readers work, what data is collected and how it is used.

Police use a high-tech, high-speed camera which can read thousands of plates per hour and match them against those from stolen and uninsured vehicles, and help identify people without valid licences or those who are prohibited from driving – collectively known as “hits.”

Municipal police insist they don’t amass and store gigabytes of licence plate image data. That much is true – it’s all passed on to the RCMP, which administers and oversees the program. All the data is stored on RCMP servers, hits and non-hits alike. RCMP bosses indicate the program could be expanded to help police conducting serious crimes investigations.

Critics say the program has veered far outside its original mandate to efficiently find bad drivers, and is headed into mass population surveillance, or surveilling known activists.

This suggestion seems like conspiracy theory, but it is a fair question to ask how much surveillance people should be subjected to, what data is being collected and kept and how it’s being stored.

Hopefully the B.C. privacy commissioner can offer suggestions to balance the tension between privacy rights and law enforcement. But that investigation likely won’t probe the most troubling aspect – the collection and storage by the RCMP of the locations and movements of innocent people going about their daily lives.

The federal privacy watchdog needs to investigate what is done with this data. Police should have their tools, but civil rights shouldn’t be thrown under the bus.

– Black Press

Just Posted

‘Priceless’ hat stolen from Indigenous art store in Campbell River during break-in

Ernie Smith, co-owner of Awatin Aboriginal Art, looking for help in recovering stolen hat

BC Hydro increasing flow down Elk Falls to assist steelhead migration and spawning

Water flows within Elk Falls Canyon are increasing today to assist steelhead… Continue reading

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

InspireHealth workshop in Campbell River supports those with cancer

The free event takes place at Berwick by the Sea on Feb. 2

Habitat for Humanity North Island wants to keep momentum going

Organization asks City of Campbell River for more land to build homes for young families

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read