Privacy Priorities - page 9

7
Public
Safety and
Privacy
Priority
How it began
The September 2001 terrorist attacks on the
United States spurred a dramatic increase
in national security measures across North
America, including at the Canada-U.S. border.
With a stunning escalation in technological
capabilities, authorities seek to hold terrorism
and crime at bay by monitoring what people
say and do, detecting suspicious behaviour
and even predicting their intentions.
From the start, our Office realizes that the right
to privacy, though fundamental, is not absolute.
It must be exercised in relation to other
fundamental rights – in this case, the right
to live one’s life secure from threats of harm.
Public safety and privacy are not at odds.
Rather, they must both be integrated
and accommodated so that they
may continue to coexist in a free and
democratic society.
What we observed
Our work in this area revealed how the
capacity of public safety agencies to collect
and store vast amounts of personal data has
increased substantially.
Technological developments have resulted in
a new generation of mobile devices, remote
sensors, high-resolution cameras and analytic
software – all of which have revolutionized
surveillance techniques.
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