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Camera Surveillance in Canada: A Research Workshop

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Queen’s University




In many countries camera surveillance has become commonplace and ordinary citizens and consumers are increasingly aware that they are under surveillance in everyday life. Indeed, camera surveillance is typically perceived as the archetype of contemporary surveillance technologies and processes. But while there is sometimes fierce debate about their introduction, many others take the cameras for granted or even applaud their deployment. Yet what the presence of surveillance cameras actually achieves is still very much in question. International evidence shows that they have very little effect in deterring crime and especially in “making people safer” but they do serve to place certain groups under greater official scrutiny and to extend the reach of today’s “surveillance societies.”

In January 2010, the Surveillance Camera Awareness Network (SCAN) hosted a two-day workshop to discuss camera surveillance in Canada. The aim of the workshop was to build upon A Report on Camera Surveillance in Canada, (part one released in January 2009 and part two released in December 2009) prepared by SCAN and funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner under the 2008-09 Contributions Program (available at:, by generating fresh, clear, independent findings on camera surveillance in Canada and to have an open and public discussion of issues related to privacy and camera surveillance. The workshop explored topics such as public perceptions of camera surveillance in Canada (Dawson), the development of a Canadian CCTV signage code (Clement and Ferenbok), and what Canada can learn from the experience of video surveillance in other countries (Murakami-Wood).

SCAN expects to publish a book on the workshop, which will contain the text of papers and presentations tabled at the event.

This document is available in the following language(s):

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OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

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