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What Do Canadians Know About Their Video/Visual Privacy?

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The Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI), the Information Policy Research Program (PRP), and the Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto



Project Leader(s)

Joseph Ferenbok, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto


The growth of video surveillance systems and their ongoing augmentation by biometric and smart surveillance algorithms has significant implications for the privacy of all Canadians. The growth of technologies such as facial recognition, expand the potential uses of video surveillance data and make it increasingly important for Canadians to know their personal information rights. The “Who is Watching You” Project has been conducted to determine Canadian’s attitudes towards current video surveillance practices, to find out what they know about new technologies and practices that will soon be available, and to determine the information that citizens need to become more informed about how to protect their privacy rights.

This has been accomplished through two iterative steps. First, through “person on the street” interviews in a major Canadian urban centre, the project produced a snapshot of what Canadians know about video surveillance and their information rights. Second, workshops were conducted to explore the findings in more depth and to determine where public education should be best targeted to produce maximum effect. This research fills an existing knowledge gap, and provides researchers, governments and industry with information to inform future research and policy in the unique Canadian context.

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

English only

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.

Contact Information

Joseph Ferenbok
Faculty of Information, KMDI, University of Toronto
140 St. George Street
Toronto, ON
M5S 3G6

Email: joseph.ferenbok [at]
Tel: (416) 978-3234

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