Statement on Surveillance, Security and Privacy at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games

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As researchers from Canada and the wider world, who are conducting research on the global security dynamics of mega-events, we agree:

  • that the Olympic Games should be a celebration of human achievement, friendship and trust between people and nations.

However, having analyzed past and planned Olympics and other mega events, from a variety of historical and international perspectives, we recognize:

  • that recent Games have increasingly taken place in and contributed to a climate of fear, heightened security and surveillance; and
  • that this has often been to the detriment of democracy, transparency and human rights, with serious implications for international, national and local norms and laws.

Therefore, we ask the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada:

  • to moderate the escalation of security measures for Vancouver 2010 and to strive to respect the true spirit of the event;
  • to be as open as possible about the necessary security and surveillance practices and rationales
  • to withdraw temporary bylaws that restrict Charter rights of freedom of speech and assembly;
  • to work constructively with the Provincial and Federal Privacy Commissioners;
  • to respect the rights of all individuals and groups, whether they be local people or visitors, and pay particular attention to the impacts on vulnerable people;
  • to conduct a full, independent public assessment of the security and surveillance measures, once the Games are over, addressing their costs (financial and otherwise), their effectiveness, and lessons to be learned for future mega-events.
  • not to assume a permanent legacy of increased video surveillance and hardened security measures in the Vancouver/Whistler area, and to have full and open public discussion on any such proposed legacy.

We hope that these recommendations will contribute to a unique and positive Olympic legacy by which Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada will be remembered for setting the highest ethical standards.

November 23, 2009

For further information, contact:

Richard Smith, e-mail: smith@sfu.ca, tel: 778-782-5166; or
Colin Bennett, e-mail: cjb@uvic.ca

The “signatories” for this statement include, as of 11am November 27, 2009:

Signatories

David Lyon FRSC
Professor
Sociology
Queen's University

Minas Samatas
Professor
Sociology
University of Crete, Greece

Kevin Haggerty
Associate Professor
Sociology
University of Alberta

Colin Bennett
Professor
Political Science
University of Victoria

Richard Smith
Professor
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University

David Murakami Wood
Associate Professor
Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Surveillance Studies
Surveillance Studies Centre
Department of Sociology
Queen's University, Ontario

Andrew Clement
Professor
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto

Laureen Snider
Professor
Sociology
Queen's University

Gary T. Marx
Professor Emeritus of Sociology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Dr. Stefanie Baasch
Social researcher
Hamburg, Germany

Adam Molnar
Doctoral Student
Political Science
University of Victoria

Kate Milberry
Post-doctoral Fellow
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto

Christopher Parsons
Doctoral Student
Political Science
University of Victoria

Martin French
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Toronto
 
Pablo Ouziel
Doctoral Student
Political Science
University of Victoria

Christopher Shaw
University of British Columbia

Clayton A. Wilson
Graduate Student
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University

Rosamunde van Brakel
Doctoral Student
University of Sheffield, UK

Jason Burke
PhD Student
University of Toronto

Kevin Walsh
Artist and Urban Designer
Dublin Ireland

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