SCAN Workshop

Camera Surveillance in Canada: A Research Workshop January 14-16*, 2010, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Sponsored by the 2009-2010 Contributions Program of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), Ottawa

Held in conjunction with the exhibition Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC)

Cameras have been appearing for some years in the streets, shopping malls, airports, train stations, arenas, educational institutions and even convenience stores and taxicabs, yet no one has undertaken a systematic survey of what's happening in the Canadian context. A Report on Camera Surveillance in Canada prepared by SCAN and funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner under the 2008-09 Contributions Program, pulls together existing research and offers some of the history of camera surveillance in Canada, the driving forces behind the trends, the deployment of cameras in specific sites and some of the issues, such as the effectiveness of systems, and privacy and civil liberties questions, raised by this relatively new development.

The report identifies the need for further research in many key areas. The aim of the workshop is to build upon this report 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 will explore developments and policy implications of camera surveillance in the Canadian context, and will cover the following topics:

  • case studies on the use of camera surveillance in any context
  • international, technological and corporate themes
  • historical and urban planning perspectives
  • public perceptions
  • legal and policy considerations
  • privacy and security issues associated with camera surveillance systems, including police, private security and small business
  • camera surveillance at mega events
  • camera surveillance, race and gender
  • an examination of the ways ordinary people use cameras for surveillance purposes in their homes, offices or in public or semi-public spaces (e.g. parking lots, walkways, courtyards, alleys
  • popular resistance to or rejection of video surveillance
  • ethics of video surveillance

This workshop is open to those researching camera surveillance in Canada and abroad, as well as privacy stakeholders, industry representatives, law enforcement, government departments, policy-makers, media and public interest groups. The program will coincide with the opening of a surveillance-themed art exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. *There will be additional events on Sunday 17 January for which you may wish to stay in town. We are delighted to announce that Clive Norris (Sheffield University, UK) will give an opening keynote on Thursday evening, 14 January, 2010.

A final report with policy recommendations at several levels will be generated from the proceedings, and will be publicly available online by May 2010. Authors should bear in mind that all papers will be considered for inclusion in an edited book. The papers should be original and not previously published. We welcome comments or questions on this or any other matter at an early stage.

*New Book*: Aaron Doyle, Randy Lippert and David Lyon (eds) (December 2011) Eyes Everywhere: The Global Growth of Camera Surveillance, Routledge. See:

About SCAN:
SCAN is a group of Canadian Researchers led by David Lyon under the aegis of The Surveillance Project and with links to The New Transparency Project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC).

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