SCAN provides reliable research resources on surveillance camera use in Canada, from cabs and corner stores to national CCTV networks.
SCAN is committed to empirically-based, theoretically informed, and ethically-sensitive research to advance human knowledge and to contribute to evidence-based policy and practice.
SCAN is a collaborative group of university academics, policy-makers and relevant practitioners that also interacts with surveillance camera scholars globally.
SCAN promotes awareness of surveillance camera issues through accessible publications, a web site and cooperation with media contacts.
Although cameras have been appearing for some years in the streets, shopping malls, airports, train stations, arenas and even convenience stores and taxi-cabs, no one has undertaken a systematic survey of what's happening in the Canadian context. A new report, prepared by the Surveillance Camera Awareness Network (SCAN), 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 is not only evidence-based and accurate, but also attuned to the range of views held about camera surveillance, and to finding appropriate ways of using such cameras, in whatever locations they are found. It attempts to express the key findings as plainly as possible, conscious that these will indicate how some groups are more likely than others to be negatively affected by cameras. It is also a work-in-progress. Further details will be added as research is carried out in different cities and contexts.
In this second report the members of SCAN continue to undertake a survey of camera surveillance in the Canadian context. Drawing on innovative primary research this report begins to fill in the picture of camera surveillance practices in Canada. This report examines a number of important issues, starting with the Canadian legal, technical and public opinion contexts of camera surveillance, and the ways that some Canadian camera operators see their world. Some further concrete cases are then analyzed, starting with the Downtown East Side in Vancouver. Ottawa taxi cab cameras and surveillance in shopping areas are explored, as is the relationship between the Crime Stoppers program and the proliferation of cameras.
Together with the findings of the SCAN report part I, this present report aims to inform both the public and policy-makers, in a reliable but accessible way. The report acknowledges that under certain circumstances camera surveillance may be warranted, but it warns clearly about the risks of seeing cameras as a silver bullet. The report can only claim to be partial in its findings, though we look forward to further opportunities to share the work of the SCAN research group as new findings become available.
SCAN is supported by the Contributions Program of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Ottawa, and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.