Letter to the Editor – What Does Privacy Mean in 2018? 

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This year, a new business owner to Millbrook saw the potential of our village and purchased a number of downtown business properties on King Street.  Investment in our community will create new opportunities and help to to draw visitors to our beautiful downtown.  Millbrook’s historic buildings are in need of upgrades and repair.  This year will see tremendous change in our community with the development of the Millbrook Highlands, Community Centre, and changes to our downtown.  Moody’s Grill has been a great addition this year. The opening of the new Millbrook Gallery is a taste of what is to come.

This is not an anti-change diatribe.  My specific concern is the recent installation of surveillance  cameras on King Street.   Business owners are well within their rights to use them to protect their businesses and inside their stores.  Home Hardware, Foodland, and the Pharmacy have used them for years to monitor their entrances and activities in-store.   What is different about these new cameras is they are positioned to record pedestrian and street traffic along King Street and County Road 10.  Three cameras on the corner of the old Daisy Mart building point directly into the intersection and record all vehicle traffic in and out of the village.  This goes directly against the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s [quoted] guidelines for private surveillance:

  • Cameras that are turned on for limited periods in the day are preferable to “always on” surveillance.
  • Cameras should be positioned to reduce capturing images of individuals who are not being targeted. For example, a store security camera should not be recording passersby outside the store.
  • Cameras should not be aimed at areas where people have a heightened expectation of privacy.
  • If a camera is monitored, the recording function should be turned on only when unlawful activity is suspected or observed.

There are no signs posted in town that people are being videotaped.   These are not police or township cameras, but are owned and operated by a private individual.  When you choose to use the internet, loyalty programs, credit and debit cards, there is an understanding that data on you is being collected and monitored.   When you are in a public space you do not have the expectation that you are being tracked and your activities recorded.  Part of the joy of living in Millbrook is that we are a safe and welcoming community.  These cameras are not in keeping with the respect we have maintained for each other.  We would ask that the existing privacy guidelines be followed and these cameras be removed or directed toward the premises.

Geoff Taylor and Sally Potts

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