February 13, 2018 5:31 pm
Updated: February 14, 2018 11:20 am

Ontario’s privacy commissioner warns Hamilton about changing CCTV bylaw

Ontario's Privacy Commissioner warns Hamilton City Council about amending CCTV bylaw.

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Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner has issued a warning to Hamilton’s mayor and police chief.

Brian Beamish voiced his concerns about the city amending its current CCTV bylaw in a letter addressed to Fred Eisenberger and Eric Girt.

Hamilton City Council’s General Issues Committee passed a motion on Feb. 7 asking city staff to work with police to review the current CCTV by-law and assess the feasibility of amending it to allow residents and businesses to point their security cameras at the street in order to aid in police investigations.

READ MORE: City will consider changes to CCTV bylaw to assist with public safety

The current bylaw only lets people point cameras at their own property.

LISTEN: Brian Beamish joins The Bill Kelly Show on 900 CHML

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Beamish said any attempt by the city to permit or encourage private video surveillance to aid police would undermine privacy rights under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

READ MORE: Hamilton public works committee approves red light camera expansion

“While in some cases CCTV surveillance may enhance public safety and the security of assets, it also poses risks to the privacy of individuals whose personal information may be collected, used and disclosed,” Beamish stated in the letter.

“The risk to privacy is particularly acute because video surveillance may, and often does, capture the personal information of law-abiding individuals going about their everyday activities.”

Beamish is urging the city to refrain from amending the bylaw.

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