We have all seen examples where video has been used in reviewing an event or incident, shedding light and exposing the world to the raw details of what happened.
While the media has primarily focused on the use of personal video recordings to further their cause of selling the news by shocking viewers with graphic images, the use of video surveillance at your complex should be viewed with the objective to primarily deter unlawful behaviour, and secondly, to assist in the investigation of criminal activity.
Video cameras and surveillance must conform to various Federal and Provincial Act’s, but must also be reasonable in where they are located and what they are taping.
For example, it may be reasonable for a property to have video surveillance located at the entrance and possibly along the perimeter to a property, as a way in which to provide an enhanced level of security and safety for the residents, acting as a deterrent against criminal activity. What may not be appropriate is video surveillance inadvertently capturing something that would otherwise be considered reasonable.
In a recent example, the video camera that was positioned at the entrance to a condominium parking area, was capturing two ground floor units of this same condo. Residents who noticed this invasion, quickly reported this to the security company, who in turn raised this concern to the management company and the board. Adjustments were made to the camera so that these units were excluded from the sight line of these cameras.
This example illustrates why every organization should wok to balance the public benefits of video surveillance against unwarranted intrusion into one’s personal life.
By establishing a set of guidelines, your organization is better equipped to not only determine whether the video surveillance system is lawful and justifiable but will instil protective measures in protecting the privacy of individuals, and addressing legislative requirements.
Additionally, signage should be prominently displayed at the perimeter of the video surveillance areas and/or at the entrance to your property. This is the law.
If you feel that your concerns are not being heard, you should first reach out to the corporation’s privacy officer. Should you feel your concerns remain unresolved, you have the right to lodge a formal complaint with the Information and Privacy Commissioner (www.ipc.on.ca).