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Hidden Cameras Found Inside Downtown Vancouver Bus Shelters

Vancouver Bus Shelters

Photo: leeannebarr / 604 Now Flickr

Small cameras were found inside digital advertisements at several downtown Vancouver bus shelters recently.

According to CBC News, the cameras were found on the side of digital billboards in bus shelters on Burrard Street, between Alberni Street and Georgia Street.

Vancouver Bus Shelter Advertisements

The bus shelters are the product of U.S.-based Outfront Media, one of the largest companies in the outdoor advertisement/media industry.

Outfront Media told the CBC that the cameras are not operational, and are a “default factory setting” for these mass-produced bus shelter units.

“I suspect it comes as a standard setting because in some countries they would be able to use them. We weren’t aware of the cameras specifically when we ordered the units, but it was a moot point as we would never use them”, the company said in a statement.

In addition, the company has said that it would cover up the cameras found in the bus shelters in Vancouver.

Outfront Media has bus shelter contracts across Canada, in municipalities such as Quebec City, Montreal, Windsor, Mississauga, Edmonton, and Calgary.


Privacy Concerns

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) is looking into the matter, according to Michael McEvoy, the Commissioner.

According to the OIPC, under the B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Personal Information Protection Act, you have rights regarding the following areas:

  • Collection: There are rules that govern who can collect your personal information, how they can collect it, and when and how you must be informed.
  • Use: You have the right to know how and why your personal information is being used, and it must only be used for the same purpose for which it was collected.
  • Disclosure: Your personal information can only be released in very particular circumstances that require lawful authority.
  • Protection: Organizations and public bodies that have collected your personal information must secure it against unauthorized access. You have the right to know who is responsible for protecting your personal information, and who can answer your questions.
  • Correction: You have the right to ensure that your personal information being used by organizations and public bodies is correct. You also have the right to request a correction.

Some might argue that being in a public space voids individuals of some, or all, of these rights. Surveillance is a part of modern life;if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, they say. Regardless of whether or not that’s true, it’s a slippery slope, and it gives rise to surveillance states.

Big Brother is watching you.

For more local British Columbia news, stay tuned to 604 Now News.

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