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Cameras to highlight safety, privacy

HAMILTON, Ont. -- If you call the Steel City home you'd better get used to the idea of smiling for candid camera.


HAMILTON, Ont. — If you call the Steel City home you’d better get used to the idea of smiling for candid camera.

Gord Thompson, a member of the eight-person closed circuit television (CCTV) steering committee which has not yet held an official meeting, is sure his group will give police the green light.

“I’m confident the committee will recommend them,” he tells local media. Thompson, a downtown jeweller and pawnbroker, is the second member of the committee to admit his mind is already made up.

The CCTV committee, whose members were chosen by police, is to consult the public through open community meetings, phone and police Web site feedback, and a random survey. It will then present its recommendation to police Chief Ken Robertson.

The chief wants to put five high-tech surveillance cameras at strategic downtown intersections but has publicly promised not to install them without public input and approval.

A key issue in the debate is whether cameras in public areas infringe on people’s rights, as George Radwanski, Canada’s privacy commissioner, argues.

“I regard video surveillance of public streets by the police to be the biggest immediate privacy challenge or issue we are facing as a country,” Radwanski says.


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