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No privacy policy in place for Prince George downtown parking plan

A slide from Aparc's presentation to Prince George city council. Aparc says there would be no link between photographs of licence plates and personal information.

City staff in Prince George have recommended bringing back pay parking to downtown. If that happens, the company behind the return would be Aparc Systems. At a special city council meeting on Wednesday evening, Aparc described their system as the most sophisticated available. But in an interview on Daybreak, tech analyst Jesse Hirsh warned that the licence plate-scanning and storing technology companies like Aparc use could be a slippery slope. He told us

"The collection of any data always has unforeseen consequences, and in the case of licence plate scanning, it's an issue of location tracking. You think about it, everywhere you park is a little bit of information that when collated into a computer, into a database can say be quite revealing in terms of saying a lot about what you do."

That issue was raised by councillor Lynn Hall at Wednesday's meeting when he asked Aparc vice-president Luke Kiefte how long licence plate information would be stored. Kiefte responded "The information is retained for as long as the city rules dictate. It can be retained for as short a time as needed or for as long a time as needed." He added that the data is "very" secure and it available only to the city.

Hall followed-up by asking city manager Beth James what the city's policies are. She informed him that the privacy policy for the program has not been developed since the program has yet to be approved. However, she said that the province already has strong privacy policies in place, as well as other city privacy policies. "So we would leverage off of those and design a program that is consistent with the rights of British Columbians.

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