Notifications

Privacy commissioner advises on surveillance cameras

New Brunswick's privacy commissioner is trying to advise residents of their rights and building owners of their responsibilities when it comes to video surveillance.

Guidelines come after discovery of hidden camera in YMCA locker room

New Brunswick's privacy commissioner is trying to advise residents of their rights and building owners of their responsibilities when it comes to video surveillance.

Anne Bertrand, the province's privacy commissioner, released guidelines for video surveillance on Thursday. (CBC)

Anne Bertrand's office has posted guidelines for video surveillance, outlining where cameras can be installed and how the information gathered must be protected.

The privacy commission doesn't have jurisdiction over private institutions. But when Bertrand heard about a case at the Fredericton YMCA this week where a video camera was hidden in the men's locker room, she wanted to wade into the resulting discussion.

"Cameras cannot be a covert operation, cannot be anything secretive about it," said Bertrand.

"It's not intended to spy on people.

"I think that is why the reaction has been vociferous about it.`Oh, there were cameras at the Y and we didn't know about it?'" she said.

"People need to know about it."

The Fredericton YMCA informed the police about the camera in the locker room and the case is under investigation.

Coincidentally, Bertrand's office has posted best-practice guidelines for video surveillance. It includes a step-by-step guide on where cameras can be installed and how the information gathered must be protected.

Bertrand's guidelines state cameras should never be used to monitor areas of privacy, such as washrooms and changing areas.

Bertrand said placing a camera in such a location in order to deter thieves should be done as an "absolutely last resort."

"Really a golden rule — do not use cameras to view into private areas," said Bertrand.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.