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Jackboots Continued

From the people who brought you fully-armed wannabe cops to wander the aisles of public transit, now comes the idea of filming everything that goes on in the bus.  According to a staff report quoted in the Georgia Straight:

"The purpose of the video system is to deter ... on-board security incidents, improve the safety of bus operators and passengers, and provide evidence for investigation of incident claims."    A later section of the report notes that it is to deal with "vandalism, absenteeism, assaults-related costs and insurance claims and premiums."

There is opposition, of course.  Andrew Pask, coordinator of the Vancouver Public Space Network, told the   Straight that he's concerned about the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on buses. "People should be able to use public spaces without having to be recorded, without having their movement tracked, their conversations taped, their actions videoed," he said. "People should have that right. When you start infringing on it, you start inching ever closer to a police state." 

What planet does this naive guy live on?  Cameras follow us in taxis, on SkyTrain stations, in every supermarket and corner store, in most parking lots and most building lobbies and elevators.  I don't believe that adding buses to the list substantially reduces the freedoms we have already squandered.

However, according to the figures quoted by the Straight, the plan doesn't make any economic sense.  The annual cost for the system is said to be $470,000 in order to generate savings of just $140,000.  And how exactly will this system deal with "absenteeism", I wonder?  Has the bus drivers' union considered what the cameras may really be for?

July 27, 2007 in Government Intrusion, Transit, Vancouver | Permalink

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