As part of its $1.2 billion security budget for the G20, the Toronto Police Service erected 77 closed circuit security cameras in the so-called “security zone” as well as throughout downtown. The mainstream media reports that by the beginning of July, half of these had been taken down, with the other half slated to be removed that month. It is unclear, however, if all of them have been removed. According to one report, the remaining cameras were turned off while awaiting their removal. The 18 cameras that were in place prior to the G20 remain operational.
Dr. Andrew Clement, of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto (where I work!) was skeptical that these cameras would come down as promised, fearing they might become a sort of “security legacy” as has happened during other mega-events. While CCTV cameras are promoted as beneficial to society, preventing, deterring and helping solve crime, the empirical evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. Their legacy is rather one of social control and privacy invasion, as many civil libertarians and privacy advocates have pointed out.
Dr. Clement began a Flickr group to document the location of the cameras, and also to provide material evidence should the TPS renege on their word. Anyone interested in taking a boo? See if all the cams have been removed according to plan? Check out the map of their locations, and then start snapping. With the photos uploaded to the Flickr group, we can start the process of elimination, and find what, if any, cameras remain.