I got a number of calls today from media outlets today about a controversy that has erupted in Montreal. It appears a Second Cup franchisee recently installed a fake surveillance camera in bathroom stalls in an effort to dissuade drug users from using the bathrooms to shoot up.
My thoughts are summed up in the following quote from the Canadian press:
The Canadian Press: Montreal Second Cup owner forced to take down bathroom surveillance camera
... Still, privacy advocates are uncomfortable with the creeping presence of cameras in more intimate places such as bathrooms. Whether the camera works or not, the effect, they say, is the same.
"One of the weird things about this area of law is the fact that it is designed in many ways to protect people's feelings," said David Fraser, a privacy lawyer based in Halifax. ."It's about people not wanting to feel they're under surveillance."
For Fraser, the underlying issue is the sense of violation that comes with feeling one's private space is being subjected to anonymous, prying eyes.
"There isn't any real material difference between a fake camera and a real camera," he said. "Whether they're real or fake, you still have the feeling of being watched." ...