B.C. privacy czar says police must make changes to rooftop car camera program

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

VICTORIA - B.C.'s privacy commissioner says Victoria Police must make changes to a controversial system that automatically scans licence plates to run them against an alert list compiled by RCMP.

But Elizabeth Denham doesn't say police should stop using the cameras mounted on squad cars to photograph, scan and record licence plate numbers.

Rather, she says the department must prompt the system to dump information recorded from vehicles that don't match the alert list.

Currently, a daily scan record is turned over to RCMP, who administer the Automated Licence Plate Recognition program.

But Denham says it's a violation of privacy laws to turn over the information of citizens who police have no reason to suspect of criminal activity.

RCMP have been using the system since 2006 and Victoria Police began using it in March, prompting three complaints to the privacy commissioner.