Surveillance cameras installed for Victoria’s Goodlife Marathon worries privacy experts


WATCH: VicPD installed CCTV cameras for the Goodlife Marathon. While some appreciate the extra security, others are worried about privacy. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

Thousands lined up to cheer on but those weren’t the only eyes watching runners.

Victoria police installed temporary surveillance cameras in the city this weekend for the event.

“It has been very advantageous for us to use for events like Canada Day, the Victoria Day parade, Symphony Splash,” explains VicPD Cst. Matt Rutherford, “[It] can help us direct resources where they need to go in the event something were to happen.”

Traffic control on the routes and additional officers on the grounds were also part of the force’s operations for the Goodlife Marathon. Cst. Rutherford says recent world events and treats were taken into account when deciding their security plan for this weekend, including the deployment of cameras.

“[It’s] peace of mind that if there is an incident that were to happen, were able to deploy our resources quickly and effectively.”

The surveillance is concerning to experts from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA).

“The public has the right to know that they are being monitored so there should be signs along the route for the runners and the viewers,” says Dr. Brenda McPhail, Director of the Privacy, Technology and Surveillance Project with the CCLA.

McPhail says studies show CCTV cameras rarely stop crimes from happening and says they watch everyone in sight.

“It’s putting a lot of innocent people under surveillance on the off-chance you catch someone doing something wrong.”

The deployment of cameras got mixed reactions from the public. Here’s what a few people told CHEK news Sunday:

“I always lean towards the less monitoring is better.”

“I’m glad they’re there and they’re probably a really good idea.”

“There are cameras everywhere you go. Everyone’s got a cell phone so you gotta live with it, it’s a different time.”

“You kind of get that ‘big brother’ feeling but I think it also provides an element of security. So overall it’s probably good.”

Victoria Police the cameras they are in the public interest.

“Especially for medical or missing children or anything like that. It really does help us,” says Cst. Rutherford.

The cameras are set to come down next week.

CLARIFICATION: Victoria police said the cameras seen in the feature image and the video are not from their department. Victoria police would not provide the location of their cameras to CHEK News. 

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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