Privacy protection must be part of Vancouver Olympic Games planning, say federal and B.C. Privacy Commissioners



    VICTORIA, BC, Feb. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Privacy Commissioner of Canada
and the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia say that
security and law enforcement agencies have to find the right balance between
security requirements and privacy for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
    "Ensuring the security of Olympic venues, and the safety of athletes and
the public, is of the utmost importance," says Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Jennifer Stoddart. "We recognize that special events like this demand special
security," adds her colleague, B.C. Commissioner David Loukidelis, "but
privacy remains important."
    Commissioner Stoddart agrees, adding that: "In a democratic society, such
as Canada, a government's duty to keep citizens safe must be tempered by the
values that underpin our way of life. That is why the right to privacy must be
upheld, even during mega-events like the Olympic Games, where the threat to
security is higher."
    The two Commissioners are speaking today at an Office of the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada workshop - Privacy, Security and the 2010 Olympics. The
workshop is gathering together experts from academia, civil society, the
private sector and government to discuss the privacy and security implications
associated with hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
    Both Commissioners have long taken the position that the right to privacy
should only be forfeited where there are no other, less privacy-invasive
security measures, which could achieve the same ends. Commissioner Stoddart
says there is a need to consider the privacy impacts of widespread and highly
sophisticated surveillance systems in use during the Olympics, but especially
the legacy of such security measures after the Games.
    "Experience has shown that Olympic Games and other mega-events can leave
a troubling legacy - large-scale, security surveillance systems installed for
mega-events often remain long after the event is over," she says.
    What happened following the Athens Games of 2004 is a case in point.
Closed-circuit cameras installed for the Games were left in place afterwards
to help law enforcement monitor citizens, notably during public
demonstrations.
    "Our hope is that Vancouver-area residents will not wind up surrounded by
surveillance systems they neither want nor need. This would be an unfortunate
legacy of the 2010 Games," says Commissioner Loukidelis.
    The two Commissioners have discussed security and privacy issues for the
Games and will collaborate in monitoring security measures and privacy
protections, in order to ensure that privacy rights are fully respected during
the Games and after.

    The workshop on Privacy, Security and the 2010 Olympics runs from 1 p.m.
to 5 p.m. today at the Victoria Conference Centre.




For further information:

For further information: To attend the workshop, or for media interview
requests, journalists should contact: Heather Ormerod, Office of the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada, (613) 995-1048, hormerod@privcom.gc.ca; Maria Dupuis,
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, (250)
387-7299, mdupuis@oipc.bc.ca


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