Perception Is Reality

Justification of CCTV

Posted on: June 24, 2008

Just now, I stumbled across something very interesting while browsing my faculty’s webpage at York University.

The article related to the new Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS) and finalizing its official name. I came across a picture (below) which was apparently taken from a security camera. The text reads, “Students review course offerings online.”

Surveillance Image at York University

Catch my drift, yet? What is an image from a security camera doing on the website? Did these people know they were being recorded and that their images will be used for publicity? More importantly, the camera has clear view of the monitor screens as is both visually and textually evident (as the title reads). What are the terms and conditions of surveillance at a private institution and what constitutes fair use?

While the individuals faces are not visible, most of their body features are including hair, built, and gender to name a few.

We live in a supposedly post-modern society where surveillance is important not only to keep track of individuals to provide for them (think national censuses), but also to protect them from themselves. But how far are we willing to compromise rightful privacy (the data entered on those systems are personal bits of information, the keyboard is visible and so is the screen) for the sake of the institution’s benefit?

If I were in this picture, or any other picture, I would feel like a voluntary inmate. Is the use of such images ethical?

This reminds me of an article I once read on Blog TO about Justification of CCTV wher a York graduate was arrested in a rape case. I’m pretty sure Chris Orbz (the author of that article) will be really interested. And I’m interested in what he has to say.

In recent times, in light of the increase in sexual assaults at York, the senate decided to pass a budget for an increase in the CCTV coverage extending to all the exits and entrances of the residence buildings of both the Glendon and Keele campuses. Orbz says, “…and CCTV can be wielded as a weapon as much as a tool.”

The York University Security Services website states, “Cameras generally cannot be utilized where there is an expectation of privacy.” Why then was a camera pointed straight at a personal data collection and transferring terminal?


6 Responses to "Justification of CCTV"

[…] residence buildings, security camera, sexual assaults, york graduate, york university Read more at: Design, Photograph, Communicate This post has 0 […]

Hey, good catch although I’m wondering if you have any more information (beyond the text of the Y-File page) that this photo is in fact from a CCTV camera. It’s a fair assumption given the relatively poor image quality and apparent ceiling angle, but there are also places I could think of on campus where people on a higher level could look down over people on a lower one and end up with a shot like this with a bad zoom producing the blur.

I’m going to ask the author of the article for a source on the photo and see what he says. Do you recognize the exact location?

Hey Chris,

I actually think I know this place. It’s either outside the Scott Library, or in one of the older college councils. My purpose was to talk more about surveillance, however, and if its even taken from a digital camera, it seems to still be done in secret.

Hi, all. I’d just like to reassure everyone that this picture was taken by a YFile photographer (YFile is York University’s daily online newsletter), and under our rules she would have asked the students’ permission to take their pictures. The photo definitely did not come from a CCTV camera.

Best regards —

Berton Woodward
Publications Director
York University

Hi Berton,

Thank you for your post and clarification. Do you think we could get in touch with the photographer for clarification?

Thank you.

Do state sites that give inmate location let you know when the inmate may be released or if they have been transferred? Are transfers part of criminal records?

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Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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