WATCH where you park in West Vancouver's commercial areas. Or watch who is watching you.
The District of West Vancouver recently announced the use of automated licence plate recognition cameras, which scan and log every plate they see to help enforce two-hour parking limits.
We are assured by the district's promise that all data not used in issuing tickets will be deleted, but it seems, in their rush for enforcement efficiency, council never even considered the privacy implications of such a controversial tool. They never ran it by the Privacy Commissioner or even created a policy to govern its use.
We know how the West Vancouver council salivates at the thought of cutting down on costs, but perhaps, like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, it is now meddling with powers beyond its comprehension.
Many agree that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. But the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as numerous decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada, have made it quite clear: Canadians, even those with nothing to hide, have the right to expect privacy from their government.
And building a system that can track the movements of everyone - those under suspicion and those out to buy eggs - is the opposite of privacy; it is surveillance.
ALPR shouldn't be condemned outright, but the district must take clear steps to guard against the temptation to use it for more than its narrowly defined intention. After all, when all you have is a hammer, pretty soon everything starts to look like a nail.