Newfoundland and Labrador town to stop use of body cameras by municipal officers
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., has agreed to end the use of body cameras by its municipal enforcement officers.
In a news release, provincial information and privacy commissioner Michael Harvey says he and the town signed a court order on Jan. 17 requiring the town to stop collecting, using or disclosing personal information obtained from the cameras.
Harvey says to his knowledge the town was the first public body in the province to attempt to implement a body camera program.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay had been using the cameras on municipal enforcement and animal control officers since July 2020.
Harvey investigated the town’s program and issued a report last May that concluded the body cameras had the potential to capture more information than needed for the town’s purposes.
He says the town has so far been unable to design and implement a program that is compliant with the provisions of the province’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Harvey said body cameras are still a “novel technology” in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“If the town or any other public body decides to implement such a program in the future, we fully intend to monitor it closely and take whatever steps we deem necessary to ensure the privacy interests of citizens of the province will be protected,” he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2022.
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