A group of researchers who participated in the Surveillance Games Research Workshop November 20-21 in Vancouver, B.C. have drafted a joint statement on security, surveillance and mega-events signed by international experts specializing in these areas.
As researchers from Canada and the wider world, who are conducting research on the global security dynamics of mega-events, we agree:
- that the Olympic Games should be a celebration of human achievement, friendship and trust between people and nations.
However, having analyzed past and planned Olympics and other mega events, from a variety of historical and international perspectives, we recognize:
- that recent Games have increasingly taken place in and contributed to a climate of fear, heightened security and surveillance; and
- that this has often been to the detriment of democracy, transparency and human rights, with serious implications for international, national and local norms and laws.
Therefore, we ask the City of Vancouver, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada:
- to moderate the escalation of security measures for Vancouver 2010 and to strive to respect the true spirit of the event;
- to be as open as possible about the necessary security and surveillance practices and rationales
- to withdraw temporary bylaws that restrict Charter rights of freedom of speech and assembly;
- to work constructively with the Provincial and Federal Privacy Commissioners;
- to respect the rights of all individuals and groups, whether they be local people or visitors, and pay particular attention to the impacts on vulnerable people;
- to conduct a full, independent public assessment of the security and surveillance measures, once the Games are over, addressing their costs (financial and otherwise), their effectiveness, and lessons to be learned for future mega-events.
- not to assume a permanent legacy of increased video surveillance and hardened security measures in the Vancouver/Whistler area, and to have full and open public discussion on any such proposed legacy.
We hope that these recommendations will contribute to a unique and positive Olympic legacy by which Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada will be remembered for setting the highest ethical standards.
See the list of signatories on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada‘s site.