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G8/G20 Communique: After the G20 Summit -- the CCTV cameras and the LRAD sound cannons

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What happens to the Toronto Police's new toys after the G20 Summit -- the 77 CCTV cameras and the 4 LRAD sound cannons?

CCTV Cameras:

Police announced at a press conference on June 2, 2010 that in preparation for the G20 Summit in Toronto, they had 77 CCTV (closed circuit television cameras) installed around the city. This was in addition to the 18 CCTV cameras already in place.

When they began installing said cameras, they noted in a May 14, 2010, press release that they were, "aware of the privacy concerns associated with the use of CCTV cameras. We will continue to work very closely with the Privacy Commissioner with respect to those issues."

You can read the Toronto Police Service's policy on CCTV cameras here.

If you have privacy concerns, you can contact:

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Regarding the use of CCTV cameras, the documents states,

Quote: Utilising the vast experiences with CCTV in other jurisdictions and the privacy guidelines, the Toronto Police Service propose to utilise CCTV under the following criteria:

--Use of CCTV to be considered only after other measures of deterrence or detection have been considered or rejected as unworkable and that the benefits of use outweigh the encroachment on privacy

--Use of each camera is justified by verifiable crime reports and significant safety concerns from the public

--CCTV is deployed to observe public areas exclusively

--Ongoing assessments of the impact on privacy are carried out and reported

--Ongoing consultation with the community as to the necessity and acceptability of CCTV

--Appropriate governance is in place for effective management

--All records and stored video are under the control of the Toronto Police Service

--Public notification before, during and after installation of CCTV occurs

--Clearly written signs are prominently displayed at the perimeter of the area under observation

In case you were wondering what happens to all that raw footage taken during the G20 Summit weekend:

Quote: Only authorized Toronto Police Service members will have access to the recorded images. Access to the images will occur in response to a reported incident to determine if the video can assist in identifying the offender. Images depicting evidence of a crime may be used in a court of law for the prosecution of the offender.

The G20 Investigative Team has been slowly looking over the thousands of images it has complied -- in addition to photo and videographic evidence it has solicited from the public -- and has released periodic G20 Most Wanted lists.

As for the cameras after the G20 Summit?

Since July 6, 2010, the police have been slowly taking those G20-specific cameras down but not the original 18 which already existed.

"The Toronto Police Service has ownership of them and they may or may not be deployed again," said Meaghan Gray, of the police public information unit.

"If there is an operational need to use them again we will issue a news release saying where they are going and how long they'll be up there for," she added.

The Toronto police service is getting the units at half-price for about $175,000 (under $2,500 each). The federal government is paying the other half.

LRAD Sound Cannons:

The Toronto Police Service also gets to keep the four LRAD sound weapons they purchased for use during the G20 Summit.

Police had announced prior to the G20 Summit that they had purchased four sound weapons or "sonic cannons" to deal with demonstrators during the Summit protests.

On Friday June 11, 2010, Police Chief Bill Blair announced that his Toronto Police won't be using the LRAD sound cannons as weapons, but rather as communication tools. 

"It's not designed to be used as a weapon," Blair said at the time. "We will not use it as a weapon. We will use it as a communication device."

But civil liberty groups didn't trust the police and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association with the Canadian Labour Congress sought an injunction against the Toronto and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) using the sound cannon on demonstrators.

Quote: "If they decided not to use it as a weapon, then they could disable the alert function as the Vancouver police did during the Olympics," Nathalie Des Rosiers of the Canadian Civil Liberties Union said. "It would go a long way to reassure people that the most strident noises and the beam aspect of it will not be used.

The courts finally ruled on Friday June 25, 2010 -- the first day of major protests against the G20 Summit in Toronto -- that the police could still use the sound cannon but had to keep the volumes below the maximum level and not use the device from close distances.

"I have concluded that a very real likelihood exists that demonstrators may suffer damage to their hearing from the proposed use of the Alert function at certain distances and volumes," Ontario Superior Court Justice David Brown wrote in his ruling."

If you have a legal complaint against the Toronto police and/or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), please see: www.G20classaction.com.

Other legal avenues include making a human rights complaint, lodging a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director or initiating a Small Claims Court action.

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