Winnipeg News | Local Breaking | CTV News Winnipeg
City addresses privacy concerns surrounding new traffic centre
Published Wednesday, January 25, 2017 7:47PM CST Last Updated Thursday, January 26, 2017 12:36PM CST
EDITOR'S NOTE: Manitoba Public Insurance released a statement to CTV Winnipeg on Wednesday, contrary to information provided in the video for this report. The written story below has been updated.
The City of Winnipeg’s new Traffic Management Centre is raising questions and concerns about privacy and access to information.
The centre operates 70 cameras and monitors 360 intersections to improve traffic flow around the city. Video is saved up for up to seven days.
“The point is, it could it cause issues, and these are the situations we want to avoid,” said Andrew Buck, a privacy lawyer with Pitblado LLP.
Buck said there could be good consequences for residents of Winnipeg, if people or agencies accessed the information. He said it could potentially resolve a dispute over a crash, or solve a crime.
However, Buck said the system potentially identifies individual licence plates, or people who may not want their whereabouts known. He said it’s more problematic, if information gets into the wrong hands.
“What would happen to the information if it was compromised? We all know there are hackers out there, those sorts of things, so it's important to make sure there are proper safeguards to make sure this information is protected,” Buck added.
At the launch of the new centre Tuesday, Mayor Brian Bowman said the information being gathered is only being used for traffic purposes.
"It's something we're sensitive to and we’ve been asking questions to ensure that privacy is adequately protected," said Mayor Brian Bowman Tuesday.
The city said Wednesday protocols are being worked on, and anything captured on camera would be subject to Manitoba’s privacy laws.
Bowman said he expects those who want access to the information gathered from the centre to submit a request through The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, along with a follow-up consultation from the Ombudsman.
In a statement emailed to CTV News Wednesday, the city said it respects individual privacy and makes every effort to ensure its use of traffic cameras complies with the highest standards of privacy legislation.
Manitoba Public Insurance also emailed a statement to CTV News on Wednesday:
“Currently, MPI staff will use a variety of methods when reviewing liability of a claim, including statements provided by independent third party witnesses, police reports and footage from security cameras. With respect to the newly launched Traffic Management Centre, MPI has not yet had an opportunity to discuss potential sharing of information/data.”