On Monday, the Toronto Star reported that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association urged Toronto City Council to do away with a plan to install sensors in public places that detect gunshots.
And then tragedy hit the same city, leaving two young children dead and many others hurt.
It’s not clear that having had those sensors would have been able to stop the madman on time to save lives. But events like this shake our beliefs and make us question whether more high-tech policing and more surveillance might be a good thing.
I, personally, am undecided on the issue of this type of increased surveillance in our cities. From what I understand, there’s not an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that it is effective in the United States, where it has been deployed already. Of course, the companies making and selling the technology would argue otherwise, and they have plenty of anecdotal stories to suggest they are reducing gun-related crime.
What’s the right level of privacy trade-off? If the sensor can only detect gunshots and not anything like a conversation, is it a technology that privacy-mindful people might adopt as worthwhile? It’s still early days with this new tech, so I’m sure plenty of questions will arise and eventually get answered. But, in the wake of this week’s tragic news from Toronto, I can’t help but feel that the CCLA may not be as persuasive this time around. Events like this hit home and make us think first and foremost about keeping safe.
If you have thoughts on this, please let me know. Would love to hear from you.
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