RCMP defends licence-plate scanning technology
In this August 27, 2009 file photo, Elizabeth Denham speaks to the media during a news conference in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 7:00AM EST
VICTORIA -- The RCMP is defending licence plate scanning technology after B.C.'s privacy commissioner warned that sharing data from the scans violates the rights of law abiding citizens.
Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says Victoria police should be erasing data they gather during automatic licence plate scans instead of handing it over to the Mounties, especially when the data involves people who've done nothing wrong.
But Superintendent Denis Boucher -- who heads up traffic services for the RCMP's E division -- says data that's not linked to a crime isn't used, and in fact it's deleted from the system as soon as it's transferred to the RCMP server.
He says the Mounties manage the data for all police departments in B.C., allowing police to have a single, secure database.
Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham also says the records are passed on only to be erased by the Mounties, adding that licence plate scanning helps protect the public from prohibited drivers and other violators.
Justice Minister Shirley Bond says she believes B.C. residents want technology used to improve safety, but not at the expense of their privacy, and she will study the report.