Big Brother comes of age

Not to be outdone by their neighbours to the south, Canada is now a late entry to the Big Brother Awards.

In preparation for the Winter Olympics, municipal authorities in Vancouver had set up a series of high resolution cameras to maintain security with the huge influx of visitors. Unfortunately, they are still there.

What they didn’t tell you: these cameras can see everything short of your star sign.

Following the Stanley Cup Finals (and the mobs that showed Canadians can riot with the best of them) the government released a series of photographs of the crowds in the downtown core.

Check it out. Zoom in. Then zoom in some more.

So while you were busy celebrating the Canucks’ inevitable victory, the police were busy counting the pores on your forehead.

As if this weren’t enough, the photos were then posted online, encouraging you to “tag your friends on Facebook” — while you’re at it, you might as well check them for lice.

This latest move — crowdsourcing surveillance — puts Canada in the company of countries like Iran, who posted pictures of the June 2009 protests and offered cash rewards to anyone who could identify protesters.

Moreover, such blatant disregard for privacy shows the need for clearly articulated guidelines surrounding surveillance, and more importantly, an ethics of forgetting.

Photo courtesy of Tom Hensel. Used with permission under Creative Commons License 2.0

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