By now, you’ve probably heard about the camera that got spotted in the public bathrooms in Eaton Center. To say that it’s an invasion of privacy is putting it mildly. What was the reason behind this? How did this even come about? Why would the city of Montreal authorize this? Is it even legal? Don’t worry. We’ve got all the 4-1-1 on your questions and how this started.
For security purposes
Shop lifting, drug use and other crimes are a common thing in public bathrooms. There’s also always the risk of sexual abuse that can happen. With this in consideration, it’s no wonder that shopping centers are putting in place measurements to protect the safety of its visitors.
Here’s what Eaton Center had to say in regards to the security cameras:
The security and privacy of our visitors is our top priority. The security cameras installed in our properties ensure the safety of our visitors and respect consumer privacy requirements.
They further went to explain that the angles in which the cameras are pointing don’t reveal the urinals or the actual bathroom stalls. Therefore, it’s clear that the intention behind it was simply to protect and guarantee the safety of its visitors to ensure that nothing criminal or dangerous in happening in the bathrooms.
The Legal Aspect
The big question that we’re all asking is: Is it legal? Are they even allowed to put security cameras in public washrooms? Legally speaking, yes. There is no actual law that forbids business owners to place security cameras on their premises. The Private Sector Privacy Law states that an organisation is within its legal rights to place surveillance cameras for security purposes. However, they need to ensure that its within the individuals right to privacy. As long as the organizations respect this matter, then having security cameras in areas such as public bathrooms is perfectly legal.
Specific signs to indicate warnings
It’s also important to note that most privacy laws have a specific requirement to advise the public that there are security cameras on site. This protects them from any potential law suits. As it would have it, there are clear signs in front of the public bathrooms in the Eaton Center indicating that there are security cameras inside.
Ok, it’s legal. But isn’t it a bit invasive?
So, we’ve covered the legal aspects and the fact that the cameras don’t show anything intimate. The angles of the cameras are clearly not pointing towards urinals and bathroom stalls. However, is it maybe a step too far? Should there even be cameras in bathrooms? Some would argue that no, there shouldn’t be cameras because it’s taking it too far. But, if you consider everything that happens in public bathrooms. All the stories we hear, it’s actually a good thing that there are cameras.
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How many times have you gone to a public bathroom in a highly frequented place and come across needles or drug users shooting up or sniffing cocaine or any other drugs? We many not notice it right away, but if you pay more attention, you’re sure to notice it once or twice. Especially in downtown were all the clubs are and junkies are numerous. Also, it can be a bit scary to go to public bathrooms when it’s after hours and the area is deserted. Being a girl going to a public bathroom when there’s no one in sight and you see a guy alone, yeah you get scared. You can only hope that he won’t follow you in the bathrooms. Having security cameras do provide a sense of security.
So to finalize, no, having security cameras in public bathrooms is not invasive. It’s actually safe. As long as there are there to protect the safety of the public, we’re all for having security cameras in the bathroom given that they are not aiming any private areas.