After eleven months of asking for “all documents of all types” about their Automatic Licence Plate Recognition vehicle surveilliance program, and four months with my complaint in process with the federal Information Commissioner, this week the RCMP Access to Information and Privacy staff finally sent me documents!!!
A handful of documents that is… Well, the RCMP had managed to get my request limited to a small number of requests for specific documents. And here’s what I finally got:
- A copy of a report about ALPR written by several professors and already available on the internet.
- Several letters to and from the federal Privacy Commissioner’s office, which the Privacy Commissioner’s office gave to me two months ago.
- A 2-page “terms and conditions” document for use of ALPR which RCMP staff had already given me four months ago.
- One redacted print-out of one ALPR database record, along with a statement that to get the rest of the data records from Victoria alone would cost me $8,660 in search fees.
That’s it. That’s all.
And to top it off, according to RCMP Access to Information staff, do you know how many emails about ALPR have been sent to or received by Sgt. Warren Nelson, the head of the ALPR program in BC, over the last 7 years as the program has expanded from a few cars to 42 cars? ZERO.
That’s right. Apparently, Nelson hasn’t even written those emails about ALPR to me that I seem to have copies of. Or else, RCMP ATIP staff have determined that emails to journalists are not public information…
And guess how many meetings the RCMP have had at which ALPR was discussed in the past seven years? You guessed it: ZERO. Or else, they’ve simply never taken any minutes, even once.
Finally, there is, according to the RCMP, no up-to-date operational manual for the RCMP’s ALPR system.
This is a blatant and egregious breaking of the law by the RCMP with regard to public access to information.
It boggles the mind that BC Minister of Justice Shirley Bond just signed the whole province up for another 20 years of this, without getting any oversight and accountability mechanisms built in.