Q&A - Using Private Surveillance Video Post-Crash

Q&A ImageThe scenario is a two car accident. Both parties have different versions of what happened but it happened in a gas station parking lot with video cameras pointed at the location of the accident. I request the video footage but the gas station refuses to provide it and states I need a court order.

I am guessing there is something within FOIPPA because the footage could show other people who may not want their faces seen etc. but do you know of any other legislation that would talk to the gas stations position?

Comments

Answer

This is almost completely new to me. I asked for parking lot video once in my service and the business was happy to co-operate. Unfortunately, they didn't know how to export the video and the 24 hour loop time had expired by the time I found out about it, consequently I was not able to obtain the evidence.

I had a quick look at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's web site and was able to find a page explaining the Guidelines for Overt Surveillance in the Private Sector.

An answer in the Q&A there states "Information collected through video surveillance should only be used for the purpose that surveillance is being undertaken, or for purposes that are permitted by law.  For example, if cameras are installed in an apartment building parking garage for safety purposes, the information cannot be used to track the movements of tenants. However, if a car is broken into, the information can be disclosed to law enforcement."

It goes on to say that "Individuals have the right to access images relating to them.  When disclosing recordings to individuals who appear in them, the organization must ensure that identifying information about any other individuals on the recording is not revealed. This can be done through technologies that mask identity."

So, it would appear that both parties involved in the collision have the right to access the images. It does not say what is meant by access.

The Personal Information Protection Act indicates to me that the information may be disclosed when requested by the parties involved and that the holder of the information may charge a minimal fee to recover the expense of doing so.

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