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The past few decades have seen a proliferation of video surveillance
systems in major centres in a number of Western countries. Is this
development in the public interest, or does it signal a move toward
more intrusive forms of policing?
This book provides much-needed data for this debate as it explores
how and why some Canadian cities introduced street surveillance
programs between 1981 and 2005, and it brings to light the governance
structures and privacy protection policy frameworks that made these
programs possible. Although surveillance initiatives sprang from a
dream to establish a crime-prevention system of discipline and social
control, that dream soon gave way to rationalizations based on the idea
that streetscape video surveillance is a crime-solving tool that makes
people feel safer. Panoptic Dreams not only identifies good
practice in planning, design, and implementation, it will foster
informed debate about the ethics and utility of streetscape video
surveillance in Western democracies.