Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Regulating Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs in the Digital Age
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Designing and Implementing e-Justice Systems: Some Lessons Learned from EU and Canadian Examples
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Laws 2014, 3(3), 388-409;

Jones-ing” for a Solution: Commercial Street Surveillance and Privacy Torts in Canada

Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 July 2014 / Published: 4 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology, Social Media and Law)
Full-Text   |   PDF [229 KB, uploaded 4 July 2014]


While street surveillance technologies such as Google Street View are deployed with no discriminatory intent, there is selective scrutiny applied to the published imagery by the anonymous crowd. Disproportionately directed at women and members of ethnic minority groups, this scrutiny means the social risks of street surveillance are not equal. This paper considers the possibility of invasion of privacy actions in tort brought against the commercial service provider as a possible solution. Analysis suggests that Canadian law has evolved in a way such that it is exceedingly difficult to make a claim for “privacy” in tort when the plaintiff is located in public space. This evolution exists in order to ensure that innocuous behavior not be rendered actionable. Furthermore, conceptual reasons exist to suggest that actions in tort are unlikely to be the best solution to the problems posed by commercial street surveillance. While any individual case of embarrassment or nuisance matters, broader “macro-harms” that impact entire communities reflect perhaps the most serious problem associated with the selective scrutiny of street surveillance imagery. Yet, it seems difficult to justify attaching liability for those harms to the commercial providers. While limits need to be placed on the operation of these street surveillance programmes, it is unlikely that invasion of privacy actions are the most effective way to achieve that goal. View Full-Text
Keywords: privacy; surveillance; tort; StreetView; Google; Ontario; Canada; law; internet privacy; surveillance; tort; StreetView; Google; Ontario; Canada; law; internet
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Hargreaves, S. “Jones-ing” for a Solution: Commercial Street Surveillance and Privacy Torts in Canada. Laws 2014, 3, 388-409.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Laws EISSN 2075-471X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top