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A modest proposal

Wed 6 Jan 2010 by mskala Tags used: , ,

I should be allowed to set up a hidden camera at the doorstep of the Dundas West subway station in Toronto, which is across the street from the local Catholic school, and take photos up the skirts of teenage girls (or anybody else wearing a skirt) as they enter and leave the building.

This would be okay because the subway station is a public place. This would be okay because the subway station is private property. It would be not only okay but necessary to ensure transportation security; if I see a schoolgirl with a 9mm handgun in her panties, you bet I'll call the cops. Remember that nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway! Are you saying you want that to happen here, you evil terrorist? Terrorism! Terrorism! Scary! Booga booga booga!

This plan doesn't violate anybody's rights because the girls are not required to travel by subway. They have the option of just staying home and not attending school. It wouldn't violate anybody's rights because nobody is required to submit to the search. If any schoolgirls don't want me using a hidden camera to look up their skirts, I'll be happy to offer an alternative option - they can strip naked and let me give them a thorough, attentive examination of every square centimetre of their tender young bodies in person instead. Offering this choice makes it all okay.

Furthermore, it would all be okay because I would be in a separate room - my apartment a block away, where I'd be viewing the imagery over an unencrypted RF link - and they wouldn't see my face as I looked up their skirts. It would also be okay because I would not see the actual girls, nor their faces, only their legs, and underwear if any. This would be okay because I am a highly trained professional - a doctor, in fact. (Of computer science.) And I'd be in a separate room. It would be okay because there would be no recordings made, um, although if I did actually use it for anything even vaguely resembling law enforcement purposes then it would be absolutely necessary for there to be recordings made for use as evidence, else the whole thing would become completely pointless.

And I would only actually look up the skirts of some of the schoolgirls, not all schoolgirls but only the schoolgirls I thought really needed to have their skirts looked up of, based on my extensive expertise in such matters. And I probably wouldn't look up any boys' skirts at all, so really only a small percentage of the population would ever be affected. It wouldn't be an indiscriminate across-the-board upskirt photography operation, because that would be inappropriate. And I'd be in a separate room, anyway. That makes it okay.

It would not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 8, unreasonable search and seizure); nor the Criminal Code of Canada (section 162, voyeuristic recording, let alone 163.1, child pornography); nor anything in the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; because, um, terrorism!

And did I mention I'd be in a separate room? That makes it okay.

My plan has the full blessings of Chantal Bernier, Rob Merrifield, and John Baird - respectively the Assistant Privacy Commissioner, the Minister of State for Transport, and the Transport Minister.

Also, I conducted a survey of ten students, seven of whom were male, and only three had any objections, so it's clear that the public isn't worried and recognizes the necessity for reasonable security measures. Several of those surveyed were so supportive of my efforts, in fact, that that they volunteered to help me review the footage, in a separate room.


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