09:47 GMT +326 June 2019
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    A police CCTV camera observes people walking in the Embankment area of central London

    Is Canada Organising Total Surveillance, Rapid Intervention to Lower Crime Rate?

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    While the objective of the programme is to prevent people from committing a crime or being the victim of one, it has little oversight and the information in its database is collected without consent.

    At least two Canadian provinces, Ontario and Saskatchewan, have established the so-called "Risk-driven Tracking Database" (RTD), which tracks information about citizens and their activities that might result in them committing a crime or falling victim to it, the online media outlet Motherboard reported, citing data obtained via an access to information request.

    The database is part of the Hub policing model, in which police, school staff, social workers, health care workers and provincial governments work together in compiling and using it. The RTD stores information about people that could help these services make a decision about rapid intervention in an individual's life in order to prevent a crime.

    It includes data such as a person's mental health, drug use, whether the individual has been subject to assault or just lives in a "negative neighbourhood". In total, RTD considers around 100 "risk factors" and, at the same time, around 51 "protective factors" that counterbalance them, such as having a loving family or good relationships with law enforcement.

    If a person becomes flagged as being "at risk" of committing crime or being the victim of one, services can resort to a "rapid intervention" to lower the risk levels. Such an intervention could be a mere "door knock and a chat", forced hospitalisation, or even arrest. According to data obtained by Motherboard, at least one person has been forcefully hospitalised and another sent to jail as a result of the RTD.

    Officials claim that the database is "de-identified", meaning that the individuals' names and birth dates are removed from it, but the security experts cited by Motherboard say that with such detailed information collected on each person, it would still be easy to identify people in the RTD. At the same time, the data is collected without consent and most of the additions to the database in 2017 were children aged between 12 and 17.

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