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29 Queen's L.J. 364 (2003-2004)
Who Watches the Watchers - A Law and Technology Perspective on Government and Private Sector Surveillance

handle is hein.journals/queen29 and id is 374 raw text is: Who Watches the Watchers? A Law and
Technology Perspective on
Government and Private Sector Surveillance
Arthurj. Cockfield*
The author raises questions about potential threats to our democratic order that may arise
from advancements in surveillance technology. Among the developments that concern him are
the increasing power of investigators to conduct surveillance, the enhanced ability of the public
and private sectors to share information and the steady growth in the sophistication of
surveillance technology. At the same time, there is less scrutiny of surveillance practices by
independent bodies. The author argues that these factors are combining to make surveillance of
individuals dangerously easy. He warns that this may erode key democratic values,
particularly freedom of expression and the right to privacy.
The author reviews the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
(PIPEDA), and concludes that while it is a good first step, it falls short by not adopting the
European Union's strict approach to consent. As a result,further measures are needed to ensure
that democratic values are adequately preserved, such as stronger laws dictating how
government and private agencies collect and store information as well as greater
accountability of government to its citizens. In addition, to help ensure such accountability,
the author argues that there should be a method of tracking government searches for
information. Finally, the author suggests an alternative system under which the personally
identifying elements of collected information are removed and stored separately, accessible
only upon independently verified grounds.
Introduction
I.   Laws That Governed the Watchers Before September 11h
A.   Government: Reasonable Expectations and Private Spaces
B.   Commerce: Ubiquitous Information Collection Practices
* Assistant Professor, Queen's University Law School. On October 4, 2001, an earlier
draft of this paper was presented at a Queen's University Surveillance Project seminar
and the author would like to thank the seminar participants for the many helpful
comments that he received. In addition, the author wishes to thank David Lyon, Don
Stuart, Bernie Adell and David Freedman for comments on an earlier draft. This article
was also discussed during a Joint Program of Sections on Civil Rights, Intellectual
Property and Law and the Social Sciences, at the American Association of Law Teachers
Annual Meeting in New Orleans on January 6, 2002. Jason Young provided extremely
helpful research assistance for this work.

(2003) 29 Queen's L.J.

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