Monday, January 24, 2011

"The Grassy Knoll" of West Vancouver

"She and her cameraman went to a spot across the road from the rear of the building, climbed on to a low wall and found that, with the blinds open, they could see right into the room.
They got a clear shot of Gillan entering the office, speaking with Heed and leaving.
"It was really brief," said Urquhart. "You could tell from our images he was crying, and I think that's really what pissed people off. They thought that was an invasion of privacy.""   North Shore News

There's one photograph included in the North Shore News article, and it speaks a thousand words.

For those of us who live on the North Shore, there are no borders, there are no boundaries, except that we are hemmed in by the waterfront, the mountains, and man-made highways and its bridges. There are two police forces.  It doesn't take long to know where the local cop shop is, or how to access them, but it appears that there's an easier way to get into the Chief of Police Office in West Vancouver, without going through the front door.

The trick is to find a Low Wall, stand on it, and with your trusty cameraman at your side, shoot your way in.

The blinds surrounding the Chief of Police Office are never opened now.   No sunlight enters the room,  not because of lack of sunny weather.  Its the prying eyes of the news media.    Did I say prying eyes?  Prying high tech digital camera lens eye to be more accurate, and of course, that special Low Wall.

I've spent the last three days trying to figure out just where this Low Wall is.   It could be said I'm too late.  Changes have been made since tears were captured on digital "film" of the brief moment when a letter of Suspension was dispensed by the Chief of Police to one of his Officers.

The chain link fence around the south side of the motor vehicle compound has been made obscured, if you want a see-through look, check out Google Street View, it goes back to 2008, that's a year before things went awry in West Vancouver.

I've taken snapshots with my little digital camera, but I've seen nothing that would even get me near to copying what the news media people accomplished from their Low Wall perch.   The Chief's office for starters, is on the third floor, south east corner, that's visible in the photo in the North Shore News file photo, because if you look closely at the photo you can see the cross bars on the hydro pole, which makes them just a tad higher than the desk that the former chief of police is sitting on.
Off in the distance (of the photo), I suppose one could call it a Grassy Knoll, for the picture has been cropped off the right side and there is a Low Wall there, keeping sand at bay from the grass.

I marched the distance off, from the Garbage Can/"Low Wall" to the corner of the Police station, as the Crow flies, and verified the distance via Google Earth....... 219 feet.     Two Hundred and Nineteen Feet.   At that distance, everyone should feel safe in their own homes, not just the Chief of Police in West Vancouver in his Office.   219 feet, I can't say it enough.   219 feet and the news media could see that a man was crying.   Did they turn away in shame.  Hell NO.   This is a scoop!  This isn't invasion of Privacy.

Here's a photo, two photos merged.   To the far left you can just make out the trash can the other side of the Low Wall.   To the far right, top corner is the public building.  There are two black lines drawn.  First line is from the Trash Can/Low Wall to the Office.  Second line is from the BC Rail Right-of-way to the Office.  The second line ends up on the ceiling of the upper office, the first line ends up inside the office.  Now click on the photo to get a better view.

If the tables were turned, could that high tech camera lens be used against us in our "castles", or is it too late.

For instance, on the day that Dave Basi and Bobby Virk pleaded guilty, the news media were swarming inside and outside.   I thought we were going to hear the last of second witness' testimony in the morning and at the very least the beginning of a former finance minister of BC in the afternoon.  Within minutes it was over, and outside waiting, south side of the building, the camera lenses were aimed at the glass wall, or were they?
Were they, like their brethren digital cameras of West Vancouver, recording what was coming down the long stairs to the outside world.

For those of the public who have never had the pleasure of being inside a glass cage, the Vancouver Supreme Court is it!   And looking back now, on hindsight, the cameras were rolling.   A piece of glass may be a sound barrier to the spoken word, but visually, TWO HUNDRED and NINETEEN FEET  is a drop in the bucket for a hand held digital camera, what I saw outside was tripod mounted equipment.

The rules of "engagement" for visitor to any Court House is this:   "No Weapons, No Recording Devices, No Cameras"      Journalists who earn a living from being a Journalist is entitled via something called "Accreditation"  are permitted to carry a recording device (tape recorder READ digital recorder) but only to ensure that what they eventually publish is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.   No errors are permitted.

I've seen photos where defendants and their lawyers are still inside the Court House, still walking down the stairs, published.  They are almost to the glass doors, and their photos have been snapped.  Oh what the hell, its only thirty feet.   But what of those other photos that have been taken at 219 feet or more, inside the Court House where NO Cameras are permitted.    Is it the physical body of the camera that isn't allowed in the Court, or Police Station, or is it the photograph that is captured on film (read Digital) that is illegal and will not be tolerated!

"You could tell from our images he was crying, and I think that's really what pissed people off. They thought that was an invasion of privacy."
Taking this two steps further, and not picking on the news media alone, what with all these high rise towers in downtown Vancouver where various BC Government employees toil away for their masters.  Do they keep their curtains closed because.............

 Often during the BC Rail trial I observed that the Defendants and their Counsel went outside during "recess", but on Court House property, to have a Cigar or cigarette.  What if the cameras were rolling from the building next door?  The only thing missing is the lip readers.


Norm Farrell said...

A young man I know is an electronics design engineer for a major international company. His duties take him throughout North America and frequently to Asia where he sees not only current products but also future generations of devices in the pipeline. He says we would be amazed by size and capabilities of the latest miniature imaging devices.

Current security cameras are obvious and the images produced often poor quality. Yet, those recorders are effective for many purposes. As you suggest, there are or soon will be undetectable devices capable of recording even distant subjects in high-definition.

Privacy is becoming a lost concept.

Anonymous said...

"Criminal Voyeurism

You can not take photos of people who are in circumstances where they believe that they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, for example, a bathroom. This generally extends to include a person inside their own home, or anywhere where they have reason to believe is a private place."
"You are guaranteed the right to take photographs, and publish them

You are guaranteed the right to express yourself through photography, and you have the freedom to publish the photos you take. Unless you are arrested, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees your right to take photographs of anything you want, as well as publish them."
Then there is the thin line of being allowed to use a camera (cam corder) to record without sound under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Anonymous said...

NVG it looks to me like the rules are clear enough:

"No Weapons, No Recording Devices, No Cameras"

Cameras, going back just a few short years were film based. Today they are recording devices. Cameras should be banned

North Van's Grumps said...

Anon 2:39... you do mean Cameras should be banned from shooting through glass windows/walls.... right