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Voyeurs must be stopped, especially in age of digital surveillance

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The Supreme Court of Canada tackled a particularly pernicious modern-day privacy issue last week when it ruled that a teacher was guilty of voyeurism for secretly filming female students’ breast areas with a pen camera.

Such a creepy activity, involving a person in a position of trust targeting teen girls, may have sounded like a slam dunk for the prosecution. But it wasn’t.

And that alone should sound an alarm that privacy rights need to be strengthened by courts and legislators alike as new surveillance technologies, such as spy cameras, drones and GPS tracking apps, come onto the market.

After all, the teacher in question, Ryan Jarvis of London, Ont., had been acquitted twice under the 2005 law that criminalizes voyeurism.

In the first instance, a trial judge found that Jarvis had violated the students’ privacy but wasn’t satisfied he did it for sexual purposes. In the second, the Ontario Court of Appeal found that Jarvis had acted with sexual intent, but that........

© Toronto Star