In Quebec, Canada, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the provincial police force, has issued a warning to residents about posting surveillance footage of package thefts, commonly referred to as “porch piracy.” This cautionary advice comes amid concerns that such postings could infringe upon the privacy rights of the alleged perpetrators.
Lieutenant Benoit Richard of the SQ highlighted that in Canada, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and sharing footage of suspected porch pirates could potentially violate their right to privacy. He emphasized the importance of handing over any evidence of theft to the police for proper investigation and legal proceedings, rather than taking matters into one’s own hands by posting videos online.
This guidance is rooted in the Civil Code of Québec, specifically articles 35 and 36, which protect an individual’s right to reputation and privacy. Unauthorized invasion of privacy, including disseminating images without consent, could lead to various civil or criminal consequences.
The police statement has sparked a range of reactions from the public. Some express disbelief and frustration that citizens could face legal repercussions for sharing footage from their home security cameras in an effort to deter or solve crimes. Others view the police’s stance as an attempt to prioritize the rights of criminals over the victims of theft.
Critics, including Canadian journalist Ezra Levant and conservative commentator Chris Tomlinson, have voiced concerns that this approach by the police might lead to underreporting and lack of accountability for such crimes. They argue that the police’s advice might discourage citizens from actively protecting their property and seeking justice.
The growing concern over porch piracy, particularly during the holiday season when package deliveries peak, has put a spotlight on the balance between personal security measures and the legal rights of individuals, including those accused of theft. As such incidents continue to rise, the debate over the appropriate and legal responses to this modern challenge remains a contentious issue in Canada.