Technology has made surveillance, including that done surreptitiously, so easy that its use is growing dramatically, often forcing us to surrender our privacy for no tangible or even foreseeable benefit. Its potential for misuse is also substantial. To guard against this trend at UBC, the Faculty Association has proposed collective agreement language (Proposal 4) to limit the degree to which faculty members are subject to surveillance in the workplace. UBC has no policies defining or constraining the use of surveillance on campus. We believe that surveillance is antithetical to the academic freedom that our members must enjoy to teach and do research.
We have twice proposed fairly simple surveillance language that would (a) require UBC to provide reasonable justification for the introduction of any type of surveillance on campus, (b) require public notice if any common areas are subject to surveillance, and (c) ban surveillance in our classrooms, offices, labs or other work spaces without our members’ consent. To date, we have received no counter proposals from the university, only objections to our suggested protections.