EDITORIAL: Riot politics clouding policy

Just because something makes good politics doesn’t make it good policy.

Just because something makes good politics doesn’t make it good policy.

Less than a week after a moronic mob engaged in a well-documented rampage through the streets of Vancouver, a lot more normally sane people have made some puzzling decisions.

Among the biggest knee-jerk reactions that deserves some sober second thought is the decision by ICBC to use its facial recognition software to out people caught on camera during the riot. This might be popular to a public embarrassed by June 15’s evening of idiocy, but there are serious concerns.

When groups who worry about such things as personal privacy and civil rights first took issue with ICBC over facial recognition software, the insurers were adamant the technology would only be used to prevent identity theft and licence fraud. Vancouver police did not immediately take ICBC up on the offer and hopefully better judgment will prevail.

There are far too many loose ends that first need to be addressed, such as who has responsibility for deciding what constitutes video evidence of someone committing an actual crime.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time does not deserve the kind of brutal shaming or calls for vigilante justice that so quickly flooded Facebook and Twitter.

The riots happened and we are disturbed and ashamed because they did. But we can’t pretend a few, quick public hangings will make things better.

The province was quick to announce it would pay for an intensive task force to prosecute rioters. This might gain political mileage, but it’s questionable whether justice will really be better served.

It’s time to get some perspective on what happened and how to prevent it from occurring again. It is not time to make decisions that reflect the same level of emotional immaturity as those who lost themselves in a mob last Wednesday.

– Victoria News