'Huge invasion of privacy': Twitter feed shows creepy online posts
Published Friday, June 16, 2017 7:01PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, June 16, 2017 7:33PM PDT
Women in Metro Vancouver say they’re not surprised by what appears to be a local social media feed posting photos of women in public without their consent.
“Absolutely it bothers me,” said Melissa from New Westminster. “If I ever see a camera taken out, I look away.”
Mikaela Wilson and Ingrid Rumm, two students from South Surrey, say they are always cautious about their behavior in public places, including what they choose to wear, so they don’t stick out on the street.
“It does feel awkward to know that we can’t really wear what we really want to wear in public,” said Wilson. “In this world there are people like that, so you do have to watch out.”
The Twitter feed discovered by CTV News operated under the name “Streets Vancouver.” It included photo posts that sexualized women bodies and in some cases, also included their faces.
“Posting and sexualizing everything—that’s definitely over the top,” said Rumm.
The news comes just a day after a 42-year-old Calgary man was arrested for running a similar Twitter account under the name “Canada Creep” which shared sexualized content to an audience of 17,000 people.
Jeffrey Robert Williamson is facing three counts of voyeurism. Police say in some cases he filmed up women’s skirts on the street.
“We can relate to how it would feel,” said Wilson.
But legal experts say the line between creep and criminal can be murky, and the charges, even more challenging to prove in court.
“People do all sorts of creepy things on the internet,” said lawyer Dan Reid, who specializes in privacy for Harper Grey in Vancouver.
Reid adds that it all comes down to whether to accuser had a reasonable expectation of privacy when she was photographed or recorded, and if the motive of the person behind the camera was sexual.
“These types of charges are quite rare and they’re typically only brought when there’s a public outcry or significant amount of public attention,” Reid said.
It seems that public attention around the case out of Calgary may have sparked the person behind “Streets Vancouver” to pull the page down. Vancouver Police say they’re not aware of any complaint in connection with the Twitter feed.
But that won’t stop Mikaela Wilson from being vigilant.
“It’s a huge invasion of privacy,” she said. “We can relate to how it would feel.”
With files from CTV Vancouver’s David Molko