Avoiding video surveillance

So how do the owners counter this frightening video surveillance and stop the intimidation while they are campaigning for a position on the board or trying to make the other owners aware of their common concerns?

I can think of a few ideas.

Why stay in a condo that operates like it is a residential building in Pyongyang? Instead of fighting, especially if you have very little support from the other owners, spend your time, energy and money finding a home in a less oppressive environment.

However, if you want to, or have to, stay (mainly due to low equity) then keep reading.

Most owners know where the cameras are, so try to avoid them. If you live in an older condo that doesn't have locks on the staircases and cameras in the hallways, go up and down the stairs to do your canvassing or when meeting with your supporters.

If there are cameras in the hallways, and the security guards or the manager can see who enters or leaves your unit, hold your meetings off the property. Small groups can meet at the local library, at coffee shops or in a room at a nearby condo or in someone's basement.


When you come on the condominium property, wear hoodies. CCTV cameras look downward so hoodies, baseball caps and sunglasses make it hard for them to recognize faces, especially if you look downwards.

When you get on the elevators, walk to the back of the cab and stand right under the camera, face forward. It makes it harder for them to see you.

When you—and your guests—use an elevator, get off two or more floors above or below your true destination and take the stairs to the floor you are going to.

Write an open letter to the board informing them that you know of the illegal video surveillance and that it must immediately stop, the board must pass a resolution listing the corporation's privacy policies and the board's commitments to honour the policy and Ontario's privacy legislation.

This probably will not work but it puts their lack of ethics out in the open and it gives you another position to campaign on.


Use political theatre to raise awareness in the building. This fake CCTV camera made out of a cardboard box will get some laughs.

You could have a face painting crafts event. Offer prizes, by age groups, for the best mask. This kit can be bought at most dollar stores.

You could try carving a watermelon to make a mask/hat like this Beijing subway rider. That should get a reaction.

Spy vs spy

Some owners use their own surveillance cameras on their doors to catch vandals and prevent eavesdropping.

The owners of one condo unit installed a tiny video camera to monitor their front door. When other owners came to their unit for a meeting about voting out the board, they watched the superintendent standing in the hallway with his ear to the door listening to what was being said.

They made sure he didn't hear anything important.

Hidden cameras
Instead of changing the key set in their door, or adding a second lock, some condo owners—who have been harassed by the manager or the board have installed secret video cameras in their units. If anyone enters their unit when they are away, the camera starts recording audio and video and sends a signal to the owner so they can watch the video live on their smart phone.

There are "spy" stores in Toronto that sell or rent electronic devices that sweep for hidden cameras. If you are losing sleep over it, then spend $50 and have your hallway checked.

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