Privacy advocates are celebrating the end of a border security reality TV show they described as exploiting vulnerable people for entertainment.
Lawyer Laura Track with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says Canada’s privacy commissioner ruled the Canada Border Services Agency breached the Privacy Act by allowing production company Force Four to film a raid in Vancouver.
“What the privacy commissioner found was that the consent forms were completely inadequate. People in such vulnerable circumstances, interacting with uniformed border guards, fearing deportation, fearing detention, they are not in a good frame of mind to be offering up consent to have that interaction then depicted in a reality TV show.”
Track says construction worker Oscar Mata Duran was deported to Mexico in 2013 after the raid.
The CBSA confirms it won’t participate in a fourth season.
Canada Border Services Agency Statement
“After thorough internal discussion on the benefits to the CBSA, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s recommendations, the allocation of resources, and the services we provide to Canadians, the CBSA decided not to continue with a fourth season of the television series. Border Security: Canada’s Front Line was produced by an independent production company and showcased our professionalism, and captured what makes us proud to work at the CBSA. Participation in the series helped foster greater public awareness and appreciation for the challenging environment in which the Agency delivers border services.”
Force Four Reviewing Privacy Commissioner’s recommendations
In a statement to CKNW, Force Four Entertainment says it’s reviewing the findings of Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
The production company says it’s made sure it’s complied with all legalities and obligations, “upholding the highest moral and ethical standards in relation to the travelling public, and the CBSA officers who have participated.”
Force Four says it’s proud of the show, and appreciates fans’ enthusiasm and support.