We are being watched by surveillance system everyday

The surveillance system is widely applied in our daily life. However, the controversy regarding privacy and security has been aroused in public. In the UK, the surveillance systems have been reinforcing public security for over decades.

Nevertheless, there are some opposing views which point out the negative impacts on privacy and social consciousness. Therefore, this blog will discuss this debate and how that relates to the social and ethical topical issues in engineering.

The social benefits that the operation of surveillance
systems could possibly bring to us.

With the aid of public surveillance camera systems, the difficulty level of deterring and reducing crimes is significantly reduced. For example, a small-scale surveillance system is possible to be installed under the cost of £50. Therefore, at this cost range it’s a cost-effective way to improve security level, and keeping insurance premiums down.

Considering the application in public field. Surveillance systems have great value in ensuring public security level and the potential in deterring crimes. Recent research has shown that the surveillance cameras have significant positive impacts on deterring crimes, especially for pre-planned crimes. Rarely anyone would take the risk of being arrested to perform illegal actions when they understand that their actions are possibly being recorded on surveillance cameras. On the other hand, public places with surveillance cameras could make people feel safer due to potential muggers or attackers will be repressed. The surveillance systems could help police to identify and find clues of offenders. Therefore, it has the potential to increase the detection rate and find out whoever is behind a series of crimes, such as vandalism or anti-social behaviour [1].

Considering the negative side of applying surveillance system, some views have indicated that we should not have security cameras in sensitive public places. The supporters claim that this is an invasion of personal privacy [2]. A person should be responsible to the others in a public place. When you’re in public space, you’re in the eye of public. So what’s the difference in being watched by surveillance cameras? The film would not be put on public television. The police are not going to arrest the innocent. Surveillance cameras are meant to keep people and their property safe, not to stalk them. Cameras are there not to invade privacy but to protect the public by deterring criminal activities [3]. Furthermore by providing material evidence when a crime has been caught on film, especially in abduction case, a video would be a great way to track down suspects quickly and preventing unnecessary injuries.

Surveillance cameras are important to deter crimes, when we are considering about privacy problems, it is important to recognise the purpose of the surveillance cameras. Who is really behind the camera is an important question for privacy safety. In fact, government has already established laws to enforce agencies or private user formulate on how surveillance cameras could be used and the disciplinary consequences for misuse [4]. Likewise, officers are asked to be thoroughly trained on these policies and held accountable for abiding by them. Therefore, People do not need to worry too much about their privacy safety.

The negative impacts that the operation of
surveillance systems in the ethical concerns.

Surveillance should be abandoned due to the fact that every citizen is entitled to have privacy. Although security camera is designed to protect our life and fortune, it is inevitable that human being is invaded of privacy right by these surveillances and closed-circuit television.

Everyone’s actions and behaviours are being monitored by various organizations such as companies, schools, and governments. Applying surveillance system is not a completely safe method to protect fortune and life for human beings. The minority of people who have the access surveillance system, their private life are being recorded to the public. Furthermore, few people would have the potential to take advantages from these videos. For example, trading information to make profits, committing crimes and terrorism. From this aspect of view, it would potentially result more threats to the publics. For instant, terrorists can hack into the monitoring system, which offers some fatal information to implement terrorist attack. The similar situation happened in 2000 at Australia that one person hacked into Maroochy Shire waste management control system and released millions of gallons of raw sewage into the town. Moreover, this situation led to 10 deaths and 8.5 billion dollars financial loss. Other examples are that some voyeur would use security camera to implement perpetration of crime, and economic criminals will steal commercial intelligence from other companies through hacking into the central control room of monitoring system [5].

Every company will install the security camera, and this is a facilitate way to steal information. As a result, EU government has legislated laws and implement commercial procedures to protect business. At the same time, security camera would also cause the psychological disease for people. There was a research conducted by a group in 2003 that they found people who lived in monitored places have higher rate of getting depressive disorder than people who lived without monitoring. People would feel under pressure when they are monitored by security camera, and they feel oppressing sensation. Some people also have ineffective work when they get monitored, and they would feel someone watching them when working, which made them hard to concentrate on their works. This situation is mainly found in government office, especially in the state-owned enterprise. With recording our life by others, surveillance possesses everyone’s personal details and information, which should be protected and concealed, because privacy right is a vital matter to everyone in the world. The surveillance that offers the access to others’ privacy is unethical means to protect life and fortune. Instead, the closed-circuit television has ruined the basic right of privacy of human being, deprived the liberty of individuals, and caused social problems. Reducing the unnecessary use of surveillance and utilizing surveillance system properly is a best way to create a private environment for every citizen [6].

Further information about surveillance system has been introduced; what kind of method can be used for protecting individual privacy? What kind of situation is necessary for placing surveillance system?

30: Chenyu GAO, Yunhou WANG, Cuiwen HUANG, Xin BAI

7 thoughts on “We are being watched by surveillance system everyday

  1. I think CCTV is much necessary in the world, when i stayed in developing country, every shop and restaurant need to install the surveillance system. Police can be everywhere. Actually,purpose of installing monitoring is to protect our property safety, furthermore, video could provide a good video proof to restore the site if there were the disputes or differences events, monitoring is not used to violate the privacy of others, people should not feel being suspected by others when they find CCTV some places, on the contrary, the monitoring focus on villain, regardless of the gentleman, and it will create a safe environment for everyone. At the same time, Monitoring system is playing an important role in production and daily life. It has been an integral part of safety barrier in banks, supermarkets, shopping malls, stores, factories, schools, community, Internet cafes, public transport and other public areas, furthermore, public security organs crack a criminal case through using the surveillance video. I think the importance of surveillance system is not comprehensive in this blog, i summarize the impacts in four aspects:

    Firstly,the working people will have to focus on the job and it will improve the work efficiency,and manager can control the whole working area;
    Secondly,the video playback can find the thieves, which is a effective way to catch criminals or provide the important clues to public security organs;
    Thirdly,providing the deterrent effect to villain,because the thieves will not steal products if they know the CCTV is watching them;
    Finally,the convenient understanding of management personnel in a timely grasp the production, work progress and status, and manager can monitor the area in real time.


  2. The surveillance system is not good for my life, i worked in an international company, the CCTV was installed everywhere, i felt being monitored everyday, and i worked under pressure all the time ,when i stayed in that company for one year, i was attacked by headache, and i could not sleep at night, then i felt sleepy at working, and i also could not concentrate on my job. Finally, i quit from that company and was employed by a small company. The new company only have eight staffs, and we sat in one small room, but there was no cameras, i felt relax, and i worked effectively.By the way, people in company don’t want to steal anything in company, especially in the big company, because the job is more worthy and stable than stealing something. It means that the CCTV should not be installed in each corner in a company.


  3. It is obvious that the surveillance system is useful, but the blog said about the privacy of people, I think the CCTV should be legal only in public area, the people should pay attention to themselves when they stay in public area, because the private things should be done in private places. As a result, people should not feel being monitored if they just do the normal behaviors and work hard when staying in company, and the CCTV in company is necessary, because the leader of companies pay salary to employ the stuff, so they need to make profit from employees, and it is the responsibility of staffs to work hard and don’t loaf on the job. On the other hand, the surveillance is the best way to protect people from criminals, and staffs in companies will be more normative when the CCTV exist.


  4. I totally agree that surveillance camera disrupted people’s life due to privacy issue. Security cameras everywhere would make me feel less sense of safety. We don’t know who is behind the surveillance and watching us. For example, when I take a lift, the security camera would make me feel uncomfortable in such a closed environment. With regard to ethical value, security camera did invade personal privacy; especially some bad people would take advantage of surveillance to snoop or track others.


  5. When it comes to surveillance system, it reminds me of the TV drama called “Person of Interest”. In this drama, a mass-surveillance computer system could monitor every person’s life, and provide identity of potential victims or criminals. Although I think surveillance system could track people and provide evidence for the police, security cameras destroy the privacy right of the public, which is not ethical. The officials would have access to these videos. As authors mentioned, the scandals like trading information to make profits happened all the time in different countries. Surveillance is essential in our life, but how to protect our privacy also needs to be paid attention.


  6. Surveillance can prevent from crimes and make society orderly. Although protecting individual privacy is important, government requires CCTV to control and monitor people’s behaviour in public places. I don’t think surveillance system would invade private rights, because the law and rules need to be implemented under monitoring. For example in China, if there were no security cameras on roads, people would break the traffic law more often. People got fluke mind to do something. However, surveillance system could make people behave well and observe rules.


  7. Whether the surveillance cameras should be widely installed in public area has been a long-standing debate. According to the feedback comments, the opposition opinions are concentrated in the complexity of public environment and no doubt that there are some potential threats to the public interests. Installing surveillance cameras in public area would enhance the effect of deterrence to misdoing and reinforce forensics of criminal cases. But people have to admit that the result is uncontrollable. It is difficult to justify how much positive role the surveillance system has played if the damage to personal privacy has also been taken into consideration. The situation would even get worse if the data was used for personal gain.

    Furthermore, the feedback comments have also related that the psychological pressure brought by surveillance system should also draw more attention. It is undeniable that nobody is willing to work under others’ monitoring. Due to difference in patience of individuals, some people would really feel offended by surveillance cameras which would affect the enthusiasm in work. It is true that surveillance video could be the key to solve criminal cases but the effect is limited, it provided a way to identify convicts but it would not help if the convicts do not feel dread from surveillance. To reduce crime rate fundamentally requires the improvement of personal qualities. It is decided by the education level, moral values and standard of living that surveillance would never be able to change and provide.

    However, the contribution to public safety from surveillance system could not be ignored although there are some privacy issues caused by it. The reflection shows most of people agree that the surveillance system could control the potential criminals effectively. However the surveillance system may cause people under the system feel secure. It is undeniable that there are some misunderstanding about the privacy and the surveillance system. Many people could not identify the differences between public surveillance system and privacy security camera. In fact, most of public surveillance systems which belong to the police would not violate person’s privacy. Government has already using logical way to avoid the invasion of privacy. On the other hand, the private surveillance system belongs to individual or companies were strictly limited by rules and law. Many people may do an overreaction to the privacy problem caused by surveillance system.

    In conclusion, neither stopping the development of surveillance nor applying surveillance beyond reasonable region could be the best answer to this debate. Considering the wide range of feedbacks we have obtained and further information gathered on internet we support our original judgement which states that “surveillance cameras are doing more good than harm”. It is agreed that at current development stage of our society, the surveillance cameras are operating with many ethical issues. For example, the phenomenon relating to indiscriminate use of surveillance information is serious and psychological pressure brought by surveillance cameras also could not be ignored. However, the benefits have exceeded the worries by providing a safer public environment.


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