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 .
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 . 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 . 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 . 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 .
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 .
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