Ethical dilemmas of surveillance cameras have given rise to the problem of a debate between discarding the cameras and developing them further. The United Kingdom, which keeps seeking for new solutions for the public and national security, has established one of the densest CCTV system networks in the world, leaving this ethical dilemma to the world: stay or leave? In 2013 some media reports even revealed that there exist intimate data and collection collaborations between US National Security Agency and UK Government Communications Headquarters.
For surveillance system
UK is one of the most surveilled nations in the world, which has between 4 to 6 million cameras from report of BSIA (British Industry Association). Yes, cameras are watching you, but for a good reason, which is residents’ safety. Deterrence of crime is the biggest benefit of CCTV cameras. Whether the camera is installed in workplace or home, crimes can be prevented from occurring. Even if there occur problems related to theft, punctuality or other crime behaviours, cameras have the ability to provide information and solutions to prevent common workplace and residents’ home from crime target, as illustrated on report. Surveillance cameras is also helpful for policemen in chasing outlaws. For example, police from Northampton shire released CCTV images of two outlaws to help arresting them according to report on northamptonchron.co.uk.
It is claimed that the CCTV system can make people feel safer, especially protecting children in another way. Some children have posted their comments online to express their feelings on this, and almost every one of them at least affirms the safety as a significant impression about the CCTV system. Also, this system can act as the role of monitoring the children’s misbehavior, which might be beneficial for their morality education.
Surveillance system plays a big role nowadays and would replace traditional patrols system in the future. According to the article, data collection from surveillance cameras which depends on lots of human practices might be about to change due to the new technology. From U.S government, automatic computer software program for monitoring cameras would replace fallible human monitoring and increase the efficiency in investigation of crime. One moral effect is to reduce using of social resource in monitoring so that higher budget can be applied for animal protection and humane organizations. Another moral result for employees in monitoring and security guarding is reduction of overnight work and returning for them to normal live. Some night shift patrols feel difficult in sleeping and physical condition..
With the purpose of security requirements of the kingdom, before the construction and following implement of the camera policy (CCTV system), the home office has passed the bill named as Surveillance Camera Code of Practice in June 2013. This means each step should obey and conform the legal proceedings, and the public have rights to check footage of themselves if appropriate. Furthermore, those film records and related data cannot be kept indefinitely, on the contrary, they will be destroyed after a period of time according to the law provisions. In other words, the CCTV system is not the contradiction factor of generalizing this policy for public safety.
Against surveillance system
CCTV cameras allowed users to record footage for later review, to catch criminals and get equity from the law. They can’t, however, stop a crime when it is in progress. The neighbors or the police will not be alarmed during crime like an alarm system would. This implies people bring about misfortunes even as hurried to the court, make insurance claims and reorder stolen inventory. Even a murder happened, the CCTV camera only can record the murder occur but won’t stop it. Therefore, people property and personal safety cannot be guaranteed.
In the other hand, CCTV cameras constantly monitor the activities of people working and living in a location. What’s more, installing a CCTV camera in the wrong place could lead to a privacy violation, as suggested by the Video Surveillance Guide website, the use of CCTV can be an invasion of privacy. The cameras are capable of recording innocent people going about their daily activities. Under the Human Rights Act 1988 the use of CCTV in certain circumstances can be seen as an infringement on privacy. An individual who installs a CCTV camera that points on their neighbor’s property can be encroach on the neighbor’s right to privacy.
People in the UK today are becoming increasingly concerned about respect for their private life and private information: In July 2009, a Liberty-YouGov poll found that 77 per cent of those questioned believed the UK has become a surveillance society. This is 20 per cent more than those questioned two years previously. And 95 per cent of those questioned in a poll in December 2009 said they thought that the right to privacy was vital or important.
UK has almost 4 million of surveillance cameras, but this high capacity could be meaningless as large proportion of them installed repeatedly in one place or wrong place. In order to maintain large amount of cameras operating normally, UK government spend huge found, and as many of them are actually useless, capital waste is significant. In addition, records should be viewed by operator and the cost of time is assignable, therefore, in some case CCTV system could be inefficient.
According to surveillance camera code of practice and the Data Protection Act, CCTV cameras must be visible with clear signs. However, some report indicate that large percentage cameras, up to 90 per cent, breach this act in order to operate more effective and determine crime some of the cameras are not installed in a conspicuous place. In addition, operators of CCTV system have an obligation to prevent the leakage of camera records and pictures to the third public or public. In practice, records are not stored with a secure method, and by the increasing number of using digital cameras, camera records could be stolen by hacker even easier.
26: Qinan Peng, Xiayi Jiang, Chenxing Ling, Keya Li