Surveillance cameras are watching you all the time.

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

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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

shoreditch

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

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9 thoughts on “Surveillance cameras are watching you all the time.

  1. I think setting CCTVs is better to do. The crime rates in cities tend to be high. In case of CCTVs are set around a city, some of the people will be hesitated to offend. And some of the other people who still do under the observation by CCTVs are needed to be recorded for investigation. Nowdays, probably, there are many terrorists in the UK. It is hard to capture them if CCTVs are not placed. Protecting private information is a important thing. However, agents at such as police are required to waste a time if they investigate everyone. This can be missing criminals.

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  2. Like many creatures, human beings are curious about their surroundings. It is part of human nature to accumulate and analyze information from the surrounded environment to react to it appropriately. In other words, human beings sense, then adapt and finally survive. And, the sight, in this case, is one of the most important senses to fulfill our curious mind. In the human history, there is never a lack of evidence of us trying to improve our sense of sight, such as telescope and optic lenses. Strategies on espionage activities were already documented by Chinese and Indian military strategists Sun-Tzu (544-496 BC) and Chanakya (350-275 BC). To sum my point up, surveillance has come a long way and it won’t stop. While surveillance was costly back in the days due to the large amount of money and time spent on training and maintaining the patrols, the social problems accompanying it were kept at a low level. With the help of modern technologies, we are suddenly able to control hundreds and thousands of ‘eyes’ with just a click away. Today, influences of surveillance are being treated seriously, because millions of lives are effected by them. In my opinion, the cameras are innocent and neutral, just like any other piece of technology out there. If we ban CCTV because of its negative effects, there will soon be another piece of technology replacing it, such as drones. And, what about satellites? They overlook even a larger area, and the accuracy i.e. picture quality can only be better in time with the help of technology. Should we ban that, too, because they might expose the private lives of people? However, will the CCTV system be the answer for public safety or maintenance of virtue? I highly doubt it, if there is not a appropriate system (initiatives, law, social support, education, policies, etc.) to support the CCTV system. Surveillance camera code of practice and the Data Protection Act still need time to evolve and reconstruct themselves, but they are definitely needed. It is highly important to regulate who can access the information accumulated by the CCTV system, how and for what purpose will the information be used. Lastly, the modern technologies have limited the CCTV system to go beyond a tool for early warning or gathering information. How we handle the information solely depend on the people who have access to it. Therefore, we need to understand that although we need to have a more efficient CCTV system; preferable less cameras, which each camera has a certain degree of mobility, it is not the solution to national and public security. It requires the society to work together as a whole. I personally find it sad that UK relies heavily on the CCTV system for public surveillance. It gives evidence of social segregation.

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  3. Like many creatures, human beings are curious about their surroundings. It is part of human nature to accumulate and analyze information from the surrounded environment to react to it appropriately. In other words, human beings sense, then adapt and finally survive. And, the sight, in this case, is one of the most important senses to fulfill our curious mind. In the human history, there is never a lack of evidence of us trying to improve our sense of sight, such as telescope and optic lenses. Strategies on espionage activities were already documented by Chinese and Indian military strategists Sun-Tzu (544-496 BC) and Chanakya (350-275 BC). To sum my point up, surveillance has come a long way and it won’t stop. While surveillance was costly back in the days due to the large amount of money and time spent on training and maintaining the patrols, the social problems accompanying it were kept at a low level. With the help of modern technologies, we are suddenly able to control hundreds and thousands of ‘eyes’ with just a click away. Today, influences of surveillance are being treated seriously, because millions of lives are effected by them. In my opinion, the cameras are innocent and neutral, just like any other piece of technology out there. If we ban CCTV because of its negative effects, there will soon be another piece of technology replacing it, such as drones. And, what about satellites? They overlook even a larger area, and the accuracy i.e. picture quality can only be better in time with the help of technology. Should we ban that, too, because they might expose the private lives of people? However, will the CCTV system be the answer for public safety or maintenance of virtue? I highly doubt it, if there is not a appropriate system (initiatives, law, social support, education, policies, etc.) to support the CCTV system. Surveillance camera code of practice and the Data Protection Act still need time to evolve and reconstruct themselves, but they are definitely needed. It is highly important to regulate who can access the information accumulated by the CCTV system, how and for what purpose will the information be used. Lastly, the modern technologies have limited the CCTV system to go beyond a tool for early warning or gathering information. How we handle the information solely depend on the people who have access to it. Therefore, we need to understand that although we need to have a more efficient CCTV system; preferable less cameras, which each camera has a certain degree of mobility, it is not the solution to national and public security. It requires the society to work together as a whole. I personally find it sad that UK relies heavily on the CCTV system for public surveillance. It gives evidence of social segregation.

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  4. I believe that if CCTV deters criminals from their acts of violence, drug dealing, theft and such like or leads to apprehension of these people then it is a positive initiative. A little while ago I lived in an area which ran its own private CCTV surveillance network and it was safe and crime free. On the other hand there are so many cameras nationally that there must be an invasion of privacy issue to consider. Can we trust the people who monitor the system to do so with impartiality or even comprehension? In my opinion the cameras are a tool for enforcement and control which is all well and good if restricted to criminal activity but in a totalitarian state could be used of more sinister purposes.
    So I believe that if the system is properly sited, maintained, monitored and is also secure then , yes, it is a system to keep us safer than we might otherwise be. But no society should delude itself that it is safe, events of recent times make that evident.
    I conclusion I must say that I hate, absolutely hate, speed cameras.

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  5. I do not think that the dense cctv usage is a good thing. Sure, it helps identify perpetrators of crime. However, it is still too much flow of information for one body to handle. If misused it can be a serious breach of privacy. The question is do we trust the cctv handlers enough to let them spy at our daily lives. There should be a middle line reached, Maybe, increase cctv in high crime areas and decrease cctv in places that statistics show crime to be relatively low.

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  6. I don’t think CCTV monitoring us is a good thing at all. If you want to avoid being targeted by criminals, then you should increase you awareness like not going at in midnight. Once there is a crime on the street, the CCTV cannot help you at that circumference, but other pedestrians can help you.
    In addition, there is no assurance that CCTV is bought in good use for citizens. If there is a corrupt officer who has the access to the video record, all our personal information will be exposed. At that time, not only we lose our privacy, but also it may lead to our property loss.

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  7. As the basic right should be guaranteed, to some extent, privacy concerns the humanity’s survival and the development. No one can always make a living under the monitor with thousands of eyes, watching you any time in daily life. If the peace and order of a society are expected to rely on surveillance cameras, I think that’s also a sorrow for this environment.

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  8. I think CCTV monitoring system is good for decreasing the rate of crime. It is also important in affecting the acts of criminals mentally and feelings of citizens in their daily life. And the cameras are all installed in public locations so I don’t think surveillance system affects the privacy of citizens.

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  9. I absolutely support CCTV program, many researches indicated that more CCTV in the street could decrease the criminals significantly. Moreover, I feel secure walking under the cameras especially at midnight because I understand it is watching me and potential criminals same time. Although some people clam that the program could store personal privacy, a well-established code could prevent this situation.

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