March 11, 2011

Millions of Watchful Eyes

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 2:18 am

by:  Scott Smith


Ever since security cameras became popular and convenient for companies to use to protect themselves and their property; their numbers have grown exponentially.  There were many reasons to the sudden growth of security cameras including the increasing availability of new technology as society went through a ‘technological boom.’  Now small cameras that can be easily concealed are available to the public.  Even though the millions of security cameras that watch us every day provide security, we are trading this security for a large portion of our private space.

These new security cameras have the ability to do things only seen in sci-fi movies just years earlier.  Vlahos describes how the most advanced security cameras can use facial recognition technology to track your location where ever you go.  I definitely feel a little violated knowing that someone out there could know exactly where I am and what I was doing just because I showed my face in front of security camera.  Not only do the cameras have access to watching you, but your online activity can be monitored too.  Employers are the biggest users of this feature to keep an eye on their employees.  Would you feel comfortable at working knowing that your boss was watching your every move?

There are arguments that security cameras provide a feeling of protection.  I know that I personally feel safer in a building that has security guards overseeing the activities.  Cameras are also a great means in protecting personal valuables.  A great example of the sci-fi (which has become our reality) are the cameras used in casinos in the Ocean’s series.  The high tech cameras in this movie can detect heat and recognize faces.  There have been security cameras that have saved lives or brought justice to murderers and thieves.  So, there is no doubt that having an extra overseer that never blinks or needs a break has huge benefits on the public.  My argument that we are trading a vast amount of our privacy for this security is vastly overlooked by the public.

We may feel safer, but cameras are over running our country.  I, like many others, have fell victim to the new type of law enforcement:  red light cameras.  Law enforcements are now using cameras to do their job for them.  Using security cameras does not necessarily provider increased safety, but it definitely costs petty law breakers a lot more money.  Working out of the view of the public also presents the opportunity for the observer to be as biased as he or she pleases.  Camera crews can be hired to use hidden cameras to spy on spouses or friends that you believe to be deceiving you.  Reality television now has television series completely based on hidden cameras watching people’s everyday lives.  We sit and enjoy the comical and usually embarrassing adventures of others without stopping to realize that we are the stars of our own show to someone every day.

Many believe that there is no stopping the takeover of security cameras.  There have been plenty of examples were the courts have ruled in favor of security cameras.  The courts explain that whenever an individual ventures into the public, all their actions are for the public view and that’s why security cameras are legal.  However, I don’t think it is right that these ‘public actions’ should be saved and used to track certain individuals.  I believe that this is a breach of our privacy and safety because a lot of the footage can be accessed by the public in some way or another.  The public should be educated on how often they are being observed because if we leave the security cameras go unchecked we will live in a world dominated by video surveillance.



  1. By: Hilario Cabrera

    i agree with the use of security cameras. the name even implies that it is for our own ‘security’. i doubt that anybody with the access to these security cameras would be keeping track of what we do or where we are just because they are bored. i would believe that most companies with security cameras only have a person watching all the cameras at once so for them to focus on a specific person, that person would need to be suspicious or be doing something wrong to attract the attention of the security camera guard.

    some security cameras are always on and nobody is ever monitoring them because it is a waste of time for the most part. the security camera tapes are only checked when something happens that requires the employer to check the tapes to see if the cameras caught anything. which doesnt happen sometimes because the security cameras are mostly always visible to the public so we know we are being watched, so if we don’t want to attract attention to ourselves then dont do anything that could attract attention to yourself in front of the security cameras.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  2. Devina Mehta

    I agree with Scott. It is almost like every day of our lives is like a Big Brother episode. I agree that it may be an invasion of space. However, I also agree that that they are very necessary for security. I personally am now extra careful I do not get close to running a red light due to the proliferation of cameras on street lights. Others probably feel the same way I do so this technique has possibly saved many lives and prevented many accidents. Also, if I or someone I love was ever a victim of a crime I would be very adamant about justice being served. One of the most used ways is security cameras, as long as they are implemented properly. Not too long ago, there was an incident of a man being caught on a street security camera disposing a woman’s body into a dumpster. However, since this was a relatively poor area of NYC, the quality of the security camera was low and a clear image of the man was not recorded. This absolutely annoyed me when I heard it on the news. Though the murder was later found due to fingerprints, this incident still shows the faults of security cameras. That is why more than anything I believe that ensuring that security cameras are being used correctly is of highest priority.

    Also, though these cameras may be invading our private space, how would we go about limiting their use? It would be hard to decide where and when they could be used and if the locations of the security cameras was well known to criminals, more and more crimes would happen in those areas because the fear of being taped would be gone. for the story of NYC woman

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  3. By: Dylan Schnormeier
    The added security we get with these cameras is worth the privacy we lose. Without these, we would still have certain criminals walking the streets. I believe that some people are prevented from committing a crime if they know there is a security camera. Yes these videos can be made available to the public but not all the time.
    My mom works in a pharmacy and they just recently installed security cameras. These cameras are not hooked up to the internet in any way. The cameras record right to a tape. Sure that might be a bit old school but they just reuse the tapes if nothing bad happens on that tape. Normally the tapes are only checked if something is wrong, such as a missing item or a suspicious person is seen inside. So most of the time, none of this footage is seen by anyone.
    I have nothing to hide and I don’t plan on committing any crimes. Because of those two things, I am not bothered by security cameras. I can remember walking into Mcdonalds when I was little and I’d look up to see myself in the security monitor. It never bothered me. The pros outweigh the cons in a situation like this. Security cameras are necessary and we are safer because of them.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

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