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Do Surveillance Cameras Invade Privacy?

Many countries around the world have employed public surveillance cameras as a primary tool for monitoring population movements and preventing terrorism. Apart from the governments, homeowners are increasingly installing these devices within their properties for monitoring when they are not within the premises. They can be used to detect forced entry, deter trespassers, and even monitor children and pets.

Surveillance Camera

Surveillance Cameras and Security

- Several nations around the world have realized the importance of these devices in the fight against crime. In fact, these days, crime has risen tremendously. This has stretched the available law and enforcement agencies beyond their capability. On top of that, law and security agencies need to keep an eye on the various illegal, antisocial, and immoral happenings in order to curb them and mete punishment to the culprits.

- Surveillance cameras have also been installed in lifts to stop activities such as urination and smoking. They are also installed on roads to monitor movement of traffic and monitor pedestrians and motorists committing traffic offences. Taxi drivers have also installed surveillance cameras in their cars to monitor passengers with ulterior motives. Therefore, anybody with negative thoughts would be ultimately deterred by the presence of surveillance cameras. Shops have also installed surveillance cameras to prevent robbery and shop lifting.

- Security cameras are normally installed at public places such as streets, shopping malls, and other areas where there is frequent public activity. Therefore, any happenings in those areas can be clearly monitored. This makes sure that the particular premise is protected such as a jewelry store, including the people around and within it. It has been noted that the presence of surveillance cameras at certain public places or strategic locations may prevent antisocial elements from doing criminal activities such as theft, murder, robbery, or rape.

- The help that security cameras have been providing to various security and law enforcement agencies in Singapore in catching criminals sometimes seems to be unparalled. Apart from law enforcement agencies, individuals round the world have learnt the importance of using security cameras, in gathering important data, especially in extreme cases such as bomb blasts.

- One of the most notable impacts of surveillance cameras was during the Boston marathon bombings in 2013 and the Mumbai attack in 2008. Surveillance cameras played a crucial role in identifying the culprits through the footage that had been captured on that particular day. The cameras were able to capture images of terrorists who carried out the atrocious acts that day.

Surveillance Camera

- Therefore, surveillance cameras can provide very crucial evidence. Such evidence can be used by security and law enforcement agencies to carry out investigations, identify the real culprits, and arrest them. This goes a long way in minimizing terror and other criminal activities.

Surveillance Cameras and Privacy

- Despite all the benefits that come with security cameras in fighting crime and terror, the investigation process by security officers leads some people arguing that it is an intrusion of privacy. It has been argued time and again that it is the right of every human being to personal privacy.

- Surveillance cameras have a tendency of monitoring a certain place constantly, including the people present. After the bombings at Boston marathon, some people called for the installation of more surveillance cameras at public places. However, some critics of surveillance cameras are of the opinion that such move is dangerous, as it infringes the civil liberties guaranteed in the constitution.

- If surveillance cameras are thoughtlessly installed in your bedroom, that would amount to intrusion of your own privacy. Additionally, surveillance cameras should not be installed in a manner that captures a section or all of a neighbor’s property since this would constitute to an act of harassment.

- Some employers on the other hand have installed surveillance cameras at their work premises, to monitor employees. They want to ensure that employees are not wasting time surfing the internet or downloading music when they should be working. These employees will feel offended when they know that their employer is spying on them. hostility and mistrust might occur, which will even lower the overall productivity.

Surveillance Camera

- It is important to realize that although many people in Singapore might consider social and national security more important than personal privacy, the criticism for surveillance cameras has its own validity.

- According to human rights activists, installation of security cameras everywhere contributes to a police state, which is not something that many people would welcome. This implies that you are perpetually monitored by security agencies, including the government, which is very harmful to your intellectual privacy. In simpler terms, you would be under the constant monitoring by an unknown person in an unknown location.

- With the increasing population in several government agencies, Singapore citizens are not very comfortable with too much information being out there with the government. You are no longer sure who will access your information, whether authorized or unauthorized. Additionally, some people feel that corrupt authorities may blackmail, harass individuals, or even misuse information. Though it may not happen always, when it does, it can have dire consequences.

- Some critics have also argued that most surveillance cameras, especially those installed by state or government agencies do not work. Some acts of violence happen right at areas where there are security cameras, thus making them ineffective in the war against crime and terror.

Bottom line

Therefore, it is important to understand the need to install surveillance cameras in areas where they will not intrude in peoples own privacy. It can be an abuse of surveillance cameras if they can be used to monitor the personal information of an individual. Users must also exercise responsibility when using responsibility. Footage should not be made public or distributed to unauthorized people. Any abuse of surveillance footage should be met with punishments

Although we cannot deny the fact that surveillance cameras adversely affect your personal privacy, we cannot forget that they have become a necessity. In modern times, terrorism, racism and other burning issues have increased the need for surveillance cameras. They have proven very useful in providing security agencies with important information that has led to the arrest of perpetrators. Just like computers, surveillance cameras have their own mistakes. However, if you are a responsible citizen, you will prioritize safety over privacy.

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