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Surveillance Cameras and Privacy (Research Paper Sample)


A paper on privacy


Surveillance Cameras and Privacy
Date of submission
Video surveillance is slowly but strongly enforcing itself in the society today. CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment including software can be found almost everywhere. The law enforcement agents are using CCTV footages to identify and prosecute criminals. CCTV cameras are found in banking halls, the mall and also on the streets. CCTV cameras are very handy in deterring criminal activities and maintaining harmony on the streets but in not properly utilized can lead to invasion of privacy. The private space of an individual is where they are not under any unauthorized surveillance (Harris 2004) The fourth amendment law protects the privacy of individuals.
According to this law surveillance camera can only be used in public place to monitor people or activities (Nieto 1997). Therefore it is against the law to record people unknowingly in areas that are considered to require some form of privacy. These includes: locker rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. It is a crime in states like Florida to record people using hidden cameras without their consent. Another controversial concerning surveillance and privacy is the use of hidden cameras in the workplace. The company has to get prior permission to install and use the hidden cameras in workplace otherwise the footage got cannot be used to incriminate anyone. Employees get protections from hidden cameras from their labor organizations but this is not enough. Small office workers or the average employees cannot benefit from such laws since the employers can install hidden cameras wherever they want including restrooms and nothing can be done about it (Allen e.tal 2007).
The use of CCTV cameras was a superb idea but nowadays its use has overstepped the boundaries (Paul 2012). They are used everywhere and in some places their use isn't effective at all. Local government organizations are installing CCTV haphazardly without contemplating if they will become effective. For instance a total of about 3000 surveillance cameras are to be installed in New York (ACLU 2012). For all there is, this will help minimize privacy instead of promoting harmony and preventing crime. It would have been more effective to employ the same number of police officers instead. Initially CCTV cameras were meant to curb crime but nowadays they are used on everything such as monitoring traffic and monitoring parking space. This wide use has led to proliferating into the lives of other people for instance a case whereby a security officer was using CCTV camera to ogle ladies in an airport. Cases of inappropriate harassment from dropping litter or even failing to clean up after their dogs, has been seen from use of CCTV surveillance.
This is not a bad thing but it beats the logic of using CCTV cameras in the first place. Local authorities should thus analyze the effectiveness and cost of using surveillance as opposed to other protective measures. The gaps in knowledge was identified by misunderstanding the ultimate use of CCTV surveillance and other type of surveillance and this was filled by comprehending its uses and how they are being used as at now. Also the issue of privacy in surveillance was incorporated into knowledge by identifying cases that infringed into the privacy of individuals.

Complex or Simple

Main Point

My Take-Away

. Allen, Myria, Coopman Stephanie, Hart Joy, and Walker Kasey. “Workplace Surveillance and Managing Privacy Boundaries.” Management Communication Quarterly, 21 (2007): 172-200.


Implications from the use of Surveillance cameras in workplace

* Cameras infringe privacy of workers at workplace
* Workers cannot deter installation of surveillance cameras even via their labor organizations
* Hidden cameras should not be placed in all areas of the workplace like restrooms

BBC. “Is CCTV Creeping too Far?” BBC News Magazine. 2011. Web. April 26, 2012.
Lorna, Harris. ”Employee Video Surveillance Challenged under New Privacy Law.” Canadian HR Reporter, 17 (2004): 5.


Use of CCTV for surveillance has overstepped the

* Vast use of CCTV in U.K(over 4500)
* Proliferation of surveillance into privacy
* Pressure groups like No CCTV emerging

Payne, Paul. “A sense of Security or Invasion of Privacy.” Press Democrat. 2007. Web. 4 /26/ 2012.


Surveillance cameras invade into the privacy of individuals

* Use of surveillance cameras infringes privacy
* Surveillance cameras don't aid in preventing crime
* Cameras are handy in investigations

Marcus Nieto. “Public Video Surveillance: Is It An Effective Crime "Prevention Tool?” (1997) retrieved /crb/97/05/


Surveillance not an effective crime preventi...
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