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Debate: Video surveillance

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Is video surveillance in public places justifiable?

Background and context

Video surveillance is used for monitoring security of places and if the monitored place is robbed, people will be able to look at the tapes and catch the criminal.

Some facts about surveillance:

From Wikipedia

  • The state and security services still have the most powerful surveillance systems, because they are enabled under the law. But today levels of state surveillance have increased, and using computers they are now able to draw together many different information sources to produce profiles of persons or groups in society.
  • Many large corporations now use various form of "passive" surveillance. This is primarily a means of monitoring the activities of staff and for controlling public relations. But some large corporations actively use various forms of surveillance to monitor the activities of activists and campaign groups who may impact their operations.
  • Many companies trade in information lawfully, buying and selling it from other companies or local government agencies who collect it. This data is usually bought by companies who wish to use it for marketing or advertising purposes.
  • Personal information is obtained by many small groups and individuals. Some of this is for harmless purposes, but increasingly sensitive personal information is being obtained for criminal purposes, such as credit card and other types of fraud.

Contents

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Privacy: Do surveillance cameras avoid invading privacy?

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Yes

  • Surveillance cameras are not closely monitored and are only usually viewed if a crime has taken place. It is certainly not the case that people monitor all security cameras closely 24/7. Most surveillance tapes are rarely seen. Usually surveillance cameras are only viewed if they have filmed a crime and are viewed only to catch criminals, not to invade people's privacy or stalk people.
  • It is no different to police monitoring a dangerous area. Video surveillance is no different than a police officer watching over the street. Who doesn't want extra police officers watching over streets with high crime? Surveillance tapes do not invade any privacy; they are only there to protect the public.
  • There is not much privacy in public places. Video surveillance would certainly not invade privacy in any way in a public place. In public places, there is publicity. And in private places, there is privacy. People should not be worried about what other people see. People will see them no matter if they are there at the place itself or watching through a camera. Also cameras in public places are not made for those who are nosy and wish to spy on others. The police do their duty to protect the public, not to giggle and gawk at what they are doing.


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No

  • Surveillance cameras can be viewed by any authorised person, at any time. Anyone can view surveillance tapes and use them to spy on people or track a person illegally. They can evade privacy easily and anyone will get filmed whether they like it or not. Usually people need to sign release papers to have footage shown of them, and if they don't it is illegal.
  • Filming without consent is actually illegal. Filming people without consent is against the law and that is exactly what surveillance cameras do. They also take away people's right to confidentiality and privacy.


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Prosecution: Are crime cameras helpful in prosecuting crimes?

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Pro

  • Crime cameras offer conclusive, unbiased evidence in court. New Orleans Mayor Nagin said in 2005 when unveiling his crime camera program: "These cameras not only record crime, they are witnesses that cannot be intimidated."[1] Indeed, when crime cameras capture a crime, they expose the reality of those involved and the details of their actions. They reveal the truth, upon which justice relies. This stands in stark contrast with less detailed testimonies and heresy, making cameras particularly valuable to the justice system.


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Con


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Security: Do surveillance cameras work to protect the public?

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Yes

  • Crime deterrence. Although video surveillance cameras cannot physically protect the public, it is arguable that they in fact do protect the public because they are made to help catch criminals and can help police realize extra precautions that can be taken to avoid the problem at a later date. With the assistance of recording in public places, we can enable more safety precautions and families can feel much safer knowing that the police are on their side and looking out for them.


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No

  • Surveillance cameras cannot physically protect the public, only film what is happening.
  • Often surveillance camera images are not clear and police cannot identify the criminal.
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Economics: Are the cameras worth purchasing?

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Yes

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No

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Reliability: Is the technology reliable?

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Yes

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No

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See also

External links and resources

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