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Big Brother video surveillance

Big Brother video surveillance

Video surveillance was once used only by those who could afford it such as banks, casinos and government agencies but in the modern city it seems there is a remote controlled camera on every corner. Surveillance is now a million dollar industry producing everything from tiny spy cams to large, digital surveillance systems - and it is available to everyone.

Video surveillance can be found in almost every public area conceivable such as malls, on ATM machines, on the streets and even in residential areas where crime is a recurring problem. Visual surveillance systems were originally intended to deter crime such as breaking and entering, and other anti-social behaviors.

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Digital video surveillance: does it curb crime?

Seeing as some anti-social behaviors may pose a threat to other members of the public it could be argued that authorities are justified in keeping an eye on them. Unfortunately not all public behaviors under surveillance fall under the category of 'anti-social'. The problem with remotely controlled video surveillance is that you don't know who is watching you and what their intentions are.

Ownership of CCTV video footage, and who is allowed to see it, is still a bit of a grey area in the law. Surveillance footage recorded in places like stores, offices and banks is usually privately owned.

Public police video surveillance footage can technically be considered 'public record' meaning just about anyone can ask for it. Not only does this mean that surveillance footage is easily accessible but it also means that there isn't much stopping it from being broadcast on television shows.

In some cases police officers or security guards tend to single out certain people because of their color, ethnicity or dress. It seems there are still far more questions than there are answers in the ongoing debate concerning digital video surveillance and public privacy rights.