“Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively” (Wikipedia). In this world, everyone likes to be private sometimes and other people have to respect the other persons opinion. There have been many cases in which people used many different devices to invade other people’s privacy. One of the main devices used are security cameras. Security cameras appear to be in each and every corner of the world. The main use of a security camera is to protect the public from a certain kind of threat. Even though security cameras have many advantages, they have some disadvantages when misused. Currently, there are no laws in Singapore protecting individuals from the scrutiny of the surveillance cameras. This technology is also changing our moral and ethical values along with the way we employ them. There is no doubt that installing surveillance cameras provide individuals a sense of security as these surveillance cameras will provide a deterrent against crime. However, with the increasing use of surveillance camera in the society, and growing at a tremendous rate, one wonders if privacy is eroding.
The use of security cameras is rising day by day, but with that, more privacy issues are being raised. Currently, security cameras are not only being used by authority, but also by many other people and secret firms. The use of CCTV (closed circuit television) devices have become so widely used that they have affected the way people are living these days. Probably few years ago, they were used in banks and high security areas, but now we see a camera anywhere we go, let it be a shopping mall, or a school, streets and many other places. Security cameras are installed to record the live happenings going on. It can record the crime but cannot stop the crime from happening . Yes, these video recordings are definitely useful for solving the crime. Considering the number of cameras, many issues have arrived about cameras invading people’s privacy. Many people contend that the steady video surveillance is an invasion of their privacy (wikipedia ). I believe in this because there have been many cases where cameras have been misused and lot of people have been blackmailed.
Devices such as security cameras might pose a threat to an individual’s privacy by monitoring them day in and day out. There are many cons when we are talking about security cameras falling into a wrong person’s hands. They could monitor you every day, then at some point later, they might use the video to blackmail the other person. For example, on February 18th, 2015, security guards from Westfield Sydney shopping center in Australia, used the CCTV cameras to stalk women (9 news). When we think about security guards, the first thing that comes to our mind is that they are here to protect us, but from the example above, it’s absolutely shocking to see that they themselves are misusing the CCTV cameras and posing a threat to the public. Another main example is that, when people go to an ATM to withdraw money, the cameras inside could be hacked and the person who has hacked the camera can easily get all the details of persons bank account information which is also a serious threat.
Coming back to the topic of privacy, every person has the right to privacy and other people not to invade their privacy. Security cameras are installed to make sure that there is no threat to public, but there have been cases where in an area with lots of cameras has a higher crime rate than other places with less number of cameras. The only benefit of having security cameras is that it will make the world a safer place for public, other than that criminals are smart enough to just look around and commit a crime in a cameras blind spot. Almost all of the cameras are really big and can be easily seen and can be blocked. Probably, if the authority would actually make the cameras a bit smaller and look like it’s hidden , there is a lower chance of any crime happening. Sometimes the cameras are just there and no one monitors them and gives the public a false hope of safety. The cameras cause an individual to feel discomforted as the public feels that each and every step of them is being monitored and because of this, many people cannot concentrate on their work(Prezi). Sometimes information from the video recordings might reach corrupt officials who can then use the particular information in an incorrect way or they might use it for blackmailing purposes. Movies too nowadays show the public ways in which security cameras can be misused and because of that some people might get influenced and do the same thing in real life. Installing CCTV cameras in schools and colleges interferes with the student and a teacher’s privacy, also the teachers performance might be affected with continuous surveillance and at the end, there wouldn’t be any trust left between the students, teachers and principals. CCTV’s when installed in offices or workplaces, employers think that it is a plus point having these cameras, but it affects the employees performance and also increase their stress. This also demoralizes the employees.
Another example for this particular topic is a game called Watchdogs. The game starts in Chicago, Illinois where there is a large population and probably one of the major cities in the United States of America. The lead character in the game has a phone through which he can hack anything in the game, from traffic signals and cars to security cameras. This game is just predicting what the future might look like. When the character uses his phone to hack the security cameras, he can just scan an individual’s face and get all the details of that particular individual, from their name to address to their job and bank account details. Of course there are lot of hackers nowadays and these kinds of stuff might happen in the near future. If the businesses develop a software that cannot be hacked, then the cameras would be a good device to use otherwise anyone can just scan your face and empty your bank balance. Sometimes the authorities install dummy cameras which are not that expensive to install, but o install the high -tech models, even a single camera alone can cost up to a thousand dollars and it doesn’t stop there. Every year you have to pay maintenance fees, which would again cost you a lot of money. One of the other disadvantages is that the wired cameras are fixed at one place and cannot be moved to another place if needed immediately and the older versions cannot monitor wider areas. Nowadays, wireless cameras are also available but, their functioning can be affected when any other electrical devices are being used. When compared to human forces, cameras cannot judge whether the person is right or wrong, and most of the times, terrorists go unnoticed with weapons.
At the end, to stop the misuse of security cameras, other than the places that need high security, should be made available to only businesses and firms who have a license and have a valid reason for the use of such devices. In conclusion, despite the fact that there are unquestionable benefits on using surveillance devices such as cameras, we must stop the need for security cameras with respect for the individual’s privacy and freedom. We also need to develop clearer rules about when and where surveillance cameras should be used, which are now absent. It makes sense to have cameras in places where crime are of particular concern such as in near major bridges and tunnels. It would be more bothering to learn, although, that the authority has centered cameras on the front doors of our houses just to keep track of our comings and goings.