CCTV – For or Against Privacy and Security?

I am going to make a very bold statement that “due to the era we live in, there will always be the issue of privacy whether it is online or in the real world. Celebrity nude leaking scandals, phone hacking scandals, Jay Z fights in lifts, Justin Bieber mug shots being leaked and even photographers with long range lenses – there are just to be countless ways to invading people’s privacy.

CCTV Cameras

The longest standing dispute over privacy seems to be CCTV Cameras. For some they have just faded into the background however others despise the creation of them and protest / cause criminal damage to get rid of them.

CCTV cameras were originally created for one thing which was to increase safety. The theory goes that just the sight of a CCTV camera is enough to scare a criminal away from committing their horrific crimes. In a number of instances this has actually worked for example on public transport: there was once a time where parents (much like mine) would not let their kids travel on public transport (mainly buses) because of dangers such as muggings. The introduction of CCTV cameras on public transport has led to a 50% decline in crimes such as muggings which is revolutionary. So can these figures be argued with? Is the perceived invasion of privacy worth it? Some will argue not and that the decline in crime on high streets around the country has only fallen by around 5% which is considerably less then above.

Campaigners argue that the millions of tax payer money spent on CCTV should be better spent for example on increased police presence through regular police patrols. It has often been taken the ‘mick’ out of about the volume of cameras on London streets – even in films such as “Fast and Furious 6” and some councils are taking this a step too far with the introduction of “Talking CCTV Cameras”. These cameras stream live footage back to the base where if an officer sees you for example littering then they can tell you (via megaphone) to put the rubbish in the bin. Fair enough? It can reduce littering right? But many people do not like the thought of being watched.
It is a similar to the ideas behind the camera cars, people don’t like the idea of it catching them out parking wise but at the same time they shouldn’t be illegally parked.

There is no denying that without CCTV cameras the police force (which also has mixed reviews) wouldn’t be where they are today. The power behind this is actually beautiful; if there is a mugging then the officer can use the cameras to follow the criminal until where ever they go. Obviously this has its limits because not every part of the country is surveyed but if the criminal ‘de-hoods’ then he can be photographed and swiftly arrested.

There is no feeling better knowing you can go into the town centre with endless possibilities however many struggle to do this knowing they are being watched. It is similar to when you trip over, you hope no one saw but there are always people watching. This topic has also been covered in a television show called “Hollyoaks” many years ago which helped to raise awareness of this issue.

CCTV cameras are popping up more and more as time goes on, even in residential areas by neighbours. Usually this is completely harmless and justified by safety but occasionally you get the report of abuse which is what causes this whole issue of CCTV cameras. A camera angled in the wrong position (or oppositely in the right position) could capture your neighbour’sand their property – a proper abuse of power.

My opinion? After looking at both sides I think that CCTV cameras are extremely necessary but there must be a limit to how developed they are. For example the talking CCTV cameras, honestly I think it is pathetic, also the money spent on hiring a person to sit there and stare at people should be spent elsewhere (like in accident and emergency units). Abuse of the cameras occasionally happens but not regularly thanks to the volume of checks carried out by local councils. Legally, there are no invasions of privacy because you are in a public place which is why news / TV shows can freely take shots of people walking on the street.

What is your opinion? Do you think that the cameras are for security or do you think there is a ‘big brother’ watching over you and has to be stopped?

By Mario Elia – www.wafflereviews.co.uk