Is CCTV an invasion of privacy for the public good?

The ever-growing use of CCTV in public places has become somewhat of a controversial issue in recent months. On one side of the argument lies the view that CCTV in public acts as a 24/7 crime deterrent. On the other side lies an uncertainty regarding the principles of why CCTV is needed on such a large scale and many people see it as an invasion of their privacy. Despite people’s concerns CCTV is becoming more and more prevalent and it is the ever-present eye in shopping centres, railway stations, airports and on many city buildings and it is most definitely watching you.

According to the Telegraph, here in America a large number of people are in agreement that CCTV is a good method of protecting our streets. A survey carried out by the CBS News / New York Times found that some 78% of people in the US are in favour of more surveillance in our cities. The survey was carried out after the Boston Bombings had occurred and CCTV on the streets helped identify the two Tsaranev brothers suspected for carrying out the attack. The CCTV cameras across three different locations allowed the FBI to identify who the attackers were and track their movements even amongst the vast crowd that had gathered at the event that day.

However despite CCTV’s assistance in catching the terrorists there remains a question mark for many people over it’s widespread use. The view that despite it’s ability to catch the criminal – it’s purpose of deterring crime is questionable. They feel if it’s purpose isn’t to prevent such crimes and attacks then we must be careful to not sacrifice our right to freedom for an illusion of increased safety. Protestors of CCTV cameras are outspoken about defending their rights. They have solid points about invasion of privacy but seem to be losing an uphill battle as more and more CCTV systems become installed around many US cities.

What side of the argument do you take? Are you with those who feel that an increase in the use of CCTV can only improve our security and help deter crime on our streets? Or do you feel that with a rise in the use of CCTV comes an invasion of your privacy and a sense of loss in your right to freedom? Here at Netwatch we want to find out a little more about your perception of CCTV’s presence in public places. Just click on the below link and tell us how you feel!

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