Are Police Cameras an Invasion of Privacy? Argumentative Essay Example

2021-07-27 04:42:58
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Argumentative essay
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Due to the rapid development of technology, there are various video surveillance platforms that have become widely used in enhancing security in both private and public settings. The installed video surveillance systems act as a force multiplier and offer Constance surveillance footage in areas that impractical or difficult to provide such surveillance. For many privacy advocates, the issue of surveillance in both public and private settings has become an area or concern. Currently, video surveillance systems are successful in navigating the legal challenges associated with privacy advocates. However, the misuse or abuse of the video surveillance systems can jeopardize the ability of the systems to continue to function (Keenan, 34).

After the September eleven attacks in the United States, there has been a considerable investment by local, federal, state governments to protect the homeland by increasing security. The areas that the law enforcement did not think were targets of terror attacks are now considered as high-value targets. It is imperative to comprehend that in order for law enforcement officials to cope with the effectiveness of the surveillance video systems, there is need to increase the use of technology. Through the use of video surveillance systems, law enforcement officials are in a position that they can monitor various locations simultaneously notwithstanding the remoteness of the location or the number of the locations. The increased need for improved security has coincided with the advancement in technology especially in video surveillance systems, and this has made it necessary to purchase systems that are available, cheaper and functional at a lower cost. In fact, it is not only government entities that are tapping into the emerging video surveillance systems. Many private businesses are also installing video surveillance systems in the bid to protect their assets.

For some organizations, it is difficult to argue against the benefits that are brought about by video surveillance systems. While there are various benefits to the improved security brought about by the video surveillance systems, there are some individuals and watchdog groups that caution against the use of surveillance due to privacy issues. With the exception of banks, private businesses and large shopping malls, video surveillance systems were not used in the distant past. Such establishments such as banks and large shopping malls installed video surveillance due to the nature of the cost of the property or the large amounts of money involved. At the time, video surveillance systems could not be afforded by small organizations due to the costs involved. However, the level of technology has changed. With the decreased costs and increased available of video surveillance systems, it is not uncommon to see such appliances in almost everywhere including private homes, small businesses, and even religious centers. The current level of sophistication in the video surveillance systems means that the platforms can offer a higher quality, and easy to use surveillance footage (Froomkin, 61). It is imperative to comprehend that the initial objective of video surveillance systems was to document events for use at a later time. However, the current video surveillance systems do not only record the footage of a particular place so that it can act as evidence against perpetrators of certain acts but also can be programmed to be intuitive. The current video surveillance systems can not only record the events but can also be programmed to be active or activated during certain real-time triggers to alert owners, sound alarms, and or the police.

All over the world, video surveillance is becoming an important aspect of law enforcement agencies. Body-worn cameras are one of the video surveillance systems that are gaining traction. The increase in usage of body-worn cameras by law enforcement agencies since it does not only assist in monitoring the behavior of the policeman on duty but can also assist in isolating the officers on duty from being yanked into controversies that are unnecessary. Moreover, the body-worn cameras that the police have assisted in providing evidence once the suspect is on the move. This means that there is a valid proof depicting how video surveillance can be used by law enforcement agencies.

Bowyer (10) notes that another importance of adopting video surveillance systems is the deterrent factor that comes into play when it is in place. The various cameras that are strategically placed and visible to everyone or to the would-be perpetrators in a way instill an enhanced fear of committing the crime. This is because of the perceived likelihood of the individuals being caught. Moreover, in the instance that they decide to participate in the act, then the video surveillance system increases the probability that the perpetrator is caught.

Due to the immense impact that video surveillance systems have on the provision of security, the impact has not gone unnoticed. In as much as there are many individuals who advocate for the use of video surveillance systems, there are individuals who oppose vehemently against its use. The issue proposed by individuals against the use of video surveillance is privacy. One should, however, note that if the video surveillance is conducted in public areas, then the act does not constitute an invasion of privacy. However, many watchdog organizations against the use of video surveillance in that they argue that some cameras cannot be detected and this constitutes an invasion of privacy. The reasoning behind such claim is that even if the cameras are in public if the public is not informed that they are being recorded or being made aware that they are being filmed, and then their privacy rights are violated. Due to the immense proliferation that the video systems have achieved in recent years, the provision of adequate notifications is impossible to attain.

The second issue of concern regarding the use of video surveillance system is the potential that the footages taken can be misused or mishandled by the organizations that capture it. Such individuals argue that it is difficult to control the data for the surveillance cameras as the cameras are easily attainable and any individual who has access to the video material can manipulate it or use it for unethical purposes. One should note that there are various laws that have been enacted to curb various infractions regarding the incorrect use of video surveillance systems. However, some individuals note that in some instances, the illegal activities undertaken by some few individuals go undetected and as such video surveillance systems should be abolished. This argument does not make sense. This is because new technologies often take advantage of the loopholes that are found in the current laws. Consequently, the legislature has to be quick to respond to the new practices and laws (Koshimizu et al., 44).

Although there has been various legislation that has been presented at both federal and state levels regarding the use of public video surveillance systems, many proposed changes have been struck down. Both the legislature and the courts have made it clear that most of the video surveillance systems in public places are conducted for public safety purposes and are thus neither unconstitutional nor illegal. Moreover, when there are incidences that the video surveillance systems have with the Constitution, these instances are normally associated with video surveillance in areas protected by search and seizure doctrines enshrined in the constitution.

Regarding the general publics perception of utilizing the video surveillance systems, many individuals recognize the process as necessary to combat the threat posed by crime and terrorism. Many individuals have come to accept the loss of some personal privacy for a feeling of security. Moreover, the use of video surveillance systems in many public places is recognized by many individuals as a necessary feature albeit intrusive with the intention of the wellbeing of the community. A good instance is when individuals are caught by video surveillance systems when they go through a red light. Such individuals would however not argue against the reasoning that the surveillance systems promote safety.

The introduction of video surveillance systems, however, is not all smooth sailing. There have been various instances in the past whereby security cameras installed in public places have stirred up controversies. This is because some organizations have set up video surveillance systems in almost every section of the workplace. In some instances, the constant surveillance by some organizations on their employees without their permission has forced some employees to object to the process citing invasion of privacy. Some have even taken legal actions against their employers. The main argument that critics of the use of video surveillance systems in the workplace is that the installation of such systems by the owner depict that the owner has already assumed or is highly convinced that the employees of the organization do not have good intentions and may, therefore, do something that is not appropriate which is why the employer needs to record their activities (Freund, 23).

In conclusion, the use of video surveillance systems has both benefits and demerits. The initial objective of video surveillance systems was to document events for use at a later time. There are various laws that have been enacted to curb various infractions regarding the incorrect use of video surveillance systems. If the video surveillance is conducted in public areas, then the act does not constitute an invasion of privacy. The constant surveillance by some organizations on their employees without their permission has forced some employees to object to the process citing invasion of privacy. Although there has been various legislation that has been presented at both federal and state levels regarding the use of public video surveillance systems, many proposed changes have been struck down. It is imperative to note that the new technology used in video surveillance systems offer an increased expediency or security at the expense of privacy. Nonetheless, many individuals find the tradeoff worthwhile as compared to the risks that they could take without the video surveillance systems. Moreover, if the public does not welcome the compromise made on the invasion of privacy provided by the new technology, then such individuals should be able to eventually reconcile themselves as the use of video surveillance is inevitable.

 

Works cited

Bowyer, Kevin W. "Face recognition technology: security versus privacy." IEEE Technology and society magazine 23.1 (2004): 9-19.

Froomkin, A. Michael. "The death of privacy?." Stanford Law Review (2000): 1461-1543.

Keenan, Kevin M. Invasion of privacy: A reference handbook. Abc-clio, 2005.

Koshimizu, Takashi, Tomoji Toriyama, and Noboru Babaguchi. "Factors on the sense of privacy in video surveillance." Proceedings of the 3rd ACM workshop on Continuous archival and retrival of personal experences. ACM, 2006.

Freund, Kelly. "When cameras are rolling: Privacy implications of body-mounted cameras on police." Colum. JL & Soc. Probs. 49 (2015): 91.

 

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