Is CCTV an Invasion of Privacy or a Protection of the Public?- Essay.

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Argue whether CCTV installation is invasion of privacy or a protection of the public.

 

Here’s a snippet of the essay.

 

The ever-increasing use of Closed Circuit Television in great city centers has raised myriad controversies. Much of controversy has been focused towards the ethics of these security cameras. On side of the debate inclines towards the benefits of 24/7 video recording as a crime deterrent measure while the other more focused area contends for the right to privacy. Both the opponents and proponents of the whole CCTV scenario have their own justifications. The initial argument concerning the advantages and disadvantages of CCTV usage is that it may deter criminals from committing crimes publicly. Several studies have shown that the technology may reduce property crime and premeditated crime. This has enhanced security regarding car theft in public streets, muggings in parking lots, and store break-ins. Nevertheless, the use of CCTV may be linked to various ethical considerations such as infringing on personal privacy. This has led to debates of whether CCTV is indeed an ethical problem or a measure of enhancing public safety.

 

Background of CCTV Use

 

CCTV has been widely applied in public amenities by law enforcement and private security companies in the US. Currently, the CCTV technology is applied by police departments like the New York and Baltimore and major university campuses. Much of the current CCTV usage at the local level is practiced to monitor traffic more so in traffic signal-controlled intersections, and speed monitoring.  There are two major points that are severally reiterated by critics of CCTV usage; the first one is the Fourth Amendment assurance against irrational searches and seizures while the second one is the right to personal privacy, a broad term that encompasses various rights inherent in the construct of ordered liberty under the Fourth Amendment.  The clearly defined constitutionality of the CCTV usage in public places rests on the construct of “public area” and “logical expectation of privacy,” as outlined in the case law (Schuch, 2011).

 

Generally, public areas refer to the areas open for public use; these include unenclosed areas (sidewalks, public streets, and parks) and enclosed areas such as corridors, building lobbies, and elevators. To be recognized as a constitutionally protected “rational expectation of privacy,” individuals must have the actual expectation of privacy which the society recognizes as reasonable. The courts have constantly found that individuals may not have a rational expectation of privacy when they are in public places. The kind of demeanor portrayed in public places is subject to observation by others (Raab, 2011). This debate has always been used to justify the notion that police observation of activities in public places may not in any way violate the Fourth Amendment assurance against unwarranted searches and seizures irrespective of whether the observation is made physically or through the use of CCTV technology. On the same note, the Fourth Amendment Act does not recognize as violation, any behavior exercised in public through a video camera. Nevertheless, it would be crucial to reiterate irrespective of the green light passed by the current legislation, conscientious and ethical use of the CCTV technology as a public safety tool is fundamental to the success of the present and future public safety applications of the same technology. Various bodies have always been on the forefront ensure responsible usage of the technology and advise all public and private organizations on a contemplative use of the CCTV technology in public security.

 

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