(image from Pixabay)

This is some school thing from a while back that could have done with more effort, but I’ve uploaded it here because there’s no real reason not to. The only changes made are very minor. All hyperlinked words or phrases open in a new tab.

When you wander down to the shops minding your own business, who do you think sees you? Maybe a neighbour, nemesis or the creepy guy lingering near shops and house windows… or perhaps a whole bunch of CCTV cameras dotted all about the place are tracking where you wander, possibly with facial recognition and in colour if you’re in a classy place from this decade. Possibly someone is actually watching some of the footage and thinks you look suspicious; possibly some random person is watching you on their phone whilst you stand in front of a publicly viewable camera. There are only seven-odd billion people, at this rate soon eight-odd billion people in the world. Surely none of them can look alike on CCTV?

First off, let’s start off with something that is of less worry than the other negatives: privacy. Many cameras can be viewed by the public, so whether you’re watching some folk wander into the Overgate in Dundee or spying on your neighbour’s dog at the Lap of Luxury Pet Resort, there’s still that weird element of watching someone without them ever knowing. Even worse, there are CCTV apps now, so you could be sitting at a bus stop watching the ‘top rated’ cameras while someone else watches you through another CCTV camera. Does CCTV really stand for ‘closed-circuit television’ anymore? Many of these cameras can also be controlled – some are even good enough for you to be able to zoom into a book someone is reading!

Secondly, these cameras aren’t cheap. Sure, your budget mobile’s camera may look about as good as some of the CCTV footage but for some reason they are still rather pricey to install and maintain. For the price they cost, you’d think there would be something fancy about them like a little umbrella to keep the rain off and wipers to keep the lens squeaky clean. Actually, maybe they are a little fancy, but not particularly. Anyway, I digress, so let’s throw in some fancy facts. “10 Reasons Why Public CCTV Schemes Are Bad” by Simon Davies claims that “a system of twenty city centre cameras is equivalent to the cost of thirty full time police.” Now, I don’t know about you but those cameras won’t do much by themselves as we still need some trendy police officers to keep the peace.

Also, on rare occasions these cameras can capture innocent people, especially when the picture is a little fuzzy. On May 14, 2004, The Daily Telegraph published “How CCTV made me the prime suspect” (no link) that told Alexandra Campbell’s story about how she was falsely accused of stealing a purse after the thief had been caught on CCTV, despite there being little evidence that she stole it other than the fact it was at a fitness club she went to. After being put through a lot of stress, eight months later, the charges were dropped.

A more recent case involved Mark Pearson being charged of sexual assault in a train station and it took six months for the police to even show him the footage. The footage involved a photo being taken every second and the resolution makes matters worse, but it was slowed down to make it seem more likely he actually did something wrong since it wouldn’t have been possible for him to have done anything much in the split second it takes to pass someone. This shows that CCTV can seriously be used against people and seriously shake them up in the process.

To conclude, CCTV is certainly not something that should be relied on, as it is expensive, can be of poor quality and, quite frankly can be a little privacy invasive sometimes or even be used to falsely accuse people of criminal acts.

Author: Ten Hour Guy

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