Modern Surveillance Systems – Protection And Security, Or Privacy Invasion?
Insuring the safety of our most valued possession is a priority to most homeowners today. Manufacturers of high tech surveillance products use creative marketing schemes to entice us into investing in all sorts of gadgets and systems created to assist us.
The manufacturers are aware of that our safety and protecting has become even more important to us in recent years due to the steady increase in crime. They seem to play on our vulnerability by marketing a variety of products to the general public. These products include such items as security cameras, electronic alarm systems, discreet monitoring devices, and systems wired to immediately contact and alert authorities in the event of an emergency.
On the surface, the sophisticated surveillance products, including surveillance cameras, appear to be the solution. We currently live in a society plagued by anxiety of becoming victims of burglaries or home invasions. We consider our homes, families and our valuables our most precious commodities, things that can’t be replaced if maliciously taken from us.
Even in the workplace today, many agencies rush to invest in covert monitoring systems to insure employee compliance. Agencies also attempt to avoid theft of company property and other forms of dishonesty of which they may not be aware. With the installation of hidden camera systems, agencies are also guarded against trespassers and other individuals that are prohibited from being on the premises.
Adequate surveillance then seems an irresistible part of providing protection so that we as consumers do not fall victim to heinous crimes. We have no desire to be part of a growing statistic of a theft report.
The question, however, that may come to mind when inquiring about the wide array of monitoring products is are we sacrificing our privacy by investing in them? Employees have voiced their concerns regarding being watched while on the job, for example.
It is not uncommon for business managers to monitor employees’ Internet activities and even their phone calls without the employee knowing. It is common practice, however, that some agencies inform new hires that employee monitoring will be utilized in the workplace. The goal is to increase productivity by making sure that all employee activities are work-related; however, employees have a different perspective on the matter.
Many employees complain that being watched regularly during the workday is uncomfortable and a violation of privacy, not to mention a blatant disregard of their rights. Also, many employees state that being observed actually reduces their productivity by making them tense; they believe that they are not being fully trusted to perform their duties.
Business surveillance has met with many differing opinions and perspectives ever since its use became more common. Business owners feel that it is a deterrent to individuals with criminal and even terrorist tendencies. It is also considered an effective tool in barring disgruntled ex-employees from business sites.
Retail businesses claim that monitoring systems substantially reduce shoplifting rates and most stores make no attempt to hide the fact that cameras are in use. Again, some consumers have an opposing viewpoint when cameras are installed in locations where privacy should be a standard and rigorously upheld, such as dressing rooms.
Some modern surveillance technology is so advanced that it can zoom in on a subject, making it possible to detect the most minute writing. Many can hone in on items such as fraudulent credit cards or checks! Motion detector systems are activated by movements within the lens range and can accurately record all activity.
Monitoring systems have their advantages and disadvantages. While such systems are effective at recording criminal and other illicit activity, there are times when we feel that our rights have been compromised. We need to determine which is more important – an individual’s right to privacy or much needed security? There needs to be a comfortable balance between these two factors for both sides to live harmoniously.