They Are Watching You – and Everything Else on the Planet

from National Geographic

About 10:30 on a Saturday morning in the north London borough of Islington, two men on mopeds race down the shopping corridor of Upper Street. Sheathed in helmets, gloves, and jackets, they look more like manic video game figures than humans. They weave through traffic and around double-decker buses at kamikaze velocity. Motorists flinch at their approach. The bikers pop wheelies and execute speedy figure eights along the busy street. Still, something more purposeful than joyriding would seem to be on their minds.

After three or four minutes, they abruptly turn off Upper and onto a quiet and leafy residential avenue. They hop the curb and cut their engines. Dismounting on the sidewalk, their helmets still on, they fall into a lengthy conversation. Their dialogue is known only to them. But there is something the men themselves likely don’t know: About a mile away, from a windowless room, two other men are watching them.

“They’re moving,” Sal says to Eric.

The two men sit 10 feet apart, behind a long console in Islington’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) control room, painted and carpeted in gray, with no adornments. Sal is middle-aged, while Eric is decades younger. Both wear casual office attire. No small talk passes between them. As the two bikers take off, Sal types away at his computer keyboard, prompting Camera 10 to appear on his screen. And there they are again, flying down Upper Street. As they disappear from Sal’s view, Eric quickly locates them on Camera 163. With a joystick, he zooms the camera onto the moped pulling up the rear until its license plate is legible.

More here.

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30 Responses to They Are Watching You – and Everything Else on the Planet

  1. Christopher Karant February 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm #

    Christopher Karant

    Has our need for security gone too far? In the Nat Geo article “They Are Watching You—and Everything Else on the Planet,” Robert Draper lays out the security vs. privacy issue that we face in society today. In a television control room in the city of London, two guys watch the streets through cameras set up around the city. They look for insignificant criminals such as speeders, drug dealers, and petty thieves. When they see somebody breaking the law they call the police and notify them where to show up. This is an egregious violation of privacy.
    You have to ask yourself at what cost do you want security. I believe that the institution of freedom is more important than privacy. In this country we passed the Patriot Act in 2001 which eliminated a lot of our personal freedom and established agencies that monitor technology and track what people do. Because these laws have passed their is a lot of room for interpretation, but a fine line must be drawn between security and privacy. These agencies are legally protected to spy on people which contradicts the principles of the US constitution. The reason our country feels the need to spy on their citizens is because of recent terrorist attacks. That does not give them permission to set up cameras all around cities and watch people like animals. That promotes distrust and is morally egregious when it comes to the conversation of privacy.

  2. Daniel Colasanto February 9, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    After reading this article I believe the reader should think critically on the pros and cons of the government’s use of street surveillance cameras, gps satellite images, and access to images stored on our mobile devices.
    In my opinion, I think having surveillance cameras installed in various areas in a neighborhood or city would definitely give the police a better chance of capturing a criminal or preventing crime or terrorism. However, even though the having numerous surveillance cameras in different public locations may have the potential to catch people red handed with a crime, this same technology could also be said to be breaching citizens personal privacy. I can understand if people do not want to be recorded walking on a normal sidewalk, especially if they are unaware of it.
    If I were to choose whether or not I would allow more use of surveillance cameras and satellite images in order to protect people in a territory I would be in favor of adding additional cameras. For one I believe that if you are in public you know that there is a chance someone or many people will see you and observe what you are doing, which is exactly why you keep your personal business separate from the public. Although I would be hesitant to allow the government access to photos or even being able to operate the camera or record video from my personal device. That to me is a significant breach of personal privacy and would have to only be allowed if there were substantial amounts of evidence showing that you could be of danger to yourself or others in order to protect the Constitutional rights of Americans or any other country’s citizens.

    • Moniqua Prince February 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm #

      What would you do if you were to walk down an empty dark street late into the night and have someone rape you? What if they allowed you to live after raping you? Would you want this person caught and persecuted? Surveillance would help in catching the criminal of this crime. Yet, it would not help in preventing the crime to you. Maybe if the crime was a well-thought plan to bomb someone it could be prevented. Maybe if there were traces or tracks left by the criminal leading the police to this criminal, then the crime would not be committed. Those are a lot of maybes though. Yes surveillance may help criminals be caught, but it does not actually guarantee that a crime will not happen.
      Even knowing this though, I would feel better about security cameras being added onto streets and whatnot. Yet I also understand that I can still die, or be harmed whether those security cameras are there or not. At least the criminal can be found…And maybe stopped from harming another. Though what about me? It will take more than security cameras to stop crime. It will take an ability in being able to read the human mind in order to stop crime. I do not see that technology being available in a long long while if ever.
      On another note, I do believe that the government accessing photos or my search history and more on my phone is a breach of privacy. But…what can I do to stop it? Many people either are not educated enough, or they do not care enough to make sure this does not happen. I understand that I do not have privacy in this time and age due to the infatuation that comes with the use of technology. While I agree with Daniel, I know that nothing will really change unless something significant happens to people and the way they react to news of the world’s current situation.
      The last note I would like to cover is that people, even though they may have an understanding that others are always watching, will still act foolishly. Whether on purpose or on accident. Sometimes people make mistakes, and their mistakes should not have to shadow them the rest of their life. Though, it will due to the cameras located everywhere – even in their hands.

      • Jerry Wu February 13, 2018 at 4:45 pm #

        After briefly going through this article, and constantly hearing news reports and personal opinions on television almost every day, I completely agree with both Daniel’s and Moniqua’s statements. I also feel that it is imperative that everyone on planet Earth be aware of the current day’s technology and how advanced it could be; especially the fact that it could cause serious security and privacy issues. I see the modern day technology as both a safe-haven and as a more efficient way of life. However, no one can ever predict or prevent every single little wrongdoing around one another.
        Personally, though I am fully aware of the countless amounts of cameras watching me everywhere I walk, I do not feel 100% safe, even in my hometown of Piscataway, NJ. In order for me to feel completely secure, it would need more manpower (in terms of law-enforcers) than we currently have. Yet, crime is still at an extremely high level in the United States, with more lives being put on the line in the dangerous streets; and little improvement has been made in terms of violent and heinous acts. In addition, I do not see the government as an organization that accesses the photos, history, and personal information as a way to breach the privacy of others around you. In fact, I think they are the exact opposite of that, but that does not mean someone on the inside is not using that position to their personal advantage, in terms of taking away from others from behind closed doors.
        In the end, I can conclude that no matter where you are, no one is completely safe, because of the fact that people will always be tempted by the forces of evil to take from others, no matter how hard each of us try.

  3. Thomas Saulle February 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm #

    To what extent do we require security. I assume that the foundation of adaptability is more basic than security. In this country we passed the Patriot Act in 2001 which slaughtered a lot of our own personal security and freedom, and developed workplaces that screen advancement and track what people do. While it’s not lawful for the legislature to tune in to the substance of private landline or PDA discussions directed altogether inside the U.S., the National Security Agency is permitted to gather telephone call information including time, date, area, telephone numbers, and so forth; they have been doing so since 2001. The NSA can legitimately tune in on your discussion in case you’re conversing with somebody who’s out of the nation.
    Since these laws have passed their is a lot of room for seeing, yet a scarcely unmistakable contrast must be drawn among security and insurance. The reason our country needs to watch out for their occupants is an immediate consequence, generally fear based. That does not give them the right to be setting up all these hidden cameras all around the world and mainly focusing on those of native or urban groups. All over the nation, police departments are storing up records of what Americans are doing on a daily basis; their movements and what they buy. More than twenty five states are utilizing facial-acknowledgment innovation to coordinate reconnaissance film with DMV mugshots. Just as of late, a government court ruled police divisions did not require a warrant to acquire your cell phone records. These are only a couple of the ways government is watching Americans, and there are much more ways to come.

  4. Justin Brenner February 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

    There are many arguments for and against surveillance systems, but no matter the argument, it seems that they are here to stay. I think, however, that it is more of a good thing than a bad thing, at least the way it is being used now. The CCT systems are being used primarily to halt and track crimes and criminals and has so far proven to be mostly successful at doing so. Criminal behavior can be observed and monitored, so that if things do escalate, the proper actions can be taken to help stop it. The article does make mention of George Orwell’s 1984, which does have a very good argument against surveillance, seeing as in that story, it is used to suppress free will and assert government control. But while that is a concern, that has not yet been seen to occur in our own CCT systems. As long as these systems are not abused, I believe that CCT monitoring helps greatly with tracking crimes, and helping people to feel safer in their everyday lives.

  5. Michael Polito February 9, 2018 at 5:43 pm #

    In London their camera technology has become so advanced that two men in a room can basically identify you from looking at you through their many street cameras. The advancement of this kind of technology has drastically reduced the amount of crime both in action crime and unsolved crimes. The two men can see something from their sixteen monitor room and 180 plus cameras around the city. Most people like this because crime has dropped dramatically but others feel that it is an invasion of their privacy. London has a pickpocket problem especially during most of their famous fairs that they host. Considering that the city has about fifty pickpocketing’s happen per week this security has helped to lower that city wide and get stolen objects back to their rightful owner. The cameras are so clear and the technology in the office where the two guys sit is so fast that it has almost become impossible for people to get away with crimes even if their face is covered. In one instance the cameras were used to get the license plate number of two motorists that were driving erratically through the neighborhood. The police were notified of the plate numbers and they were able to apprehend the subjects. This technology has improved the city drastically and has helped local law enforcement apprehend suspects, but not everyone is thrilled with it
    Many people are starting to feel that these cameras are an invasion of privacy due to the fact that they are so clear and they are practically everywhere. To most people it is an unsettling feeling knowing that where ever you go within the city limits you are being watched by two guys in a room. When putting it like that it does sound a little creepy. Although the purpose of the camera is not to spy in unknowing individual’s people still believe that it is an invasion of privacy. People don’t want big brother being able to watch over them and knowing that fact that every time you do anything there are two people who can see it. The biggest problem and the biggest strength of this new technology is the fact that the camera is so clear that you are easily recognizable. The camera was able to get the plates on two small mopeds so the cameras are high definition enough to pick out small details. These cameras have brought up a very interesting topic on whether anyone has any privacy anymore. As much as these cameras can be invasive their job is not to look at people walking the streets it is to stop crime from happening or to stop a crime in progress. It is unfortunate that these cameras may violate people’s privacy a little but they are becoming crucial to our modern day societies. Crime has always happened and it will always happen, but technology like this may be able to slow down crime in many places. If a criminal knows that their every move will be tracked and they can go back to the tapes to see what happened and who did it, it may stop people from committing the crime in the first place. The whole idea is to make cities a better and safer place for people. Not to spy on them as they go about their daily routines.

  6. Frank Mabalatan February 9, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

    Ironically, the digital world that allows an individual to have a presence without showing his or her face makes them less anonymous. Traces of internet activity can be followed, uploaded pictures that are subsequently deleted can be dug up, and IP addresses can be recorded to find someone’s physical location. Surveillance cameras can recognize a person’s face and follow them through a city, all the while he or she is just going about their day. The capacity to monitor any human on Earth at any given moment is a frightening thought but it sits right in the lap of reality and can serve many practical uses. Robert Draper’s Nat Geo article details the 2015 apprehension of a New Orleans man who shot Peter Gold, a medical student who attempted to stop the man from abducting a woman. The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act grants law enforcement and government agencies the authority to track and collect data to fight terrorism and crime on a large scale. The theory is that by knowing the whereabouts and activities of anyone in the country, illegal and dangerous activity can be stopped upon its discovery.
    What is in question is constant surveillance and the degree to which it infringes on the rights to life, liberty, and property. If under constant surveillance, the lives of all citizens can be shared with others and there will be nothing that is wholly their own. If this is the case, no one is ever granted their own life or their own liberty. These monitoring practices sacrifice our rights endowed by the Constitution for what appears to be peace of mind, instead of actually safety. If these rights are relinquished, what is the point of feeling safe? There will be no life to live and no liberty to live such a life. Surveillance is an ethical impasse, but to live in a world where no one cannot retreat into themselves is to live in a world subject to other people, directly contradicting the rights of the Constitution.

    USA PATRIOT Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act
    Fifth Amendment: https://nccs.net/online-resources/us-constitution/amendments-to-the-us-constitution/the-bill-of-rights-amendments-1-10/amendment-5-protection-of-rights-to-life-liberty-and-property

  7. Sophia Fadgen February 9, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    After reading this article, hearing personal stories and opinions about this type of security measure, I believe it is important for citizens to understand the reasoning for such a high-end security system in today’s technologically advanced world. These systems are used to accurately pinpoint crime and help in the efforts to prevent these possible crimes. For example, club owners, such as the two referenced in this article, Lightbox and Fire, use CCTV systems and former police officer to protect their customers from drug deals and other possible crimes. These systems are also described as being used on city streets to watch for small crimes such as pickpocketing, and large crimes such as murder. It is because of these examples, that I do not have an issue with being watched in a public place whether I can see the person watching me or not. This is because, being in a public place, I would assume that someone would want to protect its customers, citizens, and their property and they have the right to do so.
    Despite my beliefs, there must be a line drawn as to when these systems are okay and when they are inappropriate. This line may be believed to be very thin which would enhance the arguments contrary to my personal beliefs. For example, it may be argued that “Big Brother is watching you,” whether you want them to or not (Draper, para.16). Although, this could be defended by my beliefs that it is in fact “Big Brothers” job to watch and protect its citizens. Another reasoning for the belief that such extreme security is inappropriate would be the issue that privacy is the most desirable trait among humans (Draper, para. 22). However, I do not believe that privacy is being taken away. When it comes to the issue of whether the government is watching users through personal devices such as smartphones and laptops, this is a breach of privacy. However, is there any proof that this is an actual breach occurring, or is it just assumed because humans fear the loss of privacy? In my opinion, this issue comes down to the fear of losing something so valuable.
    In conclusion, I do not believe that the use of street videotaping to record criminals of all levels whether it be petty theft or murder violates privacy. Had the videotaping been recorded from within one’s own personal property, I would consider it to be a violation. However, the taping occurs on public streets and in public places, where all of us as citizens have a need to be safe and secure. I strongly believe that it is “Big Brother’s” job to protect its citizens and the most efficient way to do so would be to enforce systems that record crime and citizens in public spaces.

  8. Moniqua Prince February 9, 2018 at 8:44 pm #

    Dun Dun Dun. What is privacy? This crucial question begs my mind frequently. In the world I live in is there really a such thing as privacy? From the reading that I have read, apparently there is not. As the technology world grows and new things are created, the privacy once held by people has disappeared. No longer can you walk down the sidewalk and not have pictures of your face taken, whether by security cameras or phone cameras.
    I have come to an understanding with myself. No matter how much I desire privacy, it is not something that I cannot have anymore. I cannot take a walk on my campus without seeing someone with their phone out. Whether they are taking pictures or not, I would not know. Someone could take an unsuspecting picture of me without my knowing and post it on social media. This HAS been done. Everyone always wants to capture the drama or the misfortune of another in order to post it online and get more views or follows. No one asks for permission to record another or to take a picture of another. You do not get the option of having or not having your picture taken any longer. In this day and age, privacy no longer exist due to the fact that phones exist.
    Is technology a good or bad thing? I believe it to be both. Technology, just like anything else has its pros and cons. It allows for a plethora of information to be available to any one person. It allows for those committing crimes to be caught. It allows for people to connect to each other from places all over the world. Yet, it allows for the bad moments that have happened to you to be caught and plastered on the net for others to see and criticize. It allows for others to bully people and cause them pain. Technology allows for people to hack others and to track and stalk one another. Technology can be dangerous, but it can also be safe. Though this can be said for many things. It all depends on if the person has an understanding on how technology works, and what it can be used for.
    It is my belief that privacy is not real anymore. The world has progressed too much in its infatuation of technology and its upgrading of technology for there to be privacy. Though, realistically I believe we can never really get out privacy back. People rely on technology too much, and the benefits of using technology seem to outweigh the bad at this moment and time. Though, as the future comes near, we shall all see what the progression and technology and absence of privacy truly brings.

  9. Alan Josefsek February 9, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

    The government is always watching your every move. That is not a secret. We all know that this happens whether it be government funded organizations such as Equifax or the many police departments across the United States. In many instances, the government is justified to look into the activities of their citizens for various reasons. The main reason for this is to prevent actions of hostile individuals. The problem comes when the government over reaches their powerful arm into things that have nothing to do with national security. There have been many instances of this however, if there was no way for the government to monitor its citizens, there would be much more turmoil in the world. The United States government has stopped many terrorist attacks from occurring due to the monitorization of people domestic and abroad. Preventing this would hinder this and create potential threats much more than is present today. The real question people should ask themselves is: Would you rather risk your lives and the lives of others around you or have the government watch your every move and record it in massive data farms to sell for corporate use? Honestly, this is a question nobody wants to answer however, one must consider its implications. For example, there is the age old question of how far. If you give somebody permission to do something, how far will that person or organization go? Theoretically, the government can be granted permission to invade your privacy only if they have probable cause however in reality they take measures way too far and pretty much stalk everybody in society. In a perfect world, the government would only monitor you if you there was an imminent threat. I think everyone would agree that this would be more than welcome considering the fact that we all want to remain safe and secure. Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, this will never happen to that extent. The government has too much power when it comes to monitoring its citizens and every American must question whether or not it is worth it at the end of the day. They track you habits, search history, location, amongst other things and in the future who knows the extent to which it goes.

  10. Rayjohn Felicia February 9, 2018 at 10:39 pm #

    In society today, governments are very oriented into providing security for their citizens in an era of fear from both foreign and domestic terrorism, crackdown on illegal drug trading, and as a way of establishing evidence when crimes are committed. Much new, innovative, technology has been created in order to deter criminal activity and provide safety to citizens. Such is the example of the longest running surveillance program, the CCTV. As stated in the article, one example of how the CCTV provides an effective way of protecting its citizens was through this network. When two motorists were riding motorcycles maniacally, they were threating the safety of other drivers. Two members of the network tracked the movements of the motorists and relayed information to local police, which, in turn, led to their arrests. Also, one of the emerging technologies is the use of instantaneous facial recognition systems. With this, cameras can use this system to analyze what criminals look like. They can also be used for high-security places to properly identify people who have access to the facilities.

    But with this technology, it provides an eerie and ugly truth. In essence, you are being watched and monitored by some system almost 24/7. In my personal life, authorities track every move that I make on a daily basis. For example, this morning I walked around a campus, laden with cameras spread around all over the campus, which, at the college police’s deposal, can monitor me as I move from place to place. If I use my ID, it logs when I use it into a system that is recorded by the college police. In my hand, I have a phone that can track my location. This is just myself. Now imagine the 350 million Americans living in this country.

    So the big question is where can the line be drawn when security intervenes with our privacy? In almost every groundbreaking technology being developed, more and more an unseen person has the ability to track our every move. Imagine the amount of privacy a person lacks when every word they speak can be recorded by their phones. Or how a remote satellite can gather our location from the sky and track where we go. This is a very hard scenario to imagine. In my opinion, these are blatant invasion of privacy. In a world where the government provides security, people do not feel it. The technology that allows users to establish surveillance for criminal activity also watched over regular citizens. Even though improvements in thermal, nano, drone technologies were meant to protect us, they can also be used to watch every part of our every daily life. This article sums up the potential usefulness of each new technology but also provides the capabilities that can be considered an invasion of privacy.

  11. Daniel Schreier February 10, 2018 at 5:35 pm #

    Technology has given us innumerous advantages, and made our lives simpler, by making things faster and shortening distances. However, due to technological advancements, we have a lack of privacy never seen in the history of humanity. We are being watched and observed all the time, with everything we do online, and many things we do on the real world being constantly watched, tracked and monitored by both the government and by private companies. Perhaps, the biggest surprise of all, we, normal citizens and users, give them full consent for doing this. The government claims they are doing this on citizens in name of national security and to prevent terrorism or other sorts of criminal misconduct. As the article points out, in London, at the wake of the 2005 London Underground Bombing, many CCTV and other sorts of cameras and security apparatus were installed on the city to make it more “secure”. Perhaps, people actually can feel safer knowing that something is watching them, and what is going on around the streets, still, this has taken such a big proportion that whenever one is walking is some London boroughs, are constantly being monitored and watched by. Now, many will argue that is fine for the government to do this, since is for their own protection, however; private companies are also doing pretty much the same thing, and maybe, for not so “noble” principles.
    The big five technology companies today, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, detain an almost unlimited amount of data collected from the users of their products and services, and they use it mainly for making money of it, both directly, by selling things one may need, and indirectly, by showing advertisement one may like. In addition, the big data market became a huge thing these days, with companies spending millions of dollars to have access to people’s information, interests and likes. But, one may ask, can these companies sell our data, which is a virtual image of us, to others, without our consent? And here is the problem. We give them this consent when we agree to their “Terms & Conditions”, which almost nobody reads, and in order for one to use these devices and services, they must agree with it. Therefore, what is happening is that we cannot control our privacy, and anyone may be looking and watching us any day at any time. Is this moral and ethical? Is this correct? That’s not the government, nor the tech companies problem.

  12. Sylwia Marut February 10, 2018 at 9:34 pm #

    No matter where we are, we are being watched. In today’s world, there is virtually no getting around being watched by a surveillance camera at least once a day. I read this article from National Geographic and decided to take a day to be observant of my surroundings and just exactly how often I was being watched on surveillance before writing this blog post.
    I started my day off going to class. The parking lot I parked in was monitored by cameras. After class, I went to work, and then the grocery store, both locations having signs on the door warning me that I am on camera from the minute I walk in. I ended the day at my friend’s house, where Echo Spot was quietly observing. Even if I was not explicitly warned of cameras watching me, satellites, drones, or other devices in the sky were probably capturing me without me even realizing.
    The reality is, we live in a technologically advanced world that is constantly moving at a fast pace. With the amount of crime surrounding big cities, such as London like the article mentions, surveillance detection is useful in fighting crime and discerning threat of crime before it happens. Through the help of surveillance cameras, criminals on the streets are detected faster than ever before, making the lives of citizens safer. I think surveillance makes me feel safer in that sense because it is a comfort knowing that if anything happened to me or someone I care about, there is a good chance that there will be video evidence of it. Due to the crime and terrorism that has been prevalent, especially in large cities, the implementation of surveillance could be a necessary course of action. As the popular saying goes “it is better to be safe than sorry.”
    Surveillance is useful in fighting crime, from street crime to terrorism to animal poaching. However, it also has some cons to ponder. Many could argue that it takes a lot of time and effort to sift through security camera footage for evidence. Also, according to a CNN article written by Heather Kelly, in 2008 only one crime was solved per every 1,000 cameras in London. The cameras also cost London $800 million within a span of just four years. Another issue brought on by surveillance cameras is privacy. With cameras watching everything all the time, the little privacy we do have in a tech-world is being taken away and the government could be watching us all the time. This concept feels intrusive to our American freedom. Like most things in life, surveillance cameras may be great, but they come with a price.

  13. Zachary Corby February 14, 2018 at 10:58 am #

    The most important thing that people have to understand with this article is that progress will stop for no one. The article raises many fundamental questions that need to be answered about how much we should use cameras and technology for surveillance of people, but people need to understand that it is too late at this point. Once the technology has already been invented, it is inevitable that it is going to be used. At that point, we can only hope to control it. That is what is happening here with surveillance, and what people have to understand is that we need to learn how to regulate its use by the government if we have any chance of keeping privacy. One part that really strikes me in this article is how it says that soon only wealthy people are going to be able to have privacy because they will be able to pay for it. It is a stark reality that in this day and age privacy is going to be a premium rather than a right as it used to be and in my opinion should be. However, there are pros and cons to living in this world of always being watched. Like mentioned in this article it really helps crime rates dip a lot lower, because not only are you able to use facial recognition to find where a suspect is or was, but people are able to monitor any suspicious activity, and can stop a lot of crimes before they happen. Taking many bad criminals off the street is always a positive thing regardless of how it is done. Saving many people from the trauma of dealing with crimes, and saving lives before they are taken are even better. Yet at the same time this leaves an open door to a lot of infringement on people’s rights. The example with the motorists zooming around and the cops following them just because they seemed suspicious is a good example of discrimination that can be used with this technology. People associate certain looks and appearances with trouble. What happens when the people in the surveillance rooms begin to stop black people because they look up to no good? Then we have a fundamental problem of racism with this technology. Not to mention that no person who is in charge of monitoring these cameras is perfect and may have prejudices against people. What happens when we start arresting people we see on cameras because we think they are going to commit a crime? Can we arrest people for conspiracy? Surely, we can if they had a bag of explosives, but what if they are carrying a pistol and are legally able to? What happens when we send cops to one of these “could happen crimes”, and then an actual crime happens across town and first responders are slower to get there? There is a ton of questions that come along with this technology that need to be answered. A big problem that is holding up this inevitable technological change is the distrust of government. Orwell is cited a lot throughout the article and it is true, putting cameras everywhere gives the ability for the government to watch our every move just like in his novel. That is a big responsibility that the government will oversee that people do not seem to realize. Imagine if Hitler had cameras to look at everything his people were doing? If you get the wrong person in government, people could be sacrificing their entire free will just like in Orwell’s novel. Is that worth the possible protection that we are getting from these cameras? That is not a question that we will ever be able to get a unanimous answer for. Do we really need to put body cameras on teachers? Is it that important to solve a dispute about a kid getting a detention that we would have to go back and watch the teacher’s body camera footage? Now do not get me wrong there are some things that I think everyone can agree upon using the technology for like Planet monitoring how the earth is changing. There is definitely many positives that can come from that, and we can help solve a lot of pressing environmental issues to ensure further generations can use the earth. Yet, even something so harmless as to help our earth can leave people susceptible to an invasion of privacy. That same technology helping our earth is also helping the insurance company in the article charge people more because they are able to see that the houses in the images have pools, despite people lying and saying they did not. The point is that the technology is here and it is too late to be having a whether we should allow government to use it or not debate. Either way the government is going to spy on us if the technology is there whether we allow it to happen legally or not is a different story. The discussion needs to start shifting to how we can safeguard ourselves from this technology so that we are able to protect ourselves from it. I seriously doubt that we may ever be able to have privacy in the future, but if we can at least legally protect ourselves from the government we may have a chance. What I mean like this is safeguarding ourselves in our homes at the very least, not allowing the government to just stop in and arrest us for minor crimes, and keeping them away from controlling our lives like in 1984. Progress will stop for no man, but people need to wake up and begin to be afraid of how little privacy we have and begin to ask what we can do to safeguard ourselves from the government and others.

  14. Lucas Rodriguez February 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm #

    You are nonchalantly walking down deserted roads amid the night, totally free from any other organism. You feel a gelid mist lurk from behind you; haunting eyes, and you abruptly shift direction. You see no one. But despite the vacant streets, you just can’t help but feel as if someone was watching you. The concept of continuous civilian surveillance seems to be of a major concern within our contemporary societies. We feel isolated and enchained as we endeavor through our itinerant travels, acknowledging that our every move is being so critically analyzed and reviewed for approval. The technological age has been a mechanism that invokes constant societal regulation; our daily lives interpreted systematically by a technological one-way mirror. Whether we are on our phones, computers, or conversing through the streets of our cities, we are most likely vulnerable to the infrastructure of the governments surveillance services. For example, the National Security Agency- an intelligence agency under the United State Security of Defense- has injected agency code into android smartphones, “bugging” at least three quarters of all smartphones globally. Within the barriers of this programming the National Security Agency could now remotely turn on your camera and microphone when your device is powered off. A glitch implanted into our world’s most used means of communication; the smartphone has now evolved into the most technologically advanced inspection installment. But it is palpably reasonable to assume that this action may be required or necessary for a nation’s safety. Especially in regards to the incessant terrorism-based occurrences that have sculptured the systems of our security based progressions, this concept of governmental monitoring may appear as a normal regulation. But doesn’t this seemingly infringing “Big Brother” effect enhance the creation of an authoritarian-based transparent jailhouse; concealing us within the conscious minds of the guards standing outside our jail cells- or computer screens? After major incidents such as the one that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, a need for heavier surveillance was deemed necessary as regulations such as the “Patriot Act” have been adopted into effect. This anti-terrorism law enacted in October of 2001, had allowed the Department of Justice, National Security Agency, and other defense based federal agencies the authority to monitor international and domestic communications. The law intended to prevent further acts of violence against the country, and has helped obtain valuable information in regards to potential threats to the nation’s communities. Even prior to the catastrophic event that occurred in 2001, the NSA had already been planning on setting strict securities on many of the evolving technological innovations. In 1999, the NSA had built “backdoors” onto one of the most eminent programs that we currently utilize even in modern day- Microsoft windows. With these installed services and our continuously progressing societies, the government could literally anticipate your thoughts before they are fully typed out into your computer’s monitor. With these new technologies we have certainly been engulfed within an inescapable code of submission- no matter how far we run, we may never break free.
    With this increasing technological era it is safe to assume that an equal increase in surveillance is required. Despite the sensation that we are always constantly being watched by these glaring eyes that penetrate each wall we may hide behind, it might realistically be for the better. This international inspection plague has surfaced among most of our streets, smartphones, and almost all forms of communication. It is reasonable though that because of this crucial step towards our defensive barriers, we have been able to prevent countless egregious situational ideologies from becoming realities. But with these new ways of creating surveillance, we may have been stripped of the very things that makes us feel safe- our own privacies. It is a difficult trade-off when discussing the rights of individuals and the jurisdiction that the government may express. Although we may feel as if some of our most valued liberties have been breached, we have the absolute need to be protected. No matter what we may do to try and restore some of our freedoms or privacies that we believe have been infringed upon, as technology grows we will continue to grow consumed by the dust clouds we so desperately run from- the blight that feeds off of our constitutional protections and own liberties. The question of whether or not this is necessary for our society; whether we should give up some of our basic freedoms for the protection of our nation may create an ineffably confusing atmosphere. But at the end of the day, we may never have a choice.

  15. Chris Goldfarb February 16, 2018 at 8:35 pm #

    It’s interesting to think about how the founding fathers would have reacted to so many of the issues that plague us today. How they would have done things differently had they known what the future would hold with things like automatic weapons, climate change, nuclear weapons, and today’s topic of video surveillance. There are a substantial amount of privacy protections in the constitution and it’s amazing to me the foresight they had to even award us as much as they did. Unfortunately for us as impressive as they were the founding fathers were not clairvoyant and that leaves us with the question how to deal with the fact that eventually nothing you ever do will be private. Even you playing with your kids in your backyard could potentially be watched with a variety of techniques like satellite imagery or drones. Obvious there is no real reason for the government to do that and they would still need some type warrant to use that expensive technology but that type of invasive surveillance is not exclusive to the government. A very common type of surveillance is the hacking of computer or phone cameras and hijacking the feed, this so common that even the former FBI director James Comey put tape over his camera (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/06/surveillance-camera-laptop-smartphone-cover-tape). So while the conversation about surveillance often revolves around street cameras it’s important to note that it is not only public places were you have the very real possibility of being watched.
    In fact the average Londoner is caught on camera 300 times a day (https://www.caughtoncamera.net/news/how-many-cctv-cameras-in-london/) and right now China has plans to have 626 million cameras across the country by 2020, capable of identifying anyone of its 1.3 billion citizens (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/china-surveillance-camera-big-brother_us_5a2ff4dfe4b01598ac484acc). None of this really sounds great but most of this surveillance is for our protection and done through private business because of our fourth amendment protection. With that in mind it is incredibly hard to argue that being able to see every angle of every street wouldn’t help provide open and shut cases when prosecuting criminals. Surveillance techniques don’t even just have to be used to fight crime, they can help search the rubble of natural disaster sites or help scout dangers combat zones for soldiers. We may not like the fact that at any moment someone somewhere could put a camera on us but they’re there for a reason and they’re not going away.

  16. Sebastien Jose Fortes February 16, 2018 at 8:36 pm #

    On the one hand, I think Americans, and people in general, are too paranoid when it comes to surveillance. On the other hand, the people behind surveillance themselves are also a little paranoid, in my opinion.
    One of my former science teachers said that if you’re really concerned about security knowing everything about you, then something must be wrong. If you’ve got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be worried. I agree with this, especially because surveillance agents probably know a lot about everyone. If you’re concerned about being watched in public, you have to remember that you’re already exposed to strangers by going out in the first place—and chances are, they don’t care at all what you’re doing if you’re just going about your business as casually as possible.
    However, tight security can be abused or misinterpreted. The purpose of police is to protect the innocent and make sure crime stays limited. If the police abuse their powers, their mission ends up twisted. Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, was detained with adequate force, but Trayvon Martin, who apparently acted out of self-defense and panic, was shot dead on the spot.
    This clip from South Park, taken from the episode “Let Go, Let Gov”, perfectly satirizes the fear of the NSA. http://southpark.cc.com/clips/2x9skm/cartman-is-a-whistleblower
    For anyone who has not seen South Park, Eric Cartman is portrayed as an evil, if not mean-spirited child. He refers to himself as the “NSA’s nightmare”, but the portrayal of Santa Claus shows that the NSA isn’t exactly what it seems. This is a parody, but the reality is, public surveillance cameras wouldn’t really know everything about you. They’re just there to watch for any actual crimes. They’re not monitoring your brain.
    Think about it this way. There are 300 million citizens in the United States. The number of employees in the NSA is an estimated forty-thousand. That would mean each one of them would have to monitor seven-thousand, five-hundred people each day. The NSA only has time to scrutinize certain people. That said, the people behind security cameras probably don’t care about every single walking down South Orange Avenue.
    So, yes, question the government while you still can, but don’t jump to the conclusion that they’re stalking you or any friends.

  17. Antonio Chirichiello February 16, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

    Technology advancements are great for people all across the world, as it assists our everyday life with convenience and ease. From the birth of smartphones to closed circuit television, the rise of technology may be a downfall to our privacy, and how much we have left. We have already waived our privacy rights by agreeing to, the disclosure statements attached to technological software in order to use it. Now, the tiny bit of privacy we still have is being recorded and stored by surveillance cameras. These video cameras are also called Close circuit television. (CCTV) is a television system in which the video signals are transmitted from one or more cameras to, a set of monitors. Closed circuit television security cameras can be advantageous and disadvantageous to citizens all across the world.

    CCTV is advantageous in today’s world because, it assists officers of the law more efficiently, to catch people who commit crimes that try to get away. A video surveillance has the ability to watch more areas of a town than, an officer can cover in a car. The article states that, “from the wide vantage point of several city blocks, this single camera zooms in to easily identify the man from more than three soccer fields away”. It may reduce or prevent, the amount of criminal activity that occurs to businesses and homes. According the article, “the increase of security cameras in Islington, a section of London, helped identify a criminal who was trying to abduct a women on the street”. If there was not a video surveillance camera on that street, the police would not have been able to identify the criminal.

    I believe that CCTV will be disadvantageous to the people’s privacy because, it records, saves, and stores everyone’s activity. On most occasions, the average person most likely does not notice a video surveillance camera watching all of the steps they are taking. This is upsetting to a law abiding citizen because, they have not committed any crime to have their face stored into a data base. The citizens of Islington may feel that they are criminals who cannot be trusted out in public because, they are constantly being watched. This idea of cameras in London begun in the late twentieth century due to terrorist but now, it has been used for more than terrorist activity. The unfortunate event probably caused all citizens of London to feel like, a suspect that is being watched in jail.

    To conclude, I believe there will always be mixed feelings about the advancements of technology, that has yet to come. The issues that we need to discuss is: will the pros of technology outweigh all the cons that arise with it? I feel that this technology gives us the ability to prevent mishaps, and reduce crime. There has been too many violent acts against each other and, I hope these camera make people less violent and more civilized. It also enables the operator to abuse the power that technology grants us by violating, the people’s privacy. When does monitoring a person go too far? The question that arises is, why are we willing to sacrifice the amount of privacy we have left for objects that make life less difficult? Or, are we too late to break the cycle to demand our privacy be returned?

  18. Kayla Washington February 16, 2018 at 10:30 pm #

    After reading this article, it’s clear that as time progresses, technology grows more advanced, and the world’s demand for security increases. From my point of view, after every major tragic event strikes, like a bombing, mass shooting or simply terrorist attacks, the government will exploit such moments to justify the increase of surveillance cameras. In fact they’ll say that it’s necessary to ensure our safety. And, to improve our overall quality of our life. With that being said, there are both benefits and negatives to this demand of security. But, for starters, even though this article is mentioning what’s happening abroad, it’s important to know that for years many areas in the United States have been moving towards that way of life of invading into our personal lives.
    You see, in early June 2013, the US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that entire populations, rather than just individuals, live under constant surveillance. To be exact, Snowden stated, “it’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing…it covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love” (The Guardian 2). More than two years have passed and Snowden stands to be correct. For example, take a look at social media, specifically Facebook. For all of us who use this app, think about all the times you’ve liked or watched certain posts. And, then, go on Instagram or stay on Facebook, to find advertisements or constant posts similar to what you previously liked. By no means is that a coincidence. According to an article in USA Today, Facebook is watching and tracking you more than you probably realize. In fact, many apps have algorithms that track what you like, watch and click on. And, based on that data, these apps use the information to target ads to users on behalf of advertisers. Interestingly enough, right now there are probably dozens of companies that are watching your posts, storing your profile information and more, without you even realizing it.
    Aside from that, when it comes to street surveillance, a blessing and curse is proposed. To begin with, a positive would be that crime we be reduced or completely gone since they will be quickly detected and punished. The idea of living in a world where robbers, drug and human traffickers will all be exposed. As well as, bombings and shooting be prevented sounds like a dream, but could be possible with the increase of surveillance. On top of that, the world would be a cleaner place, people wouldn’t liter because they know that their being watched and will be fined. Lastly, police brutality will reduce because officers would be held accountable for their actions.
    But, with that being said, I have to question the power of today’s security because still those crimes that are being taped have not always brought justice, like many situations where police have abused their power. And, if surveillance is as advanced as many people think what’s the explanation behind the mass shootings that still occur? Furthermore, aside from the positives, there are a few negatives to being under surveillance. For starters, not everything is as it seems. To be clear, some actions may be deceiving and create a false alarm. For instance, seeing a group of kids play fighting can be mistaken as a brawl in one’s eyes. And think about the threat of over patrolling, where our natural born rights will start being restricted. Not to mention, abusing power is likely to happen in these situations, like having perverts in charge, watching you in intimate settings; bathing and public restrooms, where nudity is exposed to some degree. Furthermore, as I previously mentioned, Snowden mentioned there are people being are being watched that have done nothing suspicious. Therefore, it’s not right that people are being targeted because they are associated with a certain race, class, gender, or religion. To include, if you fit the description of someone who committed a crime, heightens your chance of being patrolled. All in all, to find a balance, I think the people should have a say in what areas should be watched over. And, in fact, the government and the CIA should be under surveillance. By doing this we ensure that our leaders are truly moving for best interest of the people

    Sources:

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/02/surveillance-watching-you/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=&stream=top-stories

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/komando/2016/03/18/facebook-watching-and-tracking-you-more-than-you-realize/81803796/

  19. TB February 16, 2018 at 11:02 pm #

    The recent advances in technology arouse mixed feelings for me. Through technology, we gain safety but only at the price of our freedom and privacy. In his article “They Are Watching You – and Everything Else on the Planet” Robert Draper raises the question “Is privacy becoming just a memory?”, and personally, I think in a sense it is becoming one. Maybe not quite yet, but soon I feel privacy will be nothing more than a distant memory. With all the advances and technology, the government and even none law enforcement, regular civilians, perfect strangers, can track your location, where you are, where you’re going and where you’ve been. Government officials and law enforcement officers are able to see where you are through surveillance cameras. Ultimately making it so that you never have privacy, there are always cameras on you and many of the cameras you aren’t aware they are there. SO you are unaware of when you are or aren’t being watched. Even more unsettling than the idea of being constantly watched by government surveillance systems is the thought o being watched and monitored by strangers personal drones and thousands of airborne spying devices employed by foreign countries.

    Fortunately, the use o surveillance technology is not all bad although tapping into private phone conversations is completely immoral and an invasion of privacy, it can be beneficial in tracking terrorist behavior. In fact, surveillance technology has been proven to not only catch, stop, and even prevent terrorist activity, it also has become advanced enough to detect active shooters, aid in solving murders and robberies, and missing

  20. Alexis Candelora February 17, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

    Surveillance is an increasingly common form of government control and protection. The extent to which authorities are bale to follow the movements of individuals through elaborate surveillance systems is incredible. This technology can easily be viewed as unnecessary, out-of-control, or an invasion of privacy as it is able to track innocent people. However, the technology is used to catch criminals and law-breakers. It can be used to track down thieves, hit-and-run drivers, and even missing people. The development of such surveilling technology is incredibly helpful and useful when catching criminals or tracking the location of a missing child. The technology for complex camera and surveillance systems is developed an implemented in societies for the greater good of the people. With these devices and tactics, it is easy to track, locate, and arrest criminals before they have the opportunity to commit another crime or escape punishment. The cameras can be found in essentially all public spaces: in malls, stores, restaurants, schools, cars, on street signs, and many more places. Further developments, lead to facial recognition, which would allow cameras and computer systems to track down an individual’s personal information based on his or her face. This can help identify criminals and whether or not individual’s have criminal background or connections. The goal is to make the country a safer place by being able to catch and stop criminal or unlawful activity. However, often times, individuals forget they are being watched through such security cameras. What individuals do in public is caught on camera despite consent. This, some may argue, violates their individual privacy. However, such measures are necessary to ensure public safety and justice. However, if an individual has nothing to hide, he or she has nothing to fear. The implement of surveillance cameras is a preventative measure as well as an attempt to catch injustice in the land. Therefore, the spread of cameras across the globe should not be feared or resisted, rather it should be embraced as a society benefit meant to keep more citizens safe from crime. As crime rates continue to plague societies, the need for surveillance will remain.

  21. Daniel Kim February 19, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

    Snowden releasing classified documents exposing NSA’s covert intelligence gathering capabilities confirmed that the U.S. government is keeping an eye on everyone. The list not only includes potential terrorists and dangerous criminals but also average citizens who have done nothing wrong. However, with every sensational trend, the American public seemed to have lost interest in this matter and moved on to the next thing. Of course, the debate over privacy and security is still ongoing. The proponents of surveillance argue that personal privacy is a necessary cost to ensure security. On the other hand, the advocates for personal privacy are concerned about surveillance infringing 1st amendment rights.

    Although legal scholars argue over privacy and security, the real concern is the person behind the curtain, so to speak. In other words, those in charge of massive surveillance programs need to hold themselves accountable because they are in charge of some of the most powerful monitoring machines in the world and are responsible for safeguarding citizens who are unaware of current threats.
    The Internet is now the modern public square where anyone can post a comment, like, or a video of cats playing pianos. At the same time, major news media are politically polarized. As the world is increasingly becoming more complex, the state of national security is also more fragile. Back then, the military was the key actor that enforced foreign policies. However, as data mining is becoming the norm, data analysts are becoming more valuable than that of soldiers. A recent Bloomberg article reported by Democrats on Senate Intelligence Committee criticized social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google on their slow reaction to the Russian influence on U.S. politics. Senate Committee’s Chairman, Richard Burr, urged the tech giants to work together as “…the front line of defense…” against cyberattack.

    Although today’s threats are increasingly becoming online, physical acts of violence are still relevant. A few days ago, another shooting occurred in a high school in Florida. Someone gave an anonymous tip to the FBI a month prior to the shooting. However, the FBI decided not to take further action with the information. Therefore, the surveillance technology is still limited. Despite the government’s efforts to prevent more school shootings, this phenomenon continues. Surveillance supporters are going to use the recent school shooting to push their agenda forward. On the other hand, the privacy advocates are most likely going to argue for alternative methods such as revamping mental health system or tighter gun control laws. Regardless of differences in opinions, the question remains: is a middle ground possible? Is a compromise that can satisfy differing parties possible?

    Another security breach was in the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Many intelligence agencies reported that Russian bots and hackers were involved with meddling in the election period. Only a few days ago, the Mueller investigating team discovered Russians posed as “grassroots organizations” and attacked or supported the nominees. Interestingly, the Russian hackers also encouraged minorities to vote for third party candidates. Incidents like these are going to continue in the future. Therefore, surveillance is going to play an important role as American society relies more on the internet. However, at the same time, people also will want their personal privacies.

    Overall, the issue of privacy and security is a complex and controversial debate. This topic is not going to resolve itself overnight. However, we can at least make sure to hold our government accountable to uphold both our security and privacy.

    Articles: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-01/social-media-companies-get-unaccustomed-grilling-on-russia-ads
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/fbi-nikolas-cruz-shooting.html
    https://www.npr.org/2018/02/16/586500591/grand-jury-indicts-russians-linked-to-interference-in-2016-election

  22. Timothy Wiamer February 19, 2018 at 7:54 pm #

    The article starts off by saying “Technology and our increasing demand for security have put us all under surveillance. Is privacy becoming just a memory?” It is not doubt that technology has spawned the age of security and surveillance. In London, cameras are displayed throughout the city. They are used to help combat crime, monitor traffic, and help uphold peace through the city. They were initially displayed to counter terrorist attacks such as bombings. Most people do not realize they are being watched. Occasionally, someone will notice and make a gesture at the camera. But London is not the only place in the world that has installed CCTVs and other forms of surveillance. Vast cities in the United States have done the same including New York, Houston, and Chicago. Each city uses them in the same ways as London. They have been proven useful. I personally feel as though they are helpful because there was that incident where a man was shot and they were able to capture the gunman thanks to the surveillance. When they are used in this manner, it is a positive. As long as we don’t become a totalitarian state or use it to that degree I think that they are acceptable. However, I know many people who believe that is ultimately where we are heading. Technology is so advanced today that if the police wanted to know what you are doing, they don’t need to follow you around. They just need to check your phone or social media. People are posting private information or valuable information and they don’t even know it. Cellphones have GPS built into them so it is easy to track someone. IPhones have the App “Find my Phone” and it will ding no matter where it is and you can located your phone if you lose it or if someone stole it. Should anyone hack into that system, they will easily find you. In addition, facial recognition is now on most devices. This isn’t only on cellphones but on computers and tablet devices as well. Not only is our daily activity being tracked via our cellphones and surveillance via the street/city, but also satellites have the ability to hone into a specific target. No matter what we are doing, we are being watched. Privacy is definitely just becoming a memory. We are not private and technology does not allow us to be private. We are so engulfed with technology ourselves that, as I mentioned, we share information we don’t even mean to share.

  23. Antonio Macolino February 20, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

    In today’s society, it can be pretty easy to lose sight of just how far certain technologies have come. One may think to themselves, no matter what they do, no one can see it because their life is private. This, unfortunately, is a very naïve statement. That may have been true 30 years ago, but now, we are being watched constantly. From security cameras littering city streets, to our own front facing cameras on our phones and computers, someone may be watching us.
    This raises the great debate on privacy. If we are constantly being watched, is there even privacy anymore. The main argument for this increase in surveillance is increased security. In my opinion, increased surveillance at certain times is not a bad thing. As shown in the article, the increased presence of security cameras in cities, in restaurants, and in banks truly does help to crack down on crime. Law enforcement officials can take a look at cities and find suspicious looking people and make sure they are stopped before a crime actually does occur. These cameras are also super helpful after a crime occurs. These security cameras provide law enforcement officials with a detailed view of what took place. These cameras can also provide police with the license plate numbers of get away cars.
    While increased surveillance is generally a good thing because it keeps us safe, there is a certain point where a line is crossed. I think the idea of the FBI watching everyday citizens through the cameras on their phones and computers is absolutely absurd. This is the point where one has to ask the question, what is privacy? A person should be able to go home and live in privacy. They should not have to fear being watched 24/7. The home is supposed to be a place of privacy and once you take that away, there is none left.
    The only way the FBI should be able to spy on people through their phones and computers is if they have legitimate reasons to suspect someone of partaking in illegal activity. Just like the police needs a warrant to search your car or house, the FBI should require a warrant to spy on people and go through their personal phones and computers. If these measures are not taken, then it is almost like we are living in the dystopian society presented in George Orwell’s 1984. In 2018, we have to remind ourselves that “Big Brother is watching you”.

  24. Samara Simboli February 21, 2018 at 10:55 am #

    Privacy is a big issue in today’s society, whether we like keeping things to ourselves or if we want to share with the world how we are feeling about a particular thing is really up to us. Sometimes we feel as though “Big Brother” is watching our every move with the number of cameras that are present when you enter a business or a school. As a citizen of the country in which we have a right to our privacy, it should come as a surprise that our privacy in public is becoming less common. Being that facial recognition software is currently in cameras, stores can tell if someone’s face matches that of someone that might be wanted for committing a crime. In London, there are surveillance cameras set up on virtually every street corner and some residents there do not approve of the amount surveillance that are on the streets there and they have been known to flip off the cameras or expose a body part in a protest of being closely monitored. While it makes sense that those cameras are up for security reasons to ensure that if something happens, then the police can reference the cameras and attempt to figure out what happened and who was involved. It makes sense from a safety point of view in that someone might always be watching what is going on, but also it is an invasion of privacy.
    Having cameras present does not always equate to safety as people will attempt to outsmart the system by strategically avoiding the cameras when they can. I know my high school had cameras everywhere and the security guard would watch them like a hawk and would go after people if they did not like what they were doing. It was a safety thing, but the problem was that people knew how to get around being in view of the camera. I would always joke that Big Brother was watching me and if I stepped out of line I would be reprimanded. It sounds crazy but to me, I felt like I was in George Orwell’s 1984 in that the government was spying on us and having some information on us that only people who have seen us that day would know. As cool as it would be to know that someone is always making sure that the city is safe, I feel like I still want a certain amount of privacy when I am walking around. The cameras are very clear and could probably analyze my face and tell the person who is viewing the footage who I am and where I am from and other personal information that would otherwise be found on government-issued documents. The type of monitoring talked about in the article seems to break our Constitutional right to privacy and have these camera been shown to reduce the crime rate in the areas in which they were implemented? Also, when people on the internet joke around that there is an FBI agent watching over our computers and listening to our phone calls, that could very well be true. And I am not loving this idea that a science-fiction movie of a dystopian society is coming to fruition.

  25. Connor Wiedeman February 21, 2018 at 4:07 pm #

    The scenario that this article has described surprises me, and doesn’t seem to describe the image that comes to mind when mentioning the historic city of London, but rather a scene out of a sci-fi movie. It is unsettling and somewhat ridiculous to me that there are rooms with people watching almost every angle and street in London from thousands of different cameras. While it’s understood and argued that these cameras are to prevent attacks or crimes such as the 2005 terrorist attacks, this is still a very weighted decision. These cameras will aid law enforcement in tracking down criminals and bringing them to justice, but this benefit comes at the cost of privacy for the average citizen. In my opinion, this is too high a price to pay when there are plenty of other methods for finding criminals that do not completely eliminate the privacy of every citizen walking on the streets.
    People could argue that we don’t have any privacy with the cameras or without due to electronic surveillance by the government (Snowden leaks) but people should not have to feel like they are being watched at all times when walking in public. This method of catching criminals is a major overreach and I am surprised there was not more backlash from the population once the system was implemented. These cameras are claimed to be for stopping crimes, but surely every square foot of London can’t be monitored by a camera, so wouldn’t this just create crime areas where cameras have not yet been installed? I am curious to know if studies have been done on areas surveilled by the cameras to determine the effectiveness of installing them. If crime rate has stayed stagnant and not decreased, then installing these cameras will have cost an unnecessary amount of money from the taxpayers and also will have cost them an unnecessary amount of privacy.
    While having cameras in public is not a new strategy, in fact there are cameras pretty much everywhere you go such as malls, ATMs, restaurants, grocery stores, an argument could be made that since there are already cameras everywhere we go, then what is the problem with the cameras in London? Another argument that could be made in response to this is that regardless of any cameras stores still get robbed, people still rob people at ATMs and crime still happens, so why would the cameras make a difference in London. The cameras in London have cost over 320 million dollars to install and maintain. According to the CityLab article, installing cameras in public places has cut the crime rate down by 7%. (https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2011/12/crime-cameras-worth-the-money/693/). Is 320 million dollars in taxpayer money worth cutting petty crime rate by 7%? And after all the money spent, “London city data revealed that police were no more likely to catch the perpetrators of crimes committed in camera-dense areas than in other boroughs, suggesting no link between more cameras and better crime solving.” Taking in the statistics and research done on the topic, I believe this overpriced cameras system deserves a second thought.

  26. John A. February 21, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

    Throughout history societies have taken precautions to keep citizens safe. Guards patrolled the marketplaces in ancient Egypt (http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/law_and_order/police.htm), community members acted as law-enforcement in medieval times (https://www.historyonthenet.com/medieval-life-crime-and-medieval-punishment/) and today we have various agencies that look after our well-being. The early police departments in the U.S. evolved from community volunteers. In the 1830’s organized police departments were created with paid officers. These early police officers did not want to wear badges as the police were not well liked by the community (http://time.com/4779112/police-history-origins/). There are likely several reasons why they were not liked, perhaps it was due to corruption or the fact that the community was now being formally watched.
    As society has evolved so too has the processes for keeping people safe. This article discusses many advantages and disadvantages of the technology being deployed for security purposes. It seems that society will never accept that they are being watched for their own good. Its human nature to get that eerie feeling when someone is looking at you for no reason. But should that feeling negate the fact that technology is helping to keep criminals off the streets and away from the citizens that comply with societies laws and moral behaviors.
    The article discusses many ways that surveillance data can be captured. CCTV, body cams, satellites, facial recognition and nuclear resonance fluorescence for conducting scans of objects through walls. These technologies can be used for security, monitoring the earth’s climate, protecting endangered species, containing wildfires, military use and many other important surveillance details. This data can be captured almost on demand giving us the ability to act upon the data in real-time. However, with the advantages come the downfalls. Who watches the people behind the cameras? Where does all that data go? Are the surveillance procedures being used effectively? These are common questions being asked.
    The relevance to these answers are found in how comfortable society feels with their safety. If people feel safe do these questions and answers matter, not in my opinion. As the title to the article states, they are watching you, but if it is not behind closed doors what harm is there if this technology can capture a criminal, protect an entire nation or aid in environmental protection.

  27. Sydney V February 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm #

    This article really urges the reader to consider how much privacy has changed and all of the good and bad about the constant surveillance we are under. We are living in the age of technology where almost everything can be done by phone or computer and where everything you do can be monitored by the government. Is that really such a bad thing? Personally, I believe that being constantly monitored is only a problem for people who are doing something wrong. The people who are on their daily commute to work and are caught on camera by satellites or store surveillance cameras have nothing to worry about. The government isn’t after them or interested in their daily walk to work, they are interested in catching criminals, terrorists, drug dealers, etc. They are looking for things out of the ordinary, things that they can and should be preventing that will keep us all safe. Yes, it’s obvious that by now any average Joe could be recognized by facial recognition software, since basically any public place you go has cameras. But why is that a problem unless you are trying to hide something? I think people are so worried about being watched that they don’t realize the government doesn’t actually care what they are doing. Right now I’m a college student; I text my friends, go on social media, do homework, and participate in many other daily activities. If the government wants to monitor my phone and watch me through satellites, they won’t have much to see. What is really important is how much good these cameras are doing. We are now able to track endangered species that are on the track to extinction; we are able to see the signs of a forest fire or warn people of hurricanes before they approach. There is so much that these satellites can do and in this age of technology we should be using every resource to our advantage. There is so much that we don’t know about the planet and so much to be learned from the endless technology that is developing, why should we stop now?

  28. zhijie Yang February 28, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

    The surveillance of cameras has not been noticed by the public since its birth, and the development has become ubiquitous in the social infrastructure.
    At the same time, the development of advanced technology, led by artificial intelligence and facial recognition, has made the surveillance cameras more powerful. They are a safeguard of national security, but they are a nightmare for privacy advocates and any other government threat.
    In 1949, under the shadow of European authoritarianism, George Orwell, a British novelist, published his dystopian masterpiece“1984”, which issued a stern warning: “brother is watching you.” Although this concept is disturbing, “monitoring” was still largely restricted by technology at the time. That year, in 1949, an American company released its first commercial closed-circuit television (CCTV) system. Two years later, in 1951, kodak introduced the brownie portable film camera, which shocked the public.
    Nowadays, more than 2.5 trillion images are Shared or stored on the Internet each year, not to mention the billions of photos and video that people keep for themselves. One telecom company estimates that by 2020, 6.1 billion people will have mobile phones capable of taking pictures. At the same time, an estimated 106 million new surveillance cameras are sold every year. More than three million machines around the world are staring at users. Tens of thousands of cameras in the name of the automatic license plate recognition (ANPR) equipment hanging on the highway, in order to catch speeding drivers or parking, or, as has happened in the UK and China track suspected criminals.
    This is our Brave New World, and we will see it coming. Alessandro Acquisti, a professor of information technology at Carnegie Mellon university, said: “in the privacy of cat and mouse games, the data subject has always been the weaker side of the game.” It is frustrating to yield directly to the game. But seeking to protect privacy can lead to lower morale. At the university of Texas in the United States, a research professor Randolph Lewis in his new book “Under Surveillance: Being Watched in Modern America”, wrote for those who really feel it, they will want to resist exhausting: it is overwhelming, continuous, ubiquitous, pervasive, it has all kinds of ways.”
    The desire for privacy is a universal characteristic of human intercultural and intergenerational. This can be found in ancient Rome, ancient Greece, bible, and Koran. The fear is that even if we suffer loss of privacy in every individual, but society known private’s value until after we’ve lost privacy forever.
    We live in a world where there is no secret. Ultimately, privacy can be a sign of true wealth and power, and only those with a lot of money can have it. For others, the whole world really becomes a stage, and all of us consciously play our part.
    The era of transparency is coming!

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