Have you ever had that feeling that someone’s is watching you? Chances are, you’re right! If you often spend time in any major city, government building, bank, shopping center, airport, train station, port, and gas station (amongst almost any other facility that is open to the public) you are more than likely being recorded on some sort of surveillance system. Now, whether or not someone is on the other end endlessly watching the cameras or not you may never know. When people often think of security cameras they commonly refer to being watched by big brother! Often times it is just hard working business owners trying to protect their investments from the scum of this world, other times it will be security professionals watching for the “suspicious” activity. Most systems are generally used to record the information and it is only retrieved when an event occurs or there is a dispute of some sort. Now when you go to a big sporting event, or other large gathering, the police will often times use these systems to scan the crowd to look for dangerous people, especially in the wake with the Boston Marathon bombings. These systems are being harnessed for the protection of all citizens and to ensure no more copycat attempts.
I often hear from people that, “I don’t understand why my company put in security cameras! What, don’t they trust me?” Commonly, it’s not the lack of trust of specific individuals; it is that they want to know what is going on and make sure that the scum don’t try and falsely bring allegations or lawsuits against them. Erroneous lawsuits hurt everyone in society. The cost of goods have gone up tremendously with all the bogus slip and fall lawsuits that occur in supermarkets and other retail stores. Since the implementation of higher quality security cameras these lawsuits have been slowly diminishing. You have to remember that there are people in this society that will try and get away with things if no one is there to watch them. Trust me when I first started working here it was a little weird being video and sound recorded! After a few days it went away, and I started thinking about it and realized that if I am not doing anything wrong why does it matter if I am being watched!
When it comes to security cameras, their purpose is generally used for good! I know that I always feel safer knowing that there are cameras around. I think the main reason is that I know if something is to happen, at least there is a recording of the event/s that occurred to help me prove my case. For ninety percent, give or take a few percent, of people will do the right thing when being watched. Now if you take away the cameras that percentage would drop drastically, I feel this has a lot to do with the fact that people are generally risk takers. If there is a chance to get away with something people are more likely to take that risk! I’m not implying that people are inherently bad, I am expressing that the devil in people are more likely to come out when they feel they can get away with the crime. You should really not fear the fact that security cameras are in use across the country. Your concerns should be more focused on what are government agencies are doing that you don’t even have a clue about! At least a camera system leaves some evidence in case a crime does occur.
If you want to fear something, you should fear what the NSA (National Security Agency) does on a daily basis that you and I may never know about unless defectors continue to spill their secrets. One such program that was revealed in the past month is known as PRISM. From what is known, this program allows for authorized analysts of the NSA to pull detailed information from consumers of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, and other firms. Under the shield of the government, this program allows for the extraction of e-mails, photos, documents, chats, as well as other information without any search warrants or court rulings.
Another program that just had information released about it is the NSA’s XKEYSCORE program. From what I can tell this is a series of Linux clusters that have been massively distributed around the world, which is completely scalable to meet the needs of the NSA. It seems that these clusters collect data from almost all Internet traffic and store it in a database for later use by the NSA. They can query the information to learn a lot of information about anything they want really.
A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the FBI unlimited authority for three months to indiscriminately collect all phone call data on every Verizon customer at home or abroad. This information is being put into a database for use when trying to determine potential terrorist threats. It is a little unnerving that it is a blanket collection, but the way I look at it is that I am not doing anything wrong so it isn’t affecting me directly.
I am not defending what the NSA or other agencies are doing as right or wrong! I just want you to be aware that I would fear them more than I would fear a camera system recording me. Unfortunately in the day and age that we currently live in, we need to become accustom to being recorded in all aspects of our lives. We live in a digital world with lots of digital footprints that we all leave on a daily basis. Sometimes these footprints are more incriminating than any video evidence will be. This is generally because people feel that what they do on the Internet in the comfort of their own home isn’t being monitored. If more people just understood that no matter what you do in this world, you are being watched and monitored. So treat everything you do as if you are not alone, more people would do the right things and not be so tempted by the bad things.