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Security Cameras – An invasion of privacy or necessary evil?

It was 1984 and Rockwell must have seen the future when he flooded the airwaves with his hit “Somebody’s Watching Me”. The paranoid pop rant was catapulted to the top of the charts with Michael Jackson adding his distinct voice to the chorus of a song that spoke of “The Twilight Zone” and “Psycho” as the writer asked “can the people on TV see me or am I just paranoid”.


Fast forward 30 years and Somebody Is Watching You! From satellites hovering high above to cameras intruding on almost every aspect of your daily life, you might consider them nothing more than an invasion of your privacy. You question big-brother (AKA The Government) reaching beyond the limits of legal and ethical standards. So, is the proliferation of cameras in our day to day lives a bad thing?

Before you make a decision in respect to the good and bad of it, a little history lesson might be helpful. A glimpse back to what may very well be the first known “security camera” ever used shows that in 1933, a Mr. Norbury in London, England was disturbed to find eggs and chickens missing from his coops. He set up a simple box camera with cords that were connected to the door and the lever on the camera that would cause an image to be captured when the door was opened! To make it even more effective, he fixed a second cord to the door and when it was opened; it made a piece of metal rattle against the tin tub that the eggs were kept in. This caused the intruder to look toward the sound giving the victim a perfect profile of him. Within a matter of days, Frederick William Barnwell struck again and his image was captured, subsequently resulting in a guilty plea and kudos from the judge. Pure genius!


Think about a security video as a compilation of a bunch of images like the single image of the egg thief. Images have been proving, disproving and leaving us wanting more for over a century. Today, hidden and not so hidden cameras are everywhere. They’re in offices, retail locations, the drive-thru, schools, EVERY Government building, main streets, side streets and even in your home. Maybe you’ve seen red-light cameras that are triggered by a sensor located under the white stop line and before the entrance of the intersection. This sensor becomes active when the traffic light turns red.  NOT yellow, but completely red. There are spy planes, Google-maps, private satellites and the biggest user of security cameras, the Department of Homeland Security!

So, we know that the original intentions were good, but how have security cameras evolved to our present day? What has it come to? Reflections of George Orwell’s 1984 ring true to some in this passage, “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate, they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”


Since 9/11, things have changed and many people feel inconvenienced and intruded upon. I think you need to weigh what you have truly given up and how you have been adversely affected. Is it worth one life, or ten, or one-hundred lives that you have to take your shoes off at the airport?  Are you upset because there’s a camera on that downtown street you’re walking down? I’ll bet the college student who was raped by the guy that followed her after she left a restaurant by herself is happy there were cameras that helped identify the rapist! Ray Rice probably wishes he never stepped foot into that elevator with a camera in it but, think about how much conversation and attention was brought to the subject of domestic abuse! Consider the images of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev that were captured and tied them to the Boston Marathon bombing and then discuss personal privacy versus public security!

My take on it is this . . . if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t be concerned. Until someone shows me definitive proof that Big Brother is watching me doing every day, mundane things, I’m not going to get worked up about that camera in the retail store or the one that sees me walking down that downtown street or driving  down the highway. I will, however, be glad when the cameras at my house keep out that criminal that needs a fix, or feels entitled to what I’ve worked for. If I’m ever in Boca Raton shopping at Town Center and my car is broken into, I’d like to know that they have security cameras that may have caught a glimpse of the &$@(*$ or their license plate. Last but not least, I’ll be glad to know that there are cameras on campus when my daughters go off to college! Face it, it’s not a perfect world and I’d rather be a little inconvenienced and know that while I’m being watched . . . so is the bad guy!


If you’re still scared and angry because you feel violated, I’ll tell you not to be. As a matter of fact, I suggest you peruse our website at or call us at 1-866-573-8878 and see what we can do to help you feel more secure in your home or business.  And by the way . . . to answer the question “can the people on TV see me or am I just paranoid”. For those of you who have cameras built into your television or laptop, the answer is yes! That’s because the browser on your computer or web enabled TV can be hacked thereby allowing someone to take control of the camera at any time possibly catching you when you least expect it! This doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of cameras and technology. It only means that you need to learn how to protect yourself from unwanted intrusion by making sure that your personal network is protected sufficiently. You know; if your name is Barbara and you were born in 1971, don’t make your network password Barbara71.

Maybe next month we’ll delve into securing your network! Until then . . . act right when you’re in public because chances are . . . you are being watched!

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