Caught on camera – Undercover spies watch our every move

On average in the UK there are 1.85 million cameras, which is an average ratio of 1 camera to 32 people.

On average in the UK there are 1.85 million cameras, which is an average ratio of 1 camera to 32 people. CCTV is used for many different purposes, most significantly for surveillance which is French for ‘watching over’, and even though you may not think about it, you are always being watched. You may be out shopping, waiting at the station, sitting on a bus, driving in your car, topping up your petrol, tucking in to a burger at MacDonald’s or even walking down the street. Cameras follow you everywhere you go. 

The concept of CCTV is very powerful in terms of the psychological effect it has on the public. For instance, signs stating that ‘CCTV is in Operation’ automatically brings it to our attention, making us feel conscious of being watched, thus fearing to do wrong. It’s a controlling system as it simply takes a camera present for the public to question their actions. Even if the CCTV camera is not working, which is sometimes the case, then essentially it is a dummy camera, but because this is unknown to us, we are still conscious of it. It proves how psychologically powerful it is, as instantly we associate a camera with being watched, and it is this concept which is implanted into our minds.  Cameras give us reassurance, for instance if your at a station late at night, it’s dark and very few people about, we are more likely to feel safer and secure if we know there are cameras safeguarding us, rather then have no cameras at all. On average we are captured on 70 different CCTV cameras everyday…that’s a very scary thought!

You could say that CCTV technology misuses innocent people’s human rights as it invades our privacy. Thankfully cameras are only in public places unless you’ve signed up to ‘Big Brother’ and absolutely everything is published on TV. But could you imagine if cameras were secretly installed in private places such as bedrooms? Or toilets? We would all be living in a world with no privacy.

Identity plays a huge role in CCTV; images are released in the press to help police identify suspects. CCTV plays a crucial role in crime investigation as it helps to confirm an individual’s identity, as well highlight details such as time and location. This accumulates the context of the situation at hand, helping investigators make their conclusions. Cameras give free access to knowledge of your whereabouts. Security guards have the power to find out where you are, who you are with, and what time you were there; they are essentially under cover spies. 

It is not the nicest thought to feel you’re being spied on but without security cameras we lose security and protection. They are in effect the eyes of the law, the eyes that never sleep or even blink, they don’t miss a thing.