Is video surveillance good or bad? Setting up cameras to watch people as they go about their daily lives is no good. It is creepy and Orson Well’s 1984 – like (and 1984 was a very scary read for me).
The advantages of having cameras are obvious. You can have a recording of all the things that passed by your shop or this popular street and so on. If we manage to be able to read people’s faces and mob actions, then they will be more useful and even more prevalent. Crime could seriously be reduced if we can capture the faces of criminals the moment they walk outside.
The disadvantage is its influence on the public. To be honest, it creeps the bejesus outta me to think that I am on camera. Thinking about some weird dude sitting in a dark room, chuckling to himself as he follows some innocent wanderers as they go buy porn or other terrible things makes me very nervous. They already have cameras that take hilarious pictures of people cutting red lights, but if it becomes more about information gathering than protection, we might be at a serious disadvantage to the people in control of cameras (which could end up being the wrong people). Not being able to trust the people videotaping you is fearful.
So what do you think? Are cameras naughty or nice? A security problem or a security solution? Note: sure there are many problems that can be solved by cameras, but are they worth the constant surveillance? (instead of risk assessment, ethical assessment)