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Privacy is a fundamental right that all Americans should be entitled to and are deserving of. Governments through out history and all around the world have turned on there people and used information to take total control of there population. Public video surveillance has increased significantly as technology advances and I feel this gives the government much more power and control of its people. Therefore I believe the United States Government should have a very limited role in using public video surveillance in cities.
Surveillance cameras and there effectiveness on deterring crime is debatable topic. In some instances such as burglaries and petty theft are thwarted but violent crimes are unchanged according to an article by B. Welsh and M. Zender. In other crimes such as terrorism studies have shown that there is no effectiveness on preventing these types of crimes and has been said that terrorists would rather be filmed to gain much more exposure to spread terror.
In another study done by the urban institute looking at the effectiveness of cameras in three cities Baltimore, Chicago and Washington d.
c. it was found that in all three cities crime fell at first but such as Washington D.C crime returned to the same after two years. The cities also complained about the high price for the installation of the cameras. Given there is no definitive proof that cameras reduce violent crime or terrorism I feel the money to install cameras would be much better used towards police officers.
A mass system of public surveillance cameras are a massive infringement on the privacy rights of all Americans.
With the amount of data that the government tracks on you why is it that the government needs to be watching you in all public places as well. It has been found that these surveillance cameras are able to be hacked and this information could be used erroneously if it was obtained by the wrong person.
Another massive issue I discovered in a story I found on BBC was it was found a cctv operator was using the cameras to spy on a woman`s apartment for his own “sexual gratification”. As most people could figure out this probably not an isolated case as public cameras are in almost all cities through out the world. For these reasons public surveillance cameras invade to much a persons privacy.
As technology advances so do the algorithms and face tracking software that government uses in there surveillance cameras. This is dangerous territory because many of these technologies are unregulated and us as a americans do not know how the us goverment is using this information. In 2013 a NSA whistle blower by the name of Edward Snowden released documents and recorded an interview explaining the widespread surveillance that the US government was performing on its own people.
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