For the last two years of my life, I have lived in an apartment complex with my family. A window in my room faced another building directly in front of ours. Despite there being a thirty foot gap between the two buildings, I always found myself feeling uncomfortable around that window, as I constantly had the feeling that someone was watching my every move. Similarly, knowing that thousands of surveillance cameras have recorded my various actions throughout the years only heightens this discomfort. I am certain that many people feel the same way.
In recent years, security cameras have become extremely common throughout the world and the extensive use of these cameras has led society to raise issues faced with their existence. Not only are the legality and regulations surrounding security cameras questionable, but they can also be used by individuals for their own private purposes. Due to this, cameras have become a common sight in public areas such as streets and malls, and are no longer only seen in high-security areas. For these reasons, the use of surveillance cameras has drastically changed our daily lives, and thus, a change must take place to improve our general quality of living.
One of the seemingly important advantages of video surveillance is, of course, that it can be used to help prevent or reduce the likelihood of terrorist attacks by exposing a criminal's identity through video footage. However, according to the ACLU, "suicide attackers are clearly not deterred by video cameras—and may even be attracted to the television coverage cameras can ensure". So, while cameras may be effective at deterring pettier criminal activities such as shoplifting or property robberies, they seem to be useless against more violent terrorist attacks. Furthermore, many take advantage of video surveillance in a negative way. These are some examples of CCTV abuse as stated by the ACLU-"In 1997, a top-ranking police official in Washington, DC was caught using police databases to gather information on patrons of a gay club. By looking up the license plate numbers of cars parked at the club and researching the backgrounds of the vehicles' owners, he tried to blackmail patrons who were married" and that "a database available to Michigan law enforcement was used by officers to help their friends or themselves stalk women, threaten motorists after traffic altercations, and track estranged spouses".
Perhaps the largest downside(in my opinion) to video surveillance is the effect it has on people,...