Surveillance has a roleThe global non governmental organization working to protect privacy, the Global Internet Liberty Campaign divides privacy into four categories: information, physical, telecommunication and space privacy.
Among the main violators of spatial privacy are CCTVs installed around homes, the workplace and public spaces. They are surveillance systems to protect against strangers and theft.
Worldwide, the United Kingdom is one of the countries with many CCTVs. About 4.2 million are installed. There are about 20 million CCTVs worldwide, meaning that a country that has only 1 percent of the global population has 20 percent of the systems. They are installed in ordinary public spaces, major buildings and on streets.
As a CCTV stronghold, the United Kingdom is continuously developing its technology. The British police introduced a flying CCTV. On a pilotless reconnaissance plane produced for military use, they have installed a CCTV, making it possible to take high-resolution videos from 1,640 feet. They are also testing an intelligent CCTV that can recognize people who are likely to commit a crime. It has software that can detect suspicious behavior by observing people from eight cameras. There is even a CCTV that scolds a person who has committed a crime or misbehaves. In reality, it is a speaker warning from a watchman monitoring the camera speaker. There are endless debates on the violation of privacy, but public sentiment about CCTVs is not all negative.
Since a CCTV played a critical role in capturing terrorists suspected of the July 2005 London bus and subway bombings, technology has evolved so that when there is a crime, on the same evening, the BBC broadcasts the CCTV footage. Some people say one CCTV plays the role of 10 policemen.
Coincidentally, George Orwell, who warned against Big Brother surveillance systems in his book “1984”, is British.
Recently in Korea, CCTVs are being highlighted. Without a CCTV in the elevator, the violent attack on the girl in Ilsan would not have been recorded. A CCTV installed at the entry of an apartment played a key role in capturing on video the suspect in the killing of a family of four. After heinous crimes, public opinion is forming in favor of installing more CCTVs to prevent crime. Some organizations plan to install more of the cameras. The image of a CCTV has shifted from surveillance to crime prevention. Surveillance systems that some may say violate privacy and human rights are being accepted as necessary items for safety.
The writer is a deputy culture and sports editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Yang Sung-hee [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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