‘Big rights. Then the paper will continue with some

‘Big
brother is watching you!’ This sentence was and still is for a lot of people food
for thought. It comes from the famous book ‘1984’ written by George Orwell. In his
book, he describes how the world of 1984 would look like. It is strange to see
how realistic and timeless his book is, as part of it applies to the present-day
society.

Nowadays the technology is more advanced than for instance 30 years ago, which
has established many arrests and prevented some terrorist attacks. But is this
a good thing? Being under video surveillance every hour of the day, being
looked at constantly without knowing it? Video surveillance is still a very sensitive topic because it is an
‘invasion’ of privacy. Still, the crucial question remains: ‘Why is the EU
still reluctant to use full video surveillance?’

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Firstly,
the paper will start with some background information about the emerge of video
surveillance and the conflict it has with privacy rights. Then the paper will
continue with some examples from previous years. After the examples, there will
be an ethical view on this topic. And after that the conclusion follows. à
Adjust when the paper is finished

Background information
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date of the first use of security cameras;
however, historians refer to the year 1913 as the first time ‘modern
photographic surveillance’ was used. The photos that the historians refer to
were taken at the Holloway Prison. The guards took pictures of a certain group
of inmates who refused to have their pictures taken by prison authorities. The
guards used the pictures to identify the inmates. Still the pictures that the
guards took were without awareness of the inmates, and it could be argued that
this is a violation of privacy of the inmates. As the years follow, video
surveillance evolves. For instance, in 1960 the police in Frankfurt/Main put
the first ‘photographic and automatic red light-surveillance’ in order. The aim
was to investigate violations of traffic regulations, and in addition to observe
rallies and public gatherings. (Vintech, Back to Basics: Where Did the Video Security
System Come From?, 2011)

 

Throughout the
90s, there were many security cameras installed in public places. The late 90s introduced
the digital, computer age, which caused a vast innovation in the security
industry. For instance, remote monitoring, facial recognition and so on. The
latter, facial recognition, was already developed in the 1960s, but it was not
as effective as it is today. The lack of certain types of software or
technology caused some complications and the outcomes were not always reliable.

Despite the fact that facial recognition is in conflict with privacy issues, it
is still implemented in large, public areas.  (Vintech, Back to Basics: Where Did the Video Security
System Come From? Post 90s, 2011)

As mentioned prior,
video surveillance is in conflict with privacy issues. Article 8, about the
protection of personal data, of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights states the
following:

1.    
‘Everyone has the right to the
protection of personal data concerning him or her.’

2.    
‘Such data must be processed
fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person
concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the
right of access to date which has been collected concerning him or her, and the
right to have it rectified.’

3.    
‘Compliance with these rules
shall be subject to control by an independent authority.’ (FRA, sd)

Because of the upcoming organised crime,
radicalization and terrorism a great part of the people is fearful of their
wellbeing and tend to ignore the violation of their privacy rights as they are
solely focusing on staying safe. These events have led to more usage of video
surveillance, in some cases new laws, as the people are fearful of their
wellbeing.

 

Current situation
In particular the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, who
introduced in 2015 a new terrorism law, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act
of 2015, which confers unprecedented police powers on the British intelligence and
security agencies. Six weeks before the introduction of this new terrorism law,
Cameron said, ”We need to do more to stop people from travelling to the
Middle East, to stop those who do go from returning, and to deal decisively
with those who are already here.” (Keller, 2017) Cameron also
claimed that the police and security services had stopped at least six
different attempts to attack the UK in the last twelve months alone. Yet he
could not give evidence or details. (Keller, 2017)

 

Ethical vision
Mannermaa, a Finnish futurologist says: ” The society is presented as ”soft
surveillance, knowledge and non-forgetting history data”. He believes when the
actions of the authorities are tracked, and surveillance is transparent, it
would help to gain the trust of the society. (Jyri Rajamäki, 2012)

Considering the
fact that the society feels like they have lost control over their own data and
privacy. Perhaps that this could lead to a more accepting society instead of
the fear most of them have today.

Through the use
of facial recognition, a lot of criminals have been arrested, at airports,
train stations, but also at places as sports games or festivals. This is great
achievement, but the question still remains: Should it be at the expense of
their own privacy? Even though a great part of people visiting these public
places have no criminal record at all, and still be viewed.

Considering
the downsides video surveillance has, recent research has shown that video
surveillance can also be used for other purposes, for instance for people with
dementia. (Maurice Mulvenna, 2017)