In the fight against crime, police forces and governments are increasingly using security cameras in public places. Some people are opposed to this, saying that it invades our privacy.
Security cameras have become ubiquitous in many countries. Whereas before they appeared only in banks and at high-security areas, they are now entering public places such as malls, streets, stadiums, and transport. Many people feel this affects their privacy. This essay will examine whether the advantages of these cameras outweigh their negative impact.
Surveillance cameras have several benefits. An obvious benefit is that the police can catch criminals in the act, thus can reduce crime. This will make the streets safer for ordinary people. A more important point is that criminals, particularly young offenders or petty criminals will be deterred. They will not be tempted to carry out crimes, and thus society will be a lot safer. Cameras are also cost-effective and unobtrusive. Authorities do not need to spend large amounts of money on police.
However, security cameras are far from being a perfect solution. The biggest objection concerns privacy. Many people feel that they should be free to travel or move around a shop, mall, street or country without being photographed or recorded. They feel that being watched constantly is like being in jail and that ordinary people are losing their freedom because of these devices.
Another point is that although the police say that only criminals have something to fear from the cameras, many people do not trust governments with too much information. Corrupt authorities could use information in the wrong way or twist it to victimize some groups. Thirdly, cameras and computers can make mistakes.
In conclusion, although there are definite advantages to using surveillance devices such as cameras, we need to balance the need for security with respect for the individual’s privacy and freedom. If we do not trust the members of society, a situation like George Orwell’s “1984” could be the result.
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