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Is Big Brother watching you?

Is Big Brother watching you?

Abu Dhabi is investing $9 million to install surveillance equipment across the city. But from privacy issues to money matters, many analysts argue that CCTV is not the best solution to enhance security.

March 3, 2010 1:31 by

They are also expensive, and can be easily misused. “Police have already spied on naked women in their own homes, shared nude images, sold best-of videos, and spied on national politicians. While we might be willing to accept these downsides for a real increase in security, cameras don’t provide that.”

However, cameras aren’t completely ineffective, he said, adding that if used properly, they can be used to reduce crime in “enclosed areas with minimal foot traffic.”

A research report by UK’s Home Office in 2005, which analyzed 14 CCTV schemes across Britain, also found that the majority of the schemes did not reduce crime; even where there was a decrease in crime rates, it was mostly not due to CCTV. The report also included a survey of the residents, which found that the installation of the camera did not necessarily lead to a reinforced feeling of security among respondents.

“Assessed on the evidence presented in this report, CCTV cannot be deemed a success. It has cost a lot of money and it has not produced the anticipated benefits,” the report said. However, the medium does have potential if used in the right manner, it added.

“Too much must not be expected of CCTV. It is more than just a technical solution; it requires human intervention to work to maximum efficiency and the problems it helps deal with are complex. It has potential, if properly managed, often alongside other measures, and in response to specific problems, to help reduce crime and to boost the public’s feeling of safety; and it can generate other benefits.

“For these to be achieved though, there needs to be greater recognition that reducing and preventing crime is not easy and that ill-conceived solutions are unlikely to work no matter what the investment,” the report concluded.

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