Sample English Essay Paper on Privacy Issue: Smart CCTV in public

Privacy Issue: Smart CCTV in public


The issues regarding privacy and data require balance against additional values within the society regarding national security, law enforcement, public health and economic efficiency among other things. The belief that privacy is important and valuable creates a perspective that the various ways in which vast amounts of data are collected can help promote the common good. However, the strategies applied in dealing with surveillance technologies bring about issues of privacy through the endurance of an empirical subject of research on monitoring. The analysis based on public discourse with reference to smart closed-circuit television (CCTV) brought about the utilization of sociology of knowledge perspective in determining how privacy facilitates understanding of how it is constructed and negotiated in the social world. The analysis of these areas indicated that the only form of privacy entailed the only form of critique in the struggle for the legitimate definition of smart CCTV.

Therefore, this paper will focus on discussing the implications of the relationship between privacy issues and surveillance technology as well as draw conclusions on how the relationship might become constitutive (Chen, Paik and Hung 266). The discussion of these issues will help in answering questions such as whether all people have an equal need for privacy or whether some feel more vulnerable in some way and thus require more privacy than others. Additionally, it will help in analyzing whether legislative bodies should pass new laws to protect privacy based on the new technologies and products currently used in collecting information about people. 

The persistence of privacy

Controversial issues pertaining surveillance scholarship occur as a result of privacy at it fosters the achievement of political, conceptual and thematic challenges. In the policy aspect, privacy expresses doubts as to whether privacy can effectively keep surveillance in check because sanctions of information misuse are not strong enough. Opponents in these areas claim that privacy regulations remain flawed but necessary, simply because they are the only actual mechanism to control excessive surveillance. These positions exemplify a broadly shared conviction that privacy is a relatively limited means for political activism (Weber 622).

Additionally, they suggest that the extensive focus on privacy as a scholarly theme implies ignorance on more pressing issues that may result from surveillance practices, such as discrimination, social inequality or even shifting conceptions of bodily integrity. The rejection of privacy as a defining theme is widely shared in surveillance research because it is regarded as too narrow to grasp the entirety of the social consequences resulting from surveillance practices (Wurster 208). Finally, several scholars have pointed out serious difficulties when privacy is applied as a theoretical concept to analyze whether we have less privacy now than in the past (Weber 623).

In response to these conceptions, research pointed out that understandings of what is private and what is public differ across cultures. Besides, some researchers claim that these differences bring about a relation between the institutional contexts and organizational ideologies where such static definitions of privacy are largely inappropriate to factual complexities of surveillance in the present world. The notion that researching surveillance technology is inadequate through the lens of privacy creates the problem that it cannot be ignored due to its regular occurrence in empirical data. The endurance of privacy as a substantive empirical subject in surveillance research requires identification of an adequate perspective to work with (Wang, Jiang and Kambourakis 42). Critiques of privacy as a theoretical concept helps in guiding the point of view that if understandings of privacy are culturally relative, then they must also be historically relative and may be traced through their development across time and analyzed on how they related to other topics in surveillance research (Wang, Jiang and Kambourakis 48). However, suggestions include the fact that the privacy discourse may facilitate the emergence of new surveillance technologies. We outline this seemingly contradictory relationship between privacy critiques and monitoring technology by discussing preliminary results of our analysis of the public discourse of so-called ‘‘smart’’ closed-circuit television (CCTV) in Germany between 2006 and 2010 (Wang, Jiang and Kambourakis 49).

The use of surveillance videos in public places brings about major privacy issues affecting consumers in life. For instance, biometric technologies and surveillance videos of thousands of football fans created controversies as the fans were not used to the standard form of video monitoring. The debates entailed the lack of the ability to identify people whose faces are captured on the videos (Ohkubo, Suzuki and Kinoshita 69). The development of surveillance technology may be associated with struggles regarding the legitimate definition of their existence and uses. Institutions such as the government might firmly demand and extensively fund research and development because global risks, such as terrorism and organized crime, seemingly necessitate more efficient countermeasures. Nevertheless, privacy advocates criticize surveillance technologies because they are seen to pose threats to individual liberties (Adler, Demicco and Neiditz 83). On the other hand, these contrasting positions are stabilized in Germany’s institutional landscape. Governmental institutions play a vital role in the development and implementation of new surveillance technologies because provision and protection of public safety fall under their area of responsibility (Haggerty 277). In 2007, Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research set up general funds to stimulate research of smart surveillance technologies. Similarly, the various police offices that are affiliated with the German Ministries of Internal Affairs each has their in-house research facilities for these technologies.

            Alongside considerations of security, the flourishing market for the safety technology strongly motivates governmental institutions to push research and development; of course, this interest is widely shared by private corporations within the industry for surveillance technology (Haggerty 277). However, smart CCTV systems, similar to analog systems, encounter serious socio-technical problems, as exemplified by the facial recognition project of the Federal Police Office in 2006, in which false alarm rates proved to be problematic for police regarding effectiveness (Adler, Demicco and Neiditz 88). Consequently, failures frequently have initiated criticism, weighing the systems low effectiveness against considerable infringements of privacy rights. Therefore, despite the increased efforts to engage in research and development, government institutions receive pressure in terms of justifying the appropriateness of smart CCTV against opponents’ objections.

Most of the issues emerging regarding the use of CCTVs in public include crime and terror pose threats to public safety which may be regulated by the development and employment of smart CCTV systems. Besides, the CCTV systems indicate inefficiency in terms of resources but improvement may occur through the elaboration of the CCTV components (Möllers and Hälterlein 60). These systems pose a threat to personal liberty, and thus, data protection commissioners should control and sanction infringements and laws as well as guidelines. According to research, the core problem in the discourse entails the employments of smart CCTV systems which might pose threats to the value of personal liberty. Criticism admonishes the compromise between security and individual liberty where the effectiveness of CCTV systems are weighed regarding crime prevention against constraints of individual liberty. Resultantly, vast areas of the discourse established smart CCTV as an inappropriate technology through stressing that tensions emerge between public safety and personal freedom (Möllers and Hälterlein 62).

Some of the problems identified through the use of CCTV cameras entails the violation of data protection guidelines and compromising the security and liberty of individuals. Additionally, research indicated that the actors accountable for these problems include politicians in the governments who disregard civil rights through the introduction of CCTVs, researchers and developers of the systems and police bureaus employing the systems (Friedewald and Gutwirth 706). However, the only way these problems may be rectified entails employment of strategies that enforce the guidelines and sanction data protection infringements. These should be coupled with the public supervision of research and development where data protection commissioners should be on the fore-front of maintaining such aspects (Friedewald and Gutwirth 706).

Conclusively, understanding of the public concerning shaping technology development as well as privacy discourse framed on smart CCTV as inappropriate requires prevention of the emergence of intelligent CCTV. Analysts claim that the success and failure of technology rely on the social meaning as well as structural factors that entail distribution of power between social groups (Ferenbok 221).  Smart CCTV systems should consider privacy regulations thus creating the sociology of knowledge necessary for the accomplishment of institutional configurations regarding new and emerging surveillance technologies. The use of monitoring systems should be entitled to people requiring it as not all people want their identities disclosed to the public in the name of security checks (Ferenbok 230). The capture of people’s identities without their approval infringes on their civil rights where others might feel offended and deprived their right to privacy (Ferenbok 233).  

Works Cited

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Friedewald, Michael and Serge Gutwirth. “Introduction to special section: Governing privacy       and data protection issues of emerging technologies1.” Science & Public Policy (SPP)          (2013): 705-707.

Haggerty, K. “‘‘Methodology as a Knife Fight: The Process, Politics and Paradox of Evaluating   Surveillance’.” Critical Criminology (2009): 277-291.

Möllers, Norma and Jens Hälterlein. “Privacy issues in public discourse: the case of “smart”           CCTV in Germany.” Innovation: The European Journal of Social Sciences. (2013): 57-          70.

Ohkubo, Miyako, Koutarou Suzuki and Shingo Kinoshita. “RFID PRIVACY ISSUES AND       TECHNICAL CHALLENGES.” Communications of the ACM (2015): 66-71.

Wang, Hua, Xiaohong Jiang and Georgios. Kambourakis. “Special issue on Security, Privacy        and Trust in network-based Big Data.” Information Sciences (2015): 38-50.

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Wurster, Simone. “Ethics and Privacy Issues of Critical Infrastructure Protection – Risks and        Possible Solutions Through Standardization.” PIK – Praxis der Informationsverarbeitung         und Kommunikation (2014): 205-210.