Home > Free Essays > Tech & Engineering > Other Technology > The Issue of Privacy

The Issue of Privacy Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Apr 11th, 2019


In order to effectively deal with issues of intelligence, there must be the sense of proactive so as to deal with some of the emerging threats. For instance, the elaborate systems must be put in place to combat some of the threatening situations that might emerge.

In this analysis, the focus of the paper will be centered on the spread of surveillance technologies that have put some potential threats on the privacy of the close circuit cameras. Therefore, this analysis presents the series of probable threats regarding the use of surveillance technologies. The assumptions regarding these issues on the probable threats have been explored using the support rationale, as evidenced in the following discussion.

The issue of surveillance is controversial because it brings out two arguments based on privacy. While one side argues that it does not warrant any privacy, the other school of thought argues that it enhances security for people[1] (Brands 106). Security has some benefits to be embraced.

However, there are other negative impacts on intelligence technologies. People would always think of privacy as being right. Unfortunately, this confuses because a distinction between legal rights and moral rights is not made. Privacy has got several dimensions, namely personal behavior privacy, individual privacy, personal communication privacy, and privacy of any personal data. This brings out controversies at the privacy level, when certain surveillance methods are used to get information from the public.

The Issue of Privacy

The Potential Threat on Privacy

The first side of the argument has claimed that surveillance interferes with privacy. This is because, when one is observed by a hidden CCTV camera, privacy is not guaranteed in any way. In the magazine article named ‘Privacy and the Limits of Law’, the author Ruth Gavison has pointed out that perfect privacy is impossible to be achieved most of the times with the emerging technologies in the world.

The rapid loss of privacy is because the individuals have become subjects of attention to other persons, the government or organizations interested. One can be monitored secretly on whatever activity is done without his knowledge or not being informed of the process.

Organizations may fix the CCTV cameras at the work place, which actually undermine privacy of the employee most of the times he or she is in premises. Garison continued pointing out that it is “true whether the intension is conscious and inadvertent or purposeful” (Garrison 432). Because of this, if people take privacy as an essential element of the democratic society, which can foster and encourage the moral autonomy of all citizens, people must reflect upon infringements, which take place in our societies in general (Gavison 405).

Surveillance advancements in more complex technologies and continuous developments experienced in the design of database coupled with the inherent societal interest to know more about other people made it more impossible to have privacy today. These technologies have enhanced even information storage, and one can access other personal details where it is not permitted.

The government and other market forces have even made it “impossible to have privacy in most cases without all people having a similar minimum privacy level” (Gravison 412). In addition to the collective privacy concept, Gravison has emphasized that the nature of relationships that generate information, and records have been changing, thus, it is very hard to define the relationships as true voluntary (Gravison 229).

The popular press view of the surveillance dictates that in a modern state, people virtually have their data in a digital form, because they have to work, open bank accounts, pay taxes, have driving licenses, and other documents, hence, it is possible to have this personal information leak.

Data are constructed and recorded within a very short time to suit motives of people with interest. As a part of the routine surveillance, people are normally asked to identify themselves in order to access required service in some places. This is still a privacy issue, because some information is personal.

Developments in information and communication intelligence technologies have enhanced data gathering, transmission, and exchange in both the national and international network at large. There have been electronic exchanges across borders and globally, which have magnified information on any small issues in any part of the world.

Other developments in digital computing enable faster information processing and accessibility any time within and across borders. The privacy of information is not guaranteed with all these technological developments (“U.S. Department of Justice” 1).

This is a very clear problem, because in an electronic environment, it is very hard to distinguish between a public place and a private one. This is because some CCTV cameras are fixed right at entertainment places or in parks, which make persons lack privacy. In fact, the focusing digital cameras facilitate the whole process of information and image reflection.

This has threatened privacy, because it has several dimensions, namely privacy of an individual, personal behavior, personal communication, and personal data. All these may be threatened at any time, based on the type of surveillance. For instance, digital video electronic is very sophisticated, because it can employ the QUAD recording system, whereby four separate camera images are compressed into a single frame (Gravison 65).

This enables the observer to see four views on the screen and record them on a video cassette recorder (VCR). This process ensures detailed surveillance, thus enabling the securities to observe everything that is happening in any given place. Privacy is compromised at this point, because monitoring takes place without a notice to persons.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the policy on controlling crime is fast-factoring in the use of CCTV, which, on the other hand, is a privacy threat to the public (“U.S. Department of Justice” 72). A situation that has actually forced some organizations to make a conclusion that surveillance has lost an exceptional character and become a routine practice (“U.S. Department of Justice” 1).

This kind of demand for personal information in all perspectives is mainly used to enforce behavior standards. This increases the risk of labeling of individuals through the magnification of errors, manipulative tendencies, strengthening social control, and even threatening the fabric of democracy.

The popular press states that through surveillance, there is an identification crisis. Identification is mainly associating data with a specific individual. This shows the lack of privacy, because the physical relation of the information based on strong monitoring and detection process threatens the privacy level of a person. Since surveillance anyway intrudes and reveals information, it is very possible to create harm to a person, because of the lack of privacy (Gravison 78).

According to the European Convention on Human Rights, the individuals have the right to privacy, and in cases whereby it is threatened, a person is entitled to respect private and family life, and that there shall be no any interference by the public authority infringing the rights of an individual (“U.S. Department of Justice” 6).

There must be legal regulation to govern the use of electronic surveillance by the police in regard to the protection privacy. Based on the scholar’s argument on the status of surveillance, Kate Martin from the Centre for National Security Studies said that the continuous use of spy satellites in monitoring activities of citizens is a way of laying a foundation for a police state or acts of totalitarianism. This shows that there is a lack of freedom in most places, and people develop fear for uncommitted crimes.


Based on the view of the popular press and scholarly articles, there is a little difference in their arguments, since both share the same ideology at the privacy level. The academic point of view provides that the job of an academician is to interpret the world and understand events, as they unfold, but not to change them in any way.

Acknowledging this stand, they have just given strengths and reasons for and against the debate. Some argued in support of privacy, while others pointed out that surveillance was just encroaching into personal lives of individuals.

The principle of the scholarly debate is that data should be processed on a lawful and fair ground. The main objective reflecting this is that CCTV cameras are to be operated legitimately to facilitate prevention and crime detection (Brands 90). The use of the language is strong for scholars, according to their contributions. For instance, stating that one should not have anything to fear, unless there is an ulterior motive, when they are not ill-intentioned.

The popular press is very categorical in making its observation on surveillance. There is a great opposition, because in most instances, they project it as a threat to privacy. They take the surveillance process as a totalitarianism kind of the administration system that does not give the public some space to interact freely. Freedom is limited in the sense that people are watched all the time through CCTV cameras, which are installed in all public and private places.

The relation of the topic to the course theme is prominent. As collective, most populations in many countries have adopted the emerging intelligence technologies, especially in the surveillance process. Surveillance helps to protect people of a given state in terms of fighting terrorism acts. In this era of big governments and even large corporations, technologies have been developing rapidly, and therefore there is the need to curb any vice that may come with it.

The electronic surveillance is a wide topic that involves “data communication and physical surveillance through closed electronic circuit cameras and other telecommunication sources, including computer data, the internet, and mobile phone communication tapping[2]” (“U.S. Department of Justice” 2).

This helps to provide sufficient information for ensuring that security measures are taken appropriately. The data surveillance can be automated in order to get the required information any time. Surveillance does not allow the emission of light, since circuits are advanced. This ensures that people under observation do not detect what is happening, but instead concentrate on their activities. The information tapped or presented can be used to fight suspecting terrorists.

The topic is very useful in relation to the theme presented. There are technological solutions that help to assist the implementation of data and privacy provisions in the global network. The major advantage of the intelligence technologies in regard to the surveillance includes the collection of economic information. Through surveillance, there is also a need for both social and political policy decisions, which ensure that privacy is not compromised, but surveillance is done in the most professional way[3] (Gravison 29).

The professional way of undertaking surveillance will not be conspicuously considered as a threat to personal privacy at all levels (Gravison 210). However, when government agencies apply them in a way not understandable to the public, then they threaten privacy. For instance, political groups opposing government policies may consider that the surveillance on their movements may hinder their political statements and other pending development programs.

The surveillance process is important, since it is also a way of embracing intelligence technologies and applying knowledge effectively. The terrorism problem is a global problem and all nations have been generally putting up measures to ensure that there is no security gap that may result into problems (“U.S. Department of Justice” 1).

The major discrepancy between the popular press and academic sources is not very distinctive. However, they both help to analyze the very technological development that facilitates fighting crime. Privacy policies help to justify the fact that there is a need to protect personal privacy in the public (Gavison 80).

The concept of community policing is incorporated, because people will be able to adjust their actions, when they actually know that they are under surveillance. There are technologies in terms of data communication, the innternet, computer applications, and the surveillance in the form of CCTV cameras.


The privacy debate has called for both scholars and the popular press to take on the surveillance program in the fast-growing technological world. Intelligence technologies help to achieve and solve issues. People are concerned with the level of privacy, when intelligence information is required by the government. Most states have adopted the surveillance program to help to gather information from place to place, public and private parks.

Business enterprises have surveillance mechanisms that help to reinforce security issues. Data collection, all relevant telecommunication aspects, and wiretapping are the means of implementing the process. There are two points of view, by the people because they don’t have a common take on the surveillance process. One side supports surveillance, while the other refutes its use, basically because of the privacy threat, which it has on the population.

In sum, from the personal of analysis intelligence technologies, it can be drawn that the value of privacy has been reduced with time because of numerous communication processes in place. Being responsible collective citizens, people should adopt the use of intelligence technologies in various fields. This includes the use of the internet, computer data processing, the use of facebook, and other social media.

The communication through mobile phones and other gadgets will always help the intelligence department to ensure that crimes and acts of terrorism are eliminated once and for ever.

As presented by the scholars and the popular press, the law on the protection of personal privacy may be overlooked, when there is a serious need to gather information to maintain national security. Finally, intelligence technologies have been also undergoing a continuous improvement; hence, more complex ways of detecting threats to the nation will be made within time.

Works Cited

Brands, Smith. “Secure User Identification without Privacy Erosion.” University of Ottawa Law & Intelligence technologies Journal 3.1 (2006): 34 -272. Print.

Gavison, Ruth. “Privacy and the Limits of Law.” Yale Law Journal 89. 3 (1980). Print.

U.S. Department of Justice. White Paper on NSA Legal Authorities: Legal Authorities Supporting the Activities of the National Security Agency Described by the President. January 19, 2006. Print.


  1. Brands, Smith. “Secure User Identification without Privacy Erosion.” University of Ottawa Law & Intelligence technologies Journal 3.1 (2006): 34 -272. Print.
  2. U.S. Department of Justice. White Paper on NSA Legal Authorities: Legal Authorities Supporting the Activities of the National Security Agency Described by the President. January 19, 2006. Print
  3. Gavison, Ruth. “Privacy and the Limits of Law.” Yale Law Journal 89. 3 (1980). Print.
This essay on The Issue of Privacy was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2019, April 11). The Issue of Privacy. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy/

Work Cited

"The Issue of Privacy." IvyPanda, 11 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Issue of Privacy." April 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy/.


IvyPanda. "The Issue of Privacy." April 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "The Issue of Privacy." April 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-issue-of-privacy/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Issue of Privacy'. 11 April.

More related papers