The chosen issue for this analysis is to determine whether the spread of various surveillance technologies threaten privacy or not. It is known that technology leads to the development of gadgets that help in daily human operation procedures. In this process, there are various challenges that people or citizens may face while implementing such applications.
We will write a custom Essay on The Controversial Issue of Surveillance specifically for you
301 certified writers online
A challenge is privacy issues, which arise because of surveillance programs. The fact is that surveillance is systematic monitoring or investigation of all actions and communication of a person or persons. Surveillance is a wide field, which includes closed circuit TV cameras, telephone bagging, accessing electronic database and even proximity cards (Gavison 76).
Overview of the chosen Issue
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 (Brands106). Security is one of the benefits that have been embraced.
However, there are other negative impacts on technology. 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.
Explanation for feeling strongly about the issue
The following discussion highlights some claims that support the strong feeling about the chosen issue.
Privacy is Threatened
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 (Gavison 42). The rapid loss of privacy is because 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” (Gavison 57). 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 65).
Surveillance advancements in more complex technologies and continuous developments more experienced in the design of database coupled with the inherent society interest to know more about other people has 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. In addition to the collective privacy concept, Gavison has emphasized that the nature of relationships that generates information and records has been changing, thus, it is very hard to define the relationships as true voluntary (Gavison 39).
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 (Brands 96). 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 technology 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 (Brands 102).
In summary, 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 makes persons lack privacy.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
The help of focusing digital cameras facilitates 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 lastly personal data. All these may be threatened at any time, based on the type of surveillance.
Brands, Smith. “Secure User Identification without Privacy Erosion.” University of Ottawa Law & Technology Journal 3.1 (2006): 34 -272. Print.
Gavison, Ruth. “Privacy and the Limits of Law.” Yale Law Journal 89. 3 (1980). Print.