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Surveillance Cameras Talk Back

Mar 27, 2008
Surveillance cameras watching you are creepy enough. But when they start talking to you, you start having that twilight zone feeling. Now, they have surveillance cameras that convey the voices of law enforcement authorities over the ether. It is the latest development in surveillance technology and one that presents some interesting questions.

Wired For Sound

These new surveillance cameras are wired for sound. In effect, they give law enforcers the ability to broadcast to the areas being watched. These talking cameras are the latest advance in a field of technology that has grown by leaps and bounds. Surprisingly, a lot of people have embraced this development with an enthusiasm that alarms civil libertarians. And in fact, a lot of civil liberties groups have no problem protesting this new feature.

Such a group in Great Britain estimates that there are over 4 million surveillance countries in the country today. Anyone who lives in London or a large will be captured at least 300 times on any given day. Britain has even been called the surveillance capital of the world. It is in danger of relying too much and too heavily on this technology.

Camera Evolution

Proponents have called the new surveillance cameras a natural progression from previous advances. They say that the paranoia of an overly intrusive system is unfounded. In fact, they propose that that the talking cameras actually reassure citizens because they know that there is a human presence behind the lens. Most of these cameras actually transmit prerecorded messages informing passersby that they are being monitored. These messages further state that any untoward behavior will be reported to the authorities. Other messages remind people to mind their valuables. Some have proposed that children should voice these messages so as to make them less menacing.

These messages can also be broadcast live in real time. The surveillance camera operators can speak directly to people while watching the monitors. They can broadcast spontaneous lines asking people to stop unacceptable behavior or even pick up litter. But civil liberties groups remain unimpressed. They think this type technology is over-hyped and that the new voice broadcasts do not do anything to help in crime prevention. They think it is merely useless gimmickry.

Just Another Day

Most people seem to take the disembodied voices in stride. Few people even take the time to stop and look for the source of the transmission. In fact, a lot of them enjoy the fact that it makes people aware that they are doing something wrong. They reason that discipline will be instilled in citizens if they are reminded.

Whether they are effective or not, these surveillance cameras are certainly revolutionary. It remains to be seen whether they can stop a bunch of rowdy teenagers from vandalizing public property. These cameras may even be the victim of such malicious pranks. But authorities are going to take that chance just to have their voices heard. They hope that a reminder of their vigilance will be the best deterrent to any criminal acts.
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