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The Video Surveillance Camera Has Made the UK a Surveillance Society

Jul 29, 2008
The video surveillance camera has become part of our everyday lives, but more so in certain regions of the world. For instance, some people refer to Britain as a "surveillance society." Along with the surveillance of cell phones and credit cards, businesses and the government are using closed-circuit television (CCTV) to monitor citizens' behavior.

Cameras for everyone

Exactly how many CCTV cameras can one country install? In the UK alone, roughly 4.2 million security cameras are operational. In other words, that is about one camera for every 14 citizens! In fact, Britain has been labeled as the most monitored country, among all industrialized, Western nations. In one survey, it was one of the top five nations in the world, in terms of its video surveillance camera frequency.

Experts predict that surveillance in Britain will continue to increase. Within a decade, schools might use cards to allow parents to track how many burgers and sodas their children buy during the day. Also, machines could scan shoppers as they stroll into grocery and retail stores.

A balancing act

Some critics of England's surveillance society are less critical about the cameras themselves, and more concerned about its usage. These critics are not anti-technology. Instead, they are concerned about improper usage of data collection becoming a threat to a free society. This includes cases when the data collected is wrong, or when the wrong parties obtain it.

In other words, some groups want a balance between the sharing of data in a trustworthy way, while protecting the rights of the citizens. As technology continues to improve, these concerned groups want society to progress along with it.

Video surveillance in society should certainly be used in the correct proportion, and should be properly managed. Like any other tool, if the security cameras are used improperly, then they will become less effective and perhaps even have negative effects on society.

A bunch of benefits

Nevertheless, in this Information Age, people are daily exchanging more information. Thus, the importance of preventing various crimes has become more significant as well. Today, theft can involve not only the stealing of products, but also of information and even identifies. Here are some of the benefits that the video surveillance camera can provide to society:

* Controls the pricing of products. Lowering inventory shrinkage lowers product costs.
* Prevent shoplifting. This causes a third of inventory shrinkage.
* Lowers taxes and insurance premiums. Security cameras can be tax-deductible!
* Saves money. One security camera can be cheaper than one employee theft.
* Thwarts employee theft. This is the top cause for inventory shrinkage.
* Prevents harassment. Not all harassment is reported.
* Serves as a tool to train employees. Train employees about inventory-loss topics.
* Provides feedback about store traffic. Teaches why certain products sell well.
* Prevents vandalism. Many crimes can be discouraged.

When used with the right proportion and when its usage itself is monitored, the video surveillance camera can become a useful and practical tool in society. While it cannot create a perfect society, it can certainly make it a better one.
About the Author
Steve Strong's is an employee with Sun Security a leading supplier of Outdoor Security Cameras , Security Camera Systems and 4 Channel DVR Cards .
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