Camera Surveillance and Privacy:
Legal, Technical & Psychological Considerations
Maynard Riley - December 3, 2006
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Legal Considerations
Technical Considerations
Psychological Considerations
      There are many reasons why the public should be wary of the spread of surveillance, camera and otherwise. Technology is evolving rapidly and government agencies are eager to employ it. Although the psychological implications are not fully understood, at the very least people should feel threatened. Most worrisome regarding a total surveillance society are:
  • The likelihood of abuse through social sorting. This is the categorization of people for some behavioral attribute, whether it be propensity for criminal activity, or the likelihood of antisocial conduct. This is accomplished by viewing a subject in public, then analyzing the situation and information on that person in the info-sphere.
  • The fitting of all individuals into risk categories based on their associations with other people. For example, you may have coincidentally stayed at the same hotel as a suspected terrorist three times in the past year, simply because your travel plans coincided and you preferred the same hotel. Now you become a person of interest.
      It is imperative that privacy and the limits to information gathered be defined through thoughtful legislation and spy-agency oversight. But do Americans have the mettle for a battle like this?