Camera Surveillance and Privacy:
Legal, Technical & Psychological Considerations
Maynard Riley - December 3, 2006
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Legal Considerations
Technical Considerations
Psychological Considerations
Legal Considerations
      Cameras are a ubiquitous feature of our public landscape. They are on streets, in stores, schools, and even in the sky. Cameras are so pervasive, the public hardly notices their presence. When cameras first appeared in public, one envisioned a security guard sitting at a desk with a monitor that could switch between several cameras. What we have today, and will increasingly have in the future, is a vastly more disturbing situation.
      Privacy is an important component in defining the self as an individual. Privacy is necessary for proper development of intimate and human relationships. Western liberal thinking and Constitutional law places the individual at the center of interest (Regan, 1995. p 24). Unfortunately, legal protection of privacy considerably lags both the technology that invades privacy, and, the eagerness of the government to use that technology.
      The right to privacy is not explicitly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, although most Americans believe it is. The Constitution has been interpreted by courts to include the right to privacy when there is an "expectation of privacy," and, when that expectation is "reasonable" (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, n.d.). Constitutionally, it is difficult to support the "expectation of privacy" in public places. Our system of government is a shared responsibility between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Additionally, citizens themselves play a role in oversight. The executive branch is the most brazen violator of privacy through the actions of its agencies. Privacy is not guaranteed judicially, which leaves only the legislature to protect privacy, spurred on by an activist citizenry.
      U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John Edwards (D-NC) recommended the establishment of a commission to set standards on video surveillance implementation, protection, and storage, according to Clymer (2002). Their efforts have not produced any legislation.