“Take a look at this footage on my iPad. Look at this guy. Look at what he is doing on the side of my house. That *%$^&# is putting graffiti on my house.”
This discussion really happened to me a few months ago with a friend. He had CCTVs installed around his home only to discover that there were some nasty characters lurking around his neighbourhood late at night. Now fast forward to last weekend. I was putting petrol in my car when I looked up and noticed FOUR cameras all pointed at me. Do that many cameras need to be watching me do something as mundane as filling a car with fuel? Then it occurred to me that both examples of human surveillance were connected.
Although my friend never caught the graffiti artist personally, there was still a sense of satisfaction knowing that this act had been captured and handed on to the proper authorities. Fill a car with petrol and drive off without paying and I’m sure those same authorities would be knocking on your door in no time. The owners of that petrol station would also be satisfied knowing that every movement on their premises is being captured for the benefit of their business.
I have been quick to agree with the ‘Big Brother is watching’ theory in the past and lament the fact that humans can no longer go about their day without every move, twitch, scratch and who knows what being filmed, however it also makes me think it has the potential to place a level of safety and security in our lives both personally and professionally. How many crimes against people and businesses are reported in the media which feature footage captured by surveillance cameras? Could this possibly be a deterrent?
I have been focused on surveillance in our society much more than usual recently; getting my head into a space to engage, analyse and critique. This has caused me to look up more than I usually do. While I am getting treatment for the neck spasms, it has also made me realise that instead of shaking my fist at the 20th camera that has caught me in the first ten minutes of my day, it might just be playing a helpful role in a safety conscious society. I haven’t quite made my mind up just yet although I am looking forward to dissecting both sides of the argument as my study journey continues.
Big Brother may be watching, but he is going to get bored very quickly if it is just me at the fuel pump.