Big Brother is watching, or is he?
Ever since George Orville published the novel nineteen eighty-four, in 1949, there has been a general discontent and mistrust about video surveillance cameras. With the ever increasing amounts of surveillance cameras around and the improvements in technology; it seems as though with every new camera installed, another ounce of mistrust about privacy is born. Ultimately, video surveillance cameras do incorporate a variety of features that allow for privacy within the images taken. There are also laws in place, which differ across every jurisdiction of course, to ensure the privacy within certain areas, while still allowing for effective surveillance and security.
Video surveillance of course is, in a sense, a violation of privacy. Whether cameras are mounted within a business or in a public place, one does end up feeling watched and uncomfortable. When video surveillance solutions are first installed, they are always met with criticism by employees, but after a few weeks everything is forgotten. Video surveillance can be a great tool to mitigate theft, review events in case of slip and fall suits or similar and to make sure employee productivity is at its peak. In all reality there are very few camera systems where every camera is watched at all times. Even if that may be the case, only actions that are criminal or unsanctioned will be enforced or prosecuted.
How are surveillance solutions usually set up?
It very much depends as to what the requirements of the location are. In the case of city surveillance, or enterprise surveillance solutions, oftentimes these systems are programmed to be recording for 24 hours each and every day. For smaller scale systems, such as a small business surveillance solution, these systems are usually set up as motion detection. This means that every time motion is detected, the system will record until that motion has vanished, such as a vehicle driving in front of the camera and driving out of the frame again. In those cases privacy is very much protected as the cameras are only taping when motion is detected, and that motion has to be enough for the camera to feel it is worth recording for. As such having someone move in the distance or similar will not trigger the camera.
In offices and larger areas where privacy is a major concern the cameras can utilize something called a privacy mask. These masks will cover areas that are not of interest, such as desks with black shapes. The image around the privacy mask will still be preserved, it will only be the area that is not of interest that is covered, protecting the employee at the desk, while ensuring the office is still covered with effective video surveillance solutions.