Ethical, Professional and Legal Issues in CCTV Surveillance

Topics: Surveillance, Data Protection Act 1998, Privacy Pages: 5 (2037 words) Published: December 2, 2013
Privacy in CCTV Surveillance:
Social, Ethical Professional and Legal Issues
Introduction to Privacy
This essay will analyse the personal privacy of CCTV surveillance and the impact it has on the stakeholders, in terms of social, ethical professional and legal issues. Personal privacy is not something that can be defined easily. Privacy can mean many things from the right to be left alone to the right to have some control over how personal or health information is properly collected, stored, used or released – see, for instance Information and Privacy Commission (2013). There are various opinions about what if there was no CCTV surveillance, and everyone could have their own personal space where they can live without any thoughts of being watched by someone, and what are the results by installing CCTV’s, in other words has installing CCTV cameras helped improving the goal of what is it supposed to do? But mostly all of the people agree to that it poses a threat to personal privacy which is of value to the individuals and to the society. In regards to this, Moor (1997) has introduced a theory of privacy that incorporates important elements of non-intrusion, non-interference and informational views of privacy. ‘An individual has privacy in a situation if in that particular situation the individual is protected from intrusion, interference, and information access by others’ (Moor, 1997; Duncan Langford, p67, 2000). The government’s evidence does not totally explain that how the collection of the surveillance has helped them to improve their objectives. The use of surveillance and personal information may lead to a disagreement between the interests of the citizens and the gathering of personal information, which has the potential to destabilize privacy and the freedom of an individual. It is not the technology that invades personal privacy of the people but it is the people who have tendency in various ways to invade privacy of others (Stamatellos p.25 2007). Although CCTV cameras are related to privacy violation, it must be mentioned that the problem of privacy is not a new issue. Theories on Privacy

There are many theories related to personal privacy which have been published in last few years and few of them are Seclusion theory of privacy by Westin’s (1967), who describes that privacy is ‘the voluntary and temporary withdrawal of a person from the general society through physical and psychological means’ (Westin, 1967; Margulis, p.10 2011). The second theory is based on communication privacy management, which explores ‘the relationship between privacy and confidentiality to better understand the reasons why people are increasingly finding it difficult to have faith in the notion of confidentiality’ (Petronio, 2002; Afifi, T.A and Afifi, W.A. p365, 2009). The third theory of privacy is the control theory of privacy, wherein ‘one has privacy if and only if one has control over information about oneself’ (Fried, 1970; Rachel’s, 1975; Duncan Langford, p67, 2000). The fourth privacy which is used and referred the most in today’s time is given by Moor (1997), and is based on natural and normative privacy situation which enables us to differentiate between the condition of privacy and the right to privacy, and also between the loss of privacy and the violation of privacy (Moor, 1997; Duncan Langford, p67, 2000).

Importance of CCTV surveillance in the society
The aim of using CCTV surveillance ‘is to act pre-emptively upon potentially problematic zones, to structure them in such a way as to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events or conduct occurring, and increase the likelihood of those type of events and activities that are desired’ (Rose p.237 1999). Also, what the government has to say about CCTV surveillance is ‘There is a need to gather and access personal information to: support the delivery of personalised and better public services; fight crime and protect public services; reduce the burden on business and the...

References: 1. Stamatellos, G, 2007. Chapter 3: Privacy and Anonymity, page-25. Computer Ethics: A Global Perspective. Published by, Jones and Bartlett Publishes, Inc. USA
2. Rose
5. Langford D, 2000. Chapter 4: Privacy and Security, page-67 Internet Ethics. Published by, McMillan Press Ltd, USA
6. What is privacy? - Information and Privacy Commission New South Wales
7. House of Lords , 2013. Constitution Committee - Second Report . Surveillance: Citizens and the State, [Online]. Page-316. Available at: [Accessed 21 November 2013].
11. BBC News - 'Six crimes a day ' solved by CCTV, Met says. 2013. BBC News - 'Six crimes a day ' solved by CCTV, Met says. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 November 2013].
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