The much criticized and major purpose of any surveillance system is to monitor, though the reasons for doing so might differ. It could be for simple security purposes or for complex aims such as influencing behavior. For instance, a video-based security system forces a group to conform towards certain social norms and not behave erratically. The benefits of any security system are often unrecognized.
Problems associated with surveillance
The major argument against surveillance has concerned itself with the issues of privacy. It is posed by people who argue towards civil liberties. However, its impact on increasing the potential for security cannot be denied.
Surveillance systems are and remain operative nonstop, except for certain technical reasons. Moreover, it is not limited to monitoring. The entire system can also be accessed through preferred locations and time. Taking the example of a CCTV security systems – this system has probably been the most effective one. The way these devices operate is by the means of deterrence. Just their presence can enable or disable certain actions. They remain operational at all time generally, and also the information can be accessed from a range of sources.
The types of surveillances
1. Computer-based: This system would involve monitoring of data and the nature of traffic on the internet. There are highly complex algorithms and sophisticated softwares through which certain patterns are searched online. These systems scan through emails, web traffic, instant messaging etc. There would be certain trigger words that ring an alarm on the mainframe system and make people alert.
2. Telephones: This is similar to what is popularly known as telephone tapping.
3. Cameras: Typically a video camera is used for the purpose of observing a geographical space. These cameras then through a system of wires or a wire-free network, using an IP address, sends the images and videos captured to a particular server. These are the most commonly seen surveillance devices.
4. Biometric: It is through this technology that human characters (physical or behavioral) are analyzed for the purpose of authentication and identification purposes.
5. Aerial: The most visually prominent form of aerial surveillance is going to be through the drones. Otherwise, it has been performed by helicopters, or spy planes etc.
6. Human operative: Under this form of surveillance, a certain human trained in espionage infiltrates and gains access to sensitive information in any given area. These operations are generally for the purpose of intelligence collection.
7. Satellite imaging: This method utilizes specially designed aircraft or satellites.
There are other forms of surveillances as well which involve radio tagging, tapping signals, infiltrating spaces with microphones or inserting chips into the human body.
The benefits of any surveillance system are mostly realized in the time of distress, when due to their presence the crisis is averted. Crime and criminal activities have become far more sophisticated and complex. Now, as a counter to these events, the surveillance systems also had to evolve.
Furthermore, the mere presence of surveillance units and fear of punishment can.
Image by wikimedia.org