CCTV is used for electronic surveillance in locations which need monitoring such as banks, airports, military installations, super and hyper markets. Moreover, in industrial units, where human examination is difficult or dangerous, CCTV can be used to examine the functioning of equipments from a central control room. Apart from the normal electronic surveillance, CCTV can be used to record videos also.
Law enforcement agencies nowadays commonly made use of the CCTV systems in order to identify threats to the life and properties of the public. In countries like, United States, United Kingdom, etc surveillance of the public using CCTV is particularly common. The use of CCTV to monitor public activities by law enforcement agencies has triggered many controversial debates about security versus privacy of the people. This paper briefly analyses the controversial issues surrounding the use of CCTV for monitoring public activities.
In the context of law enforcement surveillance activities, a common conception of privacy stems from criminal cases interpreting the Fourth Amendment of the constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. According to the Supreme Court, if the person under surveillance has a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Fourth Amendment applies, and a warrant is generally required to conduct a lawful search. Conversely, if the person under surveillance does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and no warrant is required for police surveillance (VIDEO SURVEILLANCE, 2003, p.7)
The major concern about using of CCTV for public monitoring is with respect to the privacy of the people. According to American laws, the rights of the people with respect to privacy are more important. In fact American law divide public into two different groups with respect to privacy; public with a reasonable expectation of privacy and public without a reasonable