CCTV Cameras Surveillance: Public, Privacy and Protection
Many countries now employ surveillance cameras in public places as a primary tool to monitor population movements and to prevent crime and terrorism, both in the private and public sectors. Here, we assess the role CCTV cameras and video surveillance systems play in improving safety and security, as well as the myriad other functions that integrated AI and analytics software is now affording operators.
Closed circuit television (CCTV) is a system of video cameras, display devices and data networks that is used to detect and deter criminal activity. Video surveillance systems are used in public and private sectors, such as schools, homes or public spaces for crime prevention purposes.
Councils, law enforcement and security management professionals in the UK rely heavily on video surveillance as a tool to fight crime and prevent terrorism. It is now estimated that there are around 5.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK, with one camera for every 13 people – this number encompasses everything from public surveillance, through to private business operated cameras and even doorbell cameras. So chances are, there is cctv on your street.
In the past decade, the capabilities of surveillance cameras have been transformed by fundamental shifts in how digital data is gathered, analysed, shared and stored. Security cameras are already playing a key role in the drive to smarter cities and the burgeoning industrial internet of things. Deep learning and AI is becoming more prevalent, as cameras are able to more accurately gather data and make predictions based on integrated analytical software manufacturers have developed. While the shift to a ‘smart home’ environment is also playing its role, as consumers have easier access than ever to easy-to-install wireless devices and doorbell cameras.
Perhaps this is no better demonstrated than via Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter’s comments, at IFSEC International in 2019. Tony highlighted how much had changed since he took on the role in 2014, with the growth of facial recognition, drones, body-worn cameras, analytics, GDPR and much more. Modern systems now have “phenomenal capabilities”, though these have created understandable misgivings about the risk for privacy and potential abuse such capabilities create. Porter therefore noted that the Home Office and surveillance industry must ensure only hardware and software compliant with relevant standards, such as Secure by Default, is installed in public and private spaces alike.
As an example of how things have progressed, take a look at this video from IFSEC Global, detailing key trends that came out of our most recent video surveillance report.