Surveillance cameras, also known as spy cams, are used widely today in different walks of life. There can be diverse reasons as to why people require spy cams:
- Spy cams record over speeding vehicles and motor accidents on expressways.
- Parents can monitor the activities of their unsupervised kid and quickly react to any mishap.
- Casinos use them to detect fraud by gamblers.
- Shops, museums, ATMs, and banks use them for security purposes.
- Spy cams help to investigate political gatherings for possible terrorist acts.
- Video recording of criminal activities can be used as evidence in courts.
- Spy cams are used to monitor babysitters.
- Detective agencies use them to investigate unfaithful spouses.
- Military agencies use them to collate information on their adversaries.
- Spy cams are used to monitor borders of countries like that of US and Mexico for human trespassing and drug trafficking.
- Spy cams can be used to monitor rigging in voting booths during elections.
The cost of spy cams has come down considerably from thousands of dollars to less than a hundred dollars today. They are available for as little as USD 50 like the Spygate Pen Scope. Earlier only big organizations like intelligence agencies and banks could afford them. Now, owning one is quite commonplace. They are also easy to install. They are extensively used in rich countries whereas in poor countries their use is limited. After newspaper reports of nannies ill-treating their wards the nanny cam was introduced. There are two types of spy cams - wired and wireless. An example of a wireless spy cam is the Spygate wireless camera and cell phone detector. An example of a wired spy cam is Tamco's Button Hidden camera. Over the last decade progress in technology has helped reduce the size of spy cams. They can be disguised in everyday objects like shirt buttons, clocks, belts, shoes, watches, torches, mirrors, fans, hats, spectacles, etc., making them almost impossible to detect.
The use of surveillance cameras is not all hunky-dory. Though they provide security, it can be argued that they intrude on the privacy of people. Everyone is not comfortable with the thought that they are being constantly watched. These cameras can also show events that are embarrassing or harmful to the person concerned. Some people have called for a ban on surveillance cameras in spaces of an intimate nature. Very few countries have laws regarding the usage of surveillance cameras. There have been instances of the doctoring of the footage of spy cams. Hence the courts may not consider the footage to be reliable, in criminal cases.
Love them or hate them, one cannot ignore them. They are here to stay. Let us hope there are helpful laws enacted to regulate their use. One must have security, but not at the expense of our privacy and freedom.