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When is CCTV use appropriate titleCCTV, the eye in sky and backup camera to both record and prevent wrongdoings. It’s impartiality and overview of a situation can save lives, money and crime victims, but when is it actually appropriate to use CCTV and with the advent of smart CCTV, have these boundaries changes?


This month we’re taking a look at the effectiveness of new technologies on security systems, from networking to smart CCTV, how far has security advanced over the last 3 years? Last week we looked into the concept of smart CCTV being ‘too intrusive’ and before that if CCTV is appropriate in the workplace. Today is the turn of CCTV in the public, when should it be used and what should we be warned about?


Adam Bannister, Editor in Chief for IFSECGlobal.com runs us through his thoughts on the boundaries surveillance organisations should stick to and what the public should be warned about when it comes to smart CCTV.


Morale of the spied uponcctv crowd

Do you think the increase of Smart CCTV could be detrimental to the freedom of the public, in the sense of are being watched too much?

“How much is too much? You’ll never get any consensus on that, but I would imagine that most people feel that CCTV has both prevented crime and helped to catch criminals. This was more questionable with the grainy footage of yesteryear, but not so much with the latest generation of HD cameras.

That said, if, god forbid, we ever had a totalitarian government then the surveillance cameras on every corner would suddenly seem rather more malevolent.


For good or ill young people don’t share the older generation’s concept of privacy. Many are blithely unaware or unbothered that every online interaction, search or post is stored, tracked and harnessed for advertising and other purposes.

And if the older generation have always been passively tolerant of the proliferation of CCTV cameras since the 1980s, then what chance that the millennials will care much about being filmed by hovering drone cameras? Many people already film and post online so much of their lives as it is.”

Bodycams and constant surveillance


Do you think Smart CCTV and the likes of Body-Worn videos should only be used in specific circumstances, opposed to as and when public bodies or organisations want to?

“I personally can only see positives with regards to police wearing cameras. Think of the countless allegations of police misconduct – it’s one person’s word against another’s. Cameras would often clarify the facts of the case and save millions in judicial costs.

…And studies have shown that police officers are more likely to conduct themselves properly and suspects less likely to behave aggressively if they know they’re being filmed.


This would also apply if cameras were worn by nurses and doctors or rail station staff, who all have to put up with a lot of aggression in their jobs.”


Public Educationcctv public monitoring

Many experts suggest the mistrust and negative feelings towards CCTV is simply down to a lack of transparency on how the footage is used, so-called ‘covert filming, or even a lack of knowledge on the technology.


Does there need to be more public education around Smart CCTV as to what it can do? And possibly a warning, or notice as to when the cameras are in use?

“Probably, yes. We already have guidance in place for CCTV – such as having to clearly display signs notifying you that you’re being filmed – and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case with smart, wearable surveillance.


There has to be clear justification. And if an organisation is found to be filming customers without their knowledge or authorisation then tough sanctions must be imposed.

Strong, clear regulation is needed.


There have to be limits. I don’t buy the “well I’ve got nothing to hide” argument. My response to that is: well you won’t mind the government installing cameras in your home then will you?

But you cannot un-invent technology and surveillance cameras offer some major security and safety benefits. We just have to make sure we exploit these benefits and mitigate the risks as best we can.


is smart cctv too intrusive title


  1. I use my cctv on a building job to monitor progress, as I can only get to site once every 3 weks its been a godsend to me.

    the Motorola hubble site enables me to keep up to date with building progress.

  2. Although installing CCTV is what I do for a living the claim that they either prevent crime or catch criminals is vastly exaggerated and the plethora of TV shows of acts of violence being caught on camera clearly shows that the same lack of interest in being filmed doesn’t stop or even lessen the amount of drink fuelled violence on our streets which is actually on the increase

    As for more definitive crime like burglaries, CCTV alone doesn’t stop them, and just makes people more likely to wear a mask, whereas a mere burglar alarm has a MASSIVE impact on a persons likelihood of being burgled, far more than CCTV in many studies

    That doesn’t mean its pointless though by a long chalk

    And despite already being the most filmed country on earth the government is still looking to install (funding dependant) three times more cameras nation wide as most are just in the capital at the moment leaving other main cities and towns with a comparatively ;less amount of coverage at the moment. as well as currently trying out drones for use by the police and councils in the UK too and also with an aim to link many private CCTV systems into the police network too

    When all of these cameras are interlinked into a national sever farm facial recognition, number plate recognition and biometric identification are planned to be added next allowing anyone to be tracked automatically by the system whether they have committed a crime or not so that a persons movements can be retrospectively examined at a later date

    It should also be taken into account that the current privacy bill being pushed for by the government will make it illegal for companies or organisations like the NHS to encrypt data or restrict government access to it as well as allowing them to give access to this data to private companies too including bank and medical records along with email, facebook and other social media information

    So the CCTV issue as a singular topic is fairly neutral, but to really form an opinion of the trustworthy nature or intent of a government you do need to look at a wider scope and what is being looked at in the near future to get a fuller image

    And when that is done it does begin to look like that totalitarian government might already be here, but just not being as obvious as the stereotypical dictatorship tends to be

    Especially after the revelation that to get around local laws the US government got GCHQ to spy on its civilians whilst we in the UK got a private contractor for the NSA to spy on ours

  3. CCTV cameras do not themselves invade our privacy… It is what happens to the camera footage that that has the potential for invasion.

    It’s not just CCTV either, in-car Dash Cams, cyclists Helmet Cams, Quad Copters and the fact that nearly every mobile phone these days has the ability to record footage. So whether we like it or not, pretty much everything we do outside the privacy of our own bathroom has the potential to be recorded one way or another.

    If used responsibly, this abundance of video footage can be a very good thing.

    To protect our privacy, we need to concentrate on what people can do with CCTV footage. A clear set of guidance, rules and laws making it illegal to disseminate or publish footage without the correct consent or court order for example.

    Privacy is important and needs protecting, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water!


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