Is CCTV safe?

Muna Al-Fuzai

CCTV refers to closed circuit television, a surveillance system that includes cameras and recorders for monitoring activities in a company, house or even a small grocery shop. The aim of this system is to prevent and detect crimes when they occur to keep the public and properties safe. But the question remains – is it safe enough? Are surveillance cameras useful or a violation of freedoms?

This question was a matter of debate on social media due to a recent incident that occurred in Kuwait. A woman discovered that someone violated the privacy of her house, especially after cameras filmed her while she was arguing and screaming at one of her kids.

Some people considered the leaked video an act of child abuse, while some said that no one has the right to publish such videos in public without the woman’s permission, because what happened is a violation of privacy and whoever did this act deserves punishment.

I think the issue has different viewpoints. No person has the right to violate the privacy of a person in their home without permission; therefore the woman has the right to take legal actions.

I think surveillance cameras should not be a cause for concern, but some people do not like to see them as they consider them against privacy and freedoms, while some people prefer the idea of installing surveillance cameras as a source of security and safety.

Of course, misuse of surveillance systems can happen by recording some embarrassing situations of public figures and using these videos to end their careers and humiliate them in public, and this is something that can happen. I think surveillance cameras are absolutely necessary to stop abuse, and at the same time, deterrent laws should be enacted in case of misuse, with severe legal penalties for those who misuse them or hack others’ privacy.

In fact, I believe that surveillance cameras are the best solution not only to stop any possible criminal activity, but some working mothers are using cameras to monitor their domestic workers at home, especially those with infants. But, this also has caveats, and possibly threats.

For example, a friend who has a baby girl and a new worker was worried about leaving the little one alone for a long time, so she placed a camera in the child’s room. But after a while she discovered that the system was exposed to penetration and hacking, and therefore the girl could be at risk. So she canceled the setup, but her anxiety did not end.

I know that cameras are the ideal solution to maintain safety and also help provide visual records to the police as evidence for conviction. Choosing a monitoring system may be difficult, and there is a need to be careful and only select a monitoring system from a well-known company to avoid possible breaches of privacy. At least, it will be easy to demand the company for clarifications and investigations, because security companies do not allow such tampering.

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