More Videos Bloomberg: More cameras a good thing Story highlights New technology makes it easier to identify suspects in surveillance photos and video The Boston bombing suspects were identified on security-camera footage Cities such as New York and London now have thousands of cameras on the streets Facial-recognition software can detect age, gender and even moods. Even after the identification of the Boston bombing suspects through grainy security-camera images, officials say that blanketing a city in surveillance cameras can create as many problems as it solves. A network of cameras on city streets and other public spaces increases the chances of capturing a criminal on video but can generate an overwhelming amount of evidence to sift through.
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Surveillance involves paying close and sustained attention to another person. It is distinct from casual yet focused people-watching, such as might occur at a pavement cafe, to the extent that it is sustained over time. Furthermore the design is not to pay attention to just anyone, but to pay attention to some entity a person or group in particular and for a particular reason. Nor does surveillance have to involve watching. It may also involve listening, as when a telephone conversation is bugged, or even smelling, as in the case of dogs trained to discover drugs, or hardware which is able to discover explosives at a distance. The ethics of surveillance considers the moral aspects of how surveillance is employed. Is it a value-neutral activity which may be used for good or ill, or is it always problematic and if so why?
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For many people who care for aging parents, one solution is a safe, responsible nursing home. But an increasingly common means of ensuring that safety— security cameras installed by relatives—may do more harm than good, says Clara Berridge, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Washington. With reports of crimes against nursing home residents gaining media attention around the country, it's understandable that families would want to protect their loved one and attempt to establish accountability for care, Berridge said. But it's not just a gray zone for law. Lots of ethical issues are at play, and it raises the question of privacy's role in our lives.
T he Care Quality Commission is to provide guidance to families and providers about using cameras to monitor the quality of care in residential homes and other settings. Why is the CQC doing this? Surely the regulator should be about raising the bar for the quality of care and exposing, and then tackling, poor care where it exists. All are key criteria.