Benefits of Safety over Privacy

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In prior decades, privacy used to be a word that was highly regarded and respected. In modern society, the term privacy has long been forgotten and has slowly vanished into being just a mere and lonesome word. While the older generation, such as the baby boomers strives to conserve the privacy they once had, the X and Y generations enjoy the lack of what used to be a valuable and appreciated right. Privacy might be increasingly overlooked in terms of social media, as people allow websites to obtain and post their exact location at any given time; however, when privacy is overruled by the government, it is suddenly perceived as an issue and violation of the individual as persons. While the Constitution of the United States of America does not explicitly state its people have a right to privacy and the meaning of such word, it does express the right people have to privacy from the public. Due to the amount of information the government can have access to; some people might believe their rights to privacy have been violated. This paper supports the idea that the right to privacy is only to protect the American people against the public (individual vs. public) and not against the government (individual vs. government). Additionally, this research will support the right to safety over the right to privacy from the government.

The right to privacy is like the right to freedom of speech; it is acceptable until it hinders or deters another individual, and then it becomes an issue. Strossen’s essay, which was published approximately sixteen years ago, is still controversial in today’s modern society. The author illustrates that the people of the United States are basically stripped off the freedom of being at peace in their own homes (Strossen 1). Strossen makes a strong argument in the increasing amount of video surveillance cameras located at “banks, automated teller machines, parking lots, shopping centers, stadiums, convenience stores, government offices, schools, businesses, workplaces, toll booths, and parks” (Strossen 1). In other words, people are being watched and monitored almost twenty-four hours and on a daily basis. Additionally, surveillance cameras are also a significant tool for the safety and emotional stability of tourists. According to Dempsey and Forst, the research conducted in the year 2008 reveals findings that demonstrate tourists feel more confident knowing surveillance cameras are being used (457). If removing surveillance cameras and the advanced face recognition technology will decrease, America’s tourist dollars, removing such monitoring is less likely to happen, as it is one of the first tools utilized by law enforcement to investigate a crime scene (Dempsey & Forst 457). Furthermore, erroneous eye-witness testimonies, which influence the conviction of innocent people, will be less likely to happen with the increasing use of surveillance cameras recognizing faces and license plates (Dempsey & Forst 457). This analysis opposes Strossen’s view upon the idea of adopting some form of movement, as surveillance cameras serve as a good safety measure in certain areas including government offices, workplaces, and banks. Also, when viewed from the perspective of a business owner, surveillance cameras are a crucial safety measure tool.

Similarly to Strossen’s view upon surveillance cameras located on convenience stores, shopping centers, and parks, this paper supports the idea that such safety monitoring is like a thief of freedom and peace to families who just want to play with their children and run free at a public park without the constant reminder that they are being watched or monitored. On the other hand, there are families who would feel safe knowing parks are being monitored by surveillance cameras. All in all, this paper believes that if people saw tangible and proven results on the decrease in violence due to the use of surveillance cameras, people will feel that even though they are letting go of their privacy in certain aspects, practical and positive results are happening. Such results would compensate for the idea of surrendering one’s privacy.

Strossen’s concluding statements diminished her argument by suggesting unrealistic goals for the lower and working class. Also, some of the author’s suggestions do not interfere with privacy. For instance, business recording transactions on cameras is not interfering with the individual’s privacy. Contrarily to the author’s view on banning surveillance cameras, given the current economic situation, the low and middle working class does not have the luxury of informing their potential employer of the applicant’s personal objection to secret taping, because if the job is not accepted by the current individual, it will be desperately accepted by the next person who is careless about being recorded on surveillance cameras.

This paper has utilized the term privacy as privacy from the public, as opposed to privacy from the government. In connection with the beginning of this paper, if surveillance cameras are removed, this research believes that the crime level will increase. Also, statistics of innocent people being sentenced due to the mistaken influence of an eye-witness will more likely decrease. Once more, when the right to privacy becomes an issue of public safety, security measures should overrule the level of privacy the government allows its people. An additional observation this paper provides is the almost inconceivable idea of the government enforcing surveillance cameras in people’s actual homes. Such an idea would probably be supported by the mentality of protecting and cultivating positive families in America. Furthermore, such a notion might be supported by future statistical research indicating that domestic violence has decreased due to the government monitored in-home surveillance cameras.

Works Cited

Dempsey, John S., and Linda S. Forst. "Critical Issues in Policing." An introduction to policing. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008. 457. Print.

Strossen, Nadine. “Everyone is Watching You.” Intellectual Capital, May 28, 1998. Print.