THE ETHICS OF AUDIO AND VISUAL SURVEILLANCE: WHO’S WATCHING AND WHY
Nicholas Manning Hamilton and Matthew R. Wright
Audio and Visual Surveillance
Tina, a 24-year-old waitress living in Santa Ana, California, recently moved into a house where she is renting one of the rooms from a landlord. She went through her normal activities, but noticed that when she showered her landlord would disappear to the house's garage. After some time she began to think that she was somehow being spied on. When her landlord left town, Tina went into his room where she found a box of video tapes. She put one of the many video tapes into the VCR, "her blood went cold" (Godines 2004). She saw herself, naked in the shower, and realized that her landlord had been spying on her while she was in the bathroom. Tina went to the bathroom, feeling extremely violated and angry, to search for the hidden video camera. After checking the mirror to see if it was double sided, she noticed a "clock radio propped on a vanity in front of the mirror" (Godines 2004). She looked closer and noticed a small pinhole which she knew must be a tiny camera hidden within the clock. Tina felt sick knowing that her most private moments were not only being watched, but also being recorded in mass quantities.
A registered sex offender in Orange County, California gave an 8-year-old boy a television, supposedly as a gift. The TV actually contained a camera hidden behind the screen. The sex offender had placed a "four-piece surveillance system inside a 19-inch Symphonic television set that faced the boy's bed" (Orange County Register 1997). He tried to explain that "he loved the boy and couldn't live without him" (Godines 1997). The sex offender was arrested and sent to prison for a 12 year sentence.
Stories like Tina's and the 8-year-old boy's can occur anywhere. It is important to ask oneself if a landlord has planted audio or video surveillance in a place that is considered private. It is a disturbing situation to think about. Even places such as public bathrooms, college dorms, dressing rooms, hotel swimming pools, tanning salons, airplanes, and even doctor offices may be monitored with audio and video devices referred to as "bugs". Much of the spying being done in these public and private areas is put onto the web for immediate viewing. The worst part about bugs, and other eavesdropping devices, is that they are not only extremely widespread, covering most areas of people's lives, but also now able to be hidden in devices as small as a pen or the size of a small battery. Due to a dramatic increase of "miniaturized technology, the tools and forms for bugging have never been cheaper, smaller, more powerful, or easier to come by" (wasc.noaa.gov 2004). This increased availability and reduction in costs to obtain "covert surveillance represents a threat to national security information, law enforcement and other government operations, the confidentiality of business transactions, and, most importantly, to personal privacy" (wasc.noaa.gov 2004). It appears that privacy in today's society is becoming more of a luxury rather than a right.
Defining the key topics and words related to privacy in today's society is pertinent to this chapter's message and full understanding. Privacy, defined earlier in this textbook, is hard to realize, due to an increase in its invasion via a variety of means. Today, people are often unaware when they are being monitored, and, sadly, may never have the chance to stop this unlawful and unethical intrusion. Bugging is defined as "the electronic surveillance whereby conversations are electronically intercepted, such as through a telephone" (dictionary.com 2004). Today, bugging includes video recordings as well and encompasses all aspects of surveillance. The word surveillance is defined as "the close observation of a person or group, especially one under suspicion" (dictionary.com 2004). The word surveillance, in French, "literally means 'to watch from above' (i.e. a God's-eye view looking down)" (en.wikipedia.org 2004). In the United States and in other parts of the world, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) serves as the "eye in the sky" for the government, businesses, and people, always watching from above.
CCTV has been used to "monitor public and private places throughout the world, and has grown to unprecedented levels" (privacyinternational.org 2000). Britain has estimated that is has "200,000 cameras monitoring public places, resulting in the average Briton being recorded by CCTV cameras 300 times a day" (privacyinternational.org 2000). CCTV will change the way modern urban cities are viewed. CCTV will be "integrated into the urban environment in much the same way as the electricity supply and telephone network in the first half of the century" (privacyinternational.org 2000). Privacy will soon be seen in a far different view, one that will become nearly unavoidable. With laws being enacted to give the government and police authorities the right to invade people's privacy, such as the Patriot Act, the future is looking exceedingly frightening. Soon people will have nothing to hide, whether they want to or not.
As these government agents and business people pour into our lives, either legally or illegally, an important question to ask is how are they invading our privacy? Technologies, such as acoustic bugs, ultrasonic or very low frequency (VLF) bugs, radio frequency (RF) bugs, optical bugs, and wiretaps, represent a few among the many currently available. These devices are capable of being no larger then the head of an everyday ballpoint pen and can have amplification (zooming) ability of several thousands times (tscm.com 2004). The aftermath of 9-11 has given the security industry, especially audio and visual surveillance equipment, exceptional economic prosperity. Companies in the security industry, in most cases, are experiencing three or four times the profit margins than those of the late 1990's, with the primary demand stimulating from government expenditures (nasdaq.com 2004).
At what point does the surveillance of every public and private move we make become unethical? Where does the U.S Government draw the line between safety and privacy? What are the counter surveillance options out there for people who value their privacy? Some citizens have decided that it is unethical to be photographed via closed circuit television (CCTV) all day, every day, and are taking immense steps to prevent the proliferation of CCTV (en.wikipedia.org 2004). The ethical issues surrounding these questions will be brought to bear in the sections ahead.
Bugging and CCTV
This section of the paper is going to cover two types of surveillance technologies. The first technology to be examined will be audio and video bugging. The different types of bugging devices, their specific technology, and their uses will be covered in detail. Although audio and video bugging devices are used by the government for espionage and other types of spying activities, this section will specifically touch on personal uses and privacy concerns. Also, due to the fact that another chapter in this volume deals with privacy concerns in businesses, this section will not contain any analysis on the business side of bugging and surveillance. In particular, the CCTV type of surveillance technology will be examined on a global level in addition to its use within the United States.
Today it is becoming much easier and cheaper to have access to surveillance products that are able, through audio and video recordings, to be used within everyday personal settings. These bugging devices are not only affordable, but they are also small enough to be hidden within objects as small as a pen or battery. Audio and visual surveillance devices will be discussed in relation to the types of technologies used by the devices. It is also important to note that audio and video surveillance products will be focused on separately, even though they are often used in tandem.
There are about five primary categories of bugs: acoustic, ultrasonic, radio frequency (RF), optical, and hybrid. Acoustic bugs are the most simple and least used. An example of an acoustic bug would be placing a stethoscope in an area in order to directly intercept communication with the naked ear. Acoustic bugging also refers to listening to "sections of an area where sound is leaking through soft spots around windows, structural defects, ventilation structures, poorly installed power outlets, and so on" (tscm.com 2004). Ultrasonic or very low frequency (VLF) bugs "convert sound into an audio signal above the range of human hearing, [which] is then intercepted nearby and converted back to audio" (tscm.com 2004). RF bugs, which are the most well known and most widely used, are used when a "radio transmitter is placed in an area or device" (tscm.com). It is important to note that there are different types of radio frequencies that are used, such as: high frequency (HF), very high frequency (VHF), ultra high frequency (UHF), and very low frequency (VLF). The difference between these frequencies is the amount of hertz that each type of frequency transmits, ranging from 3 kHz to 300 MHz to 1 GHz (tscm.com 2004). A planted RF bug is "[the] classic martini olive bug and 'spy shop' store device" (tscm.com 2004). This type of bug is easily detectible but it is also cheap, very disposable, and hard to be traced back to the person who planted it. The next category of bug is optical bugs. An optical bug is "a bugging device that converts sound (or data) into an optical pulse or beam of light" (tcsm.com 2004). This type of bug is rarely used due to its high cost. Hybrid bugs, the last category, are created through the combination of any of the above listed techniques and devices. These types of bugs or eavesdropping devices are used not only by governments but also by private individuals.
Bugs or "covert listening devices" are usually a "combination of a miniature radio transmitter with a microphone" (en.wikipedia.org 2004). When a bug is placed on a person, the device is then often referred to as a "wire," even if an actual wire is not being used. Wires usually use radio transmitters, "but there are many other options for carrying a signal" (en.wikipedia.org 2004). Police investigations usually come to mind when "wearing a wire" is used in context. However, surveillance and law enforcement agencies are beyond the scope of this chapter.
Bugs can also come in many shapes and in a large range of sizes. The "miniaturization of electronics has progressed so far that" bugging technology has the capability of making very small and affordable devices (en.wikipedia.org 2004). They can "range from micro engineered transmitters the size of an office staple, to devices no bigger than a cigarette packet" (privacyinternational.org 2000). Usually bugs come in smaller sizes and are "cleverly camouflaged," capable of being hidden in such items as umbrella stands to light shades" (privacyinternational.org 2000). Bugs can also be quickly attached underneath a desk or in a dark corner of a room within seconds. The ease of placing bugs combined with their difficulty of being tracked makes audio eavesdropping, a relatively simple and easy technique. The only drawback of these miniature bugging devices is that their "power and operation life is very short" (en.wikipedia.org 2004).
A potential problem that could arise is the increasing use of wireless technology. There has been a large increase of wireless products available to the public for a variety of uses. Wireless technology means that "a device must transmit information, either by radio waves or infra-red light, and this potentially makes all the information sent via that link available to others" (en.wikipedia.org 2004). Encryption of wireless information is an option, but the "standard forms of encryption are weak" and is still very vulnerable (en.wikipedia.org). Radio waves seem to be the most viable option, "but even infra-red can be picked up through a window (en.wikipedia.org 2004).
Wiretapping, also referred to as telephone tapping, is the preferred method of intercepting and monitoring conversations and other types of intelligence. Wiretapping does not fully fall under the categories of bugging devices. However, this type of surveillance is very relevant because of its high volume of use throughout the eavesdropping world. Telephone lines are extremely vulnerable to manipulation by those wanting to intercept conversations. Telephone tapping is usually only done by law enforcement agencies in order to monitor suspects' conversations and exchange of intelligence with others. However, many people, unaffiliated with any type of law enforcement agency, are using wiretaps to spy on people in order to obtain and then use the intelligence gathered for their own benefit. The main goal of wiretapping is to "secure high quality information, and to minimize the possibility of the eavesdropping being detected" (tscm.com 2004).
Generally speaking there are four primary categories of wiretapping: hardwired wiretaps, soft wiretaps, record wiretaps, and transmit wiretaps. A hardwired wiretap is "when physical access is gained to a section of wire that the signal (i.e. telephone line) travels on" (tscm.com 2004). This type of tap uses a second set of wires to attach to the telephone lines, normally through "an isolation or slave device," which sends the signal back to a secured location (tscm.com 2004). This type of wiretap is "very popular with the police because it is virtually impossible to find, but is usually outside the scope of most eavesdroppers" (tscm.com 2004). A soft wiretap is "a modification to the software used to run the phone system," which must be completed at the phone company (tscm.com 2004). The disadvantage to this type of wiretap is that getting the phone company's permission in order to be allowed access to the phone system is difficult.
A record wiretap is "nothing more than a tape recorder wired into the phone line" (tscm.com 2004). This type of wiretap requires maintenance in the changing of the tapes in the recorder, and thus, it carries more risk for and eavesdropper. Record wiretaps are "very popular with amateur spies and private investigators, although the risk of being caught is higher than any other type of wiretap. The last category of wiretaps is the transmit wiretap, which is "an RF transmitter connected to a wire (often containing a microphone itself)" (tscm.com 2004). This type of wiretap "is very popular, however; the RF energy it produces radically increases the chance that it will be detected by a competent specialist" (tscm.com 2004). When the eavesdropping is being done by the person on the phone, rather than an outside third party, a "telephone pickup coil attached to the earpiece" may be used to record the conversation (en.wikipedia.org 2004).
Video Surveillance is the "other half" paired with audio surveillance. As mentioned earlier, it is not unusual for both audio and visual capabilities to be used with the same surveillance device. Normally, video cameras have the capability of both video and sound; however, the smaller the camera is the more difficult it is to have both technologies within the device. The type of video surveillance to be examined at this point is the use of miniature cameras and hidden cameras. A camera that is both tiny and hidden can be a powerful surveillance or eavesdropping device.
Thanks to today's incredible technology capabilities, cameras can not only be designed as small as a coin but also sold at a rather cheap value. There are a multitude of websites and stores dedicated to selling hidden and miniature cameras to private individuals. Websites such as Spy-Gadgets.com sell normal everyday products that also come with cameras hidden within the product. Examples of products that are sold with hidden cameras are as follows: clocks, smoke detectors, vases, pens, TV's, radios, stuffed animals, calculators, VHS cases, VCR's, exit signs, ties, planting pots, glasses, hats, pagers, sun glasses, backpacks, and even sprinkler heads (spy-gadgets.com, surveillance-spy-cameras.com). These everyday items will never be expected to contain a camera and often will be positioned in spots where valuable surveillance can be executed without the knowledge of others.
The cameras also carry the capability of being able to zoom, to change views, to have infrared capabilities, and to take snap shots, just to name a few. So, these cameras will actually do more than just have a single view shot of a room. Hidden cameras allow closer access to rooms or people and can also monitor areas 24 hours a day, without having to need lighting to have a picture recorded. The government uses such cameras to monitor public places, which leads to a whole new area of video surveillance.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) defined in its broadest terms also includes private security systems that business and individuals use. But because the focal point of this chapter is to examine privacy and technology, public CCTV will take the spotlight. CCTV, "throughout the world[,] has grown to unprecedented levels, with the leader in this trend being the United Kingdom" (privacyinternational.org 2000). In Britain "between 150 and 300 million pounds per year is now spent on the surveillance industry" (privacyinternational.org 2000). The growth in this market is growing an astounding "15-20% annually" (privacyinternational.org 2000). These cameras "loom over city centers, shopping malls, train stations, university grounds, public parks, beaches, airports, offices and schools" (rense.com 2004). This trend in increased CCTV is not limited to Britain.
CCTV activity has prompted Norway to have a "specific inclusion of such surveillance in their data protection act" (privacyinternational.org 2000). CCTV has also had tremendous growth in North America, especially in Canada and the United States, as well as in Australia "in the monitoring of public squares" (privacyinternational.org 2000). In New York City, the "Surveillance Camera Project identified 2,397 cameras in Manhattan alone" (privacyinternational.org 2000). The justification for such a large increase in CCTV around the world is "to deter crime" and promote safer communities (en.wikipedia.org 2004). To put CCTV in perspective, "some observers believe that this phenomenon is dramatically changing the nature of cities," with CCTV being "described as the 'fifth' utility" (prvacyinternational.org 2000). Furthermore, adding the threat of terrorism has only increased the feeling of insecurity in public places worldwide, creating an additional push for camera surveillance systems.
The technology used with the surveillance of modern CCTV systems is now state of the art, using face recognition, infra red capabilities, motion detection, bulletproof casing, extreme zooming, and scanning, all combined with computer imaging and monitoring (privacyinternational.org 2000 and en.wikipedia.org 2004). Britain is currently using CCTV in "schools in the classroom so parents can be shown the footage if a child misbehaves" (rense.com 2004). Also, the "ability to store images digitally has played a key role in fostering the industry's growth" (rense.com 2004). There are, however, several issues that have arisen from the use of CCTV that have some people and organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), upset about the privacy implications that come with the mass surveillance that CCTV provides.
Those opposing CCTV have stated that CCTV's original purpose of deterring crime and promoting safety has not been very effective. Sociologists in Britain have found that the cameras have not reduced crime at all really, but, instead, have merely caught crimes in action (archive.aclu.org 2004). CCTV has not "improve[ed] the perception of crime problems" either, with the exception of high profile public places (archive.aclu.org 2004). Another study by the "crime reduction charity NACRO, found that the technology reduced crime by only 3 percent to 4 percent while better street lighting led to a 20 percent reduction" (rense.com 2004). Several problems have also been pointed out, all from the secondary implications that CCTV brings.
The actual monitoring of the massive number of cameras has turned out to be a difficult task, with people having a hard time staying focused while monitoring the cameras. A study in Britain demonstrated that "after only 20 minutes of watching and evaluating monitor screens, the attention of most individuals degenerate[d] well below acceptable levels" (archive.aclu.org 2004). Beyond having thousands of cameras monitoring the city, actually catching a crime in action is much easier said than done. However, there is an increased use of "computer-assisted operations" that have allowed better monitoring of cameras to be made. Another potential problem with CCTV is that it is highly susceptible to misuse in the following areas: criminal abuse, abuse for personal reasons, discriminatory targeting, and voyeurism (archive.aclu.org 2004).
An example of criminal abuse would be the unlawful checking of random license plates in order to determine which cars were stolen, had different plates, etc. (archive.aclu.org). A person could then blackmail the owners, or users of those cars, creating a highly leveraged and illegal situation. CCTV cameras can also be used for personal reasons such as, in the case of police officers, "to help their friends or themselves stalk women, threaten motorists after traffic altercations, and track estranged spouses" (arcive.aclu.org 2004). Discriminatory targeting could maybe be the biggest problem CCTV is creating. These camera systems are operated by humans who "bring to the job all their existing prejudices and biases" (archive.aclu.org 2004). In Britain, cameras have been found to "focus disproportionately on people of color," resulting in "Black people being one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half times more likely to be [focused on] than one would expect from their presence in the population" (archive.aclu.org 2004). In addition, "40% percent of people were targeted for 'no obvious reason,' mainly 'on the basis of belonging to a particular or sub-cultural group'" (privacyinternational.org 2000). Voyeurism is another potential problem that CCTV may bring. Having access to viewing anyone in a whole city area gives an operator the ability to watch and zoom in on unsuspecting women and men, taking away from the cameras' original purpose of keeping the city safe.
There are many problems that are directly connected to CCTV. However, the increase in their usage will most likely not stop in a time when terrorism is at the top of governments' and cities' minds alike.
These surveillance devices, both audio and visual, are used for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons are legitimate and legal while others are extremely invasive and illegal. The ethical and privacy issues regarding these technologies will be discussed later in this chapter. Understanding the technology behind audio and visual surveillance is essential before exploring the ethical concerns related to surveillance.
Counter Surveillance is defined as the "practice of avoiding surveillance or making it difficult." Before computer networks, counter surveillance involved avoiding agents and communicating secretly. From a public perspective, it seems that there is not much a person can do, either through the legal system or by their own means, to avoid CCTV cameras from potentially monitoring their every move. Laws regarding personal privacy are restricted to people's homes and private properties. The only type of counter surveillance available, that an individual can use, is "bug sweeping" equipment that detects and discovers bugs, wiretaps, and other surveillance devices (pimall.com 2004). Probes may be used to scan areas for certain types of frequencies that are given out by bugging devices.
An RF probe is able to "sniff out and sweep for hidden phone, room, or body bugs, remote-control signals, computer, fax, or telex transmitters, video transmitters, pulsed tracking transmitters and even wide band frequency hopping or 'burst' bugs" (pimall.com 2004). A V.L.F. probe "tests AC outlets, phone lines, or suspicious wires for very low frequency 'carrier current' signals" (pimall.com 2004). An RF interceptor is "capable of scanning between 3MHz - 3,500MHz and audio which covers just about every type of surveillance transmitter available (tscm.com 2004). The user is then "alerted of a bug's presence by a row of LED's and the sensitivity can be adjusted to pin point the bug's exact location (pimall.com 2004). The interceptor also incorporates an "inbuilt receiver so the user can listen to and confirm the offending bug" (pimall.com 2004). A telephone tap defeat system "connects to an existing socket and the user's telephone plugged into the TTD" (pimall.com 2004). The system will "starve telephone transmitters of power and even keep voice activated recorders on to run out of tape by sending a special tone along the line when the telephone is not in use" (pimall.com 2004). The system requires no batteries due to it being completely line powered. A telephone scrambler may be used to "disrupt bugs attached to phone lines" (pimall.com 2004). These bug-sweeping technologies increase in cost with the level of accuracy and type of technology being used.
Legal Considerations with Surveillance
As corporate America and our local and national governments record our every move, the important question to ask is if there is any recourse? Are there any laws prohibiting the seemingly endless encroachment of others into our lives? The answer to this question is not really. The reality of the situation is that ever since 9/11, there has been a decrease in laws prohibiting surveillance. The U.S. government defines electronic surveillance as "the intentional acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device or the contents of any radio communication, under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy...And if both the sender and all intended recipients are located within the United States" (IRS.gov 2004). According to the Internal Revenue Service's web site, visual surveillance can be preformed on any person "suspect" of committing fraudulent activities in the U.S (IRS.gov 2004). This visual surveillance can be expanded to audio surveillance if one is found committing illegal acts of any kind while under visual surveillance. In other words, if a person is under suspicion and is seen by U.S. government officials acting illegally, they can invade personal privacy legally. They are, by law, allowed to watch, using any equipment available for the purposes of "gathering evidence."
It is critical to understand the lack of motivation towards the legislation of this topic. Let's once again consider England, where a person is videotaped over 300 times a day by over 3 million cameras. The reality is that the U.K Government relies on this technology as a means of supervising the public. Similarly here in the U.S., with each passing year, the government grows more and more dependent upon the need to use audio and visual surveillance as a way of policing its citizens. In other words, why would the United States Government who relies so heavily on the use of this technology want to limit its own use of it through legislation. The answer is simple and clear: they don't and they won't. Furthermore, with the exception of the ACLU, no large interest groups have even touched on this issue. This is due to the fact that most of the large interest groups and powerful lobbyist represent large companies. Large companies are also disinterested in limiting their own power as well. This is the largest problem facing legislation that protects the rights of citizens with respect to audio and visual surveillance. The Government on more than one occasion has professed the fact that it is their professional opinion that once someone has left the home, the expectation of privacy is gone with respect to audio and visual surveillance.
Additionally, the Patriot Act outlines specific ways in which the government can invade citizens' privacy without their knowledge. The first line of H.R. 3162, drafted in the Senate and approved on October 24th, 2001, states a goal "to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes" (epic.org 2004). The part of this proclamation that seems to be rather vague is the "and for other purposes". How is a person supposed to understand a statement in a land mark act that is worded so indirectly, and explicitly allows for excessive use of the law by the U.S. government. Sections 201-225 outline the new capabilities of the government under this act. The U.S. government now has the "authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism" (epic.org 2004). The act fails to define what relates to terrorism and what doesn't. It goes on to include the scope of subpoenas for records allowed under this act as well as "roving surveillance authority". Roving surveillance authority is basically the right the government has under this to use extreme and in some cases excessive use of surveillance when tracking a suspect. In other words, this act gives the U.S government the right to invade the privacy of its citizens at will. It will remain to be seen as to whether or not this act will be abused by law enforcement in the prosecution of non terrorist related cases. The language used in this act is extremely obscure and innocuous. The soft, indirect diction used in the Patriot Act leaves the door wide open for privacy and ethical abuses to occur on the part of local and federal law enforcement. There are examples all over the U.S of inaccuracies in the collected data leading to detainment of children and elderly people with the same names as those in the terrorism database. The reality is that terrorist attacks have cost us a part of our privacy in the U.S. However, it remains clear that the level of protection cannot reach such a point where we are detaining innocent citizens against their will.
At what point does the surveillance of every public and private move we make become unethical? Where does the U.S government draw the line between safety and privacy? What are the counter surveillance options out there for people who value their privacy? As ethics seems to play a smaller and smaller role in America with each passing year, where do we draw the line on these issues? For example, is a husband using surveillance in various forms against his wife unethical? In other words, is putting CCTV and audio bugs around the house to watch a suspect wife ethical? According to the 100 people we surveyed 89% said that this was unethical and wrong. The same population was then asked if the government watching its citizens in the form of traffic surveillance, school surveillance, public areas surveillance, was unethical. Only 30% of the surveyed population thought that this form of surveillance was unethical. However, when it came to whether employer employee surveillance was unethical in areas such as break rooms, smoking areas, bathrooms, dinning areas, and at their desks, almost a 100% felt that this was unethical. People almost unanimously conveyed that they felt like their personal conversations away from their job requirements was exclusively their business. In other words, 98% percent of people surveyed considered it unethical to bug or eavesdrop on personal conversations away from their desk. Lastly, when it came to merchants watching their customers, the ethical line was extremely clear. The majority of consumers felt that it was unethical and down right criminal to be watched inside of bathrooms and dressing rooms. However, 97% of consumers surveyed said they did not mind being watched while they were in the main public areas within the store. People conveyed a sentiment of absolute disgust for individuals and companies using CCTV to watch young children while they were changing or in the restroom. Exclusively, people said it was unethical to watch children in these capacities and further said that the punishment regarding these ethical infringements should be rigid and severe.
Ethics is essential to the success and moral fabric of any society. We must consider the ethical issues present when discussing these privacy issues. If we don't, we are left with a society full of distrust and nervousness. Distrust will lead to a slippery slope of other social problems. Ethics is a critical piece to any successful society. If people share similar ethics then a society will function with greater ease and enjoyment by all citizens. Additionally, it is absolutely imperative that local and national governments take into account the ethical considerations of every issue currently at hand. This is because according to our data of the surveyed population, audio and visual surveillance may be acceptable in one area but completely unacceptable in another area. It is clear that the American culture is growing ever more dependent on surveillance, in all forms, with each passing year. It is the ethical responsibility of the citizens to protect their own privacy by not allowing unethical uses of surveillance. Unfortunately, the only clear legal way to protect our culture against severe ethical infringements is through the courts. In other words, if one feels as if he is being watched, it is imperative that an individual finds out, document the situation, and then report it to law enforcement. Lastly, follow ups are necessary with criminal and civil law suits against people, companies, and governments that find it acceptable to use surveillance technology unethically.
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