Surveillance & Tracking Technology

Does it provide safety for all, but privacy for none?

Background Information

Definition:close observation, especially of a suspected spy or criminal.

  • Surveillance technology includes video cameras,drones, UAVs, biometrics, and licsense plate readers.
  • The word comes from the French phrase meaning "watch over"
  • The nine major companies that the FBI DITU gains information from: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.


  • People will typically not commit a crime, if they know they are being watched.
  • Some people will feel safer knowing there is surveillance.
  • If a camera was recording during the time of the incident, authorities can look back at the tapes to find suspects.
  • Government can watch suspicious people's actions.
  • Video surveillance can be used to see if eyewitness is truthful of the situation or if they forgot an important detail
  • Tracking technology can be used to find suspects and victims of a crime.


  • Many people complain surveillance violates privacy.
  • Surveillance is often done without consent by the people it is watching or tracking.
  • Constant recording could influence people to only be good while under the watch of cameras.
  • There are ways to edit a face onto the body of another person.
  • Some people may be uncomfortable or insecure knowing they are being watched
  • Video footage can, and has been used in inappropriate ways when placed in a hidden angle.


"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." -Amendment IV
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Final Thoughts

After finishing my research, I decided that there should be some surveillance, but only to a certain extent; and only under certain circumstances. I think that online surveillance should be conducted if a specific person already has a suspicious or criminal record,a key word or phrase is searched (ex. "how to make a bomb"), or they are running for a major role in the US (ex. mayor). If any stores or public businesses want to have a video security system they should be allowed, but only if they have a sign in a prominent position on the outside or have every customers consent to be recorded.I also believe more laws should be made about footage being taken without a persons consent, and being used for inappropriate purposes. Overall, I don't think that surveillance conducted by the government is used to keep citizens safe, but more so for themselves.


Belsie, Laurent. "Public Surveillance Cameras Violate Privacy." Civil Liberties. Ed. Roman Espejo. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The eyes have it-for now." The Christian Science Monitor. 2002. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

"Electronic Surveillance." LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

"EPIC - EPIC Government Surveillance Project." EPIC - EPIC Government Surveillance Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Lieu, Ted, and Joel Anderson. "The National Security Agency Violates Civil Rights." Domestic Surveillance. Ed. Tamara Thompson. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Rpt. from "NSA's Bulk Data Collection Program Unconstitutional: Ted Lieu and Joel Anderson." 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Obama, Barack. "The United States Must Balance Security and Privacy Needs." Domestic Surveillance. Ed. Tamara Thompson. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Rpt. from "Speech on Changes to National Security Agency Programs, US Justice Department." 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Sanchez, Julian. "Surveillance Can't Make Us Secure." The Nation (15 Feb. 2010). Rpt. in Civil Liberties. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

Steinhardt, Barry. "Public Surveillance Cameras Violate Privacy Rights." Civil Liberties. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "testimony before the Committee of the Judiciary, Council of the District of Columbia." 2002. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

"Surveillance Programs Prompt Some to Change the Way They Use Technology." Pew Research Center. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <>.