These days there are more and more people who think that the whole surveillance issue has gone a bit too far. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, if we’re outdoors, especially in a city, there is a very high probability that we’re being recorded.
Of course, surveillance cameras have helped to make countless cities safer by catching various crimes on video—from theft to vandalism to assault—thus allowing the police to apprehend the criminals committing them faster and easier.
Still, many can’t help but feel uncomfortable with the fact that almost all of their actions are being monitored, especially those who would not think of committing crimes. Some have even gone as far as to call surveillance cameras an Orwellian invasion of the privacy everyone should be entitled to.
History of Surveillance Day
The first surveillance cameras were created by German engineer Walter Bruch and was installed by Siemens AG in Germany in 1942 to observe the launch of V-2 rockets. In the U.S. the first commercial closed-circuit television system, Vericon, became available in 1949.
The earliest video surveillance systems required constant human monitoring because at the time there was no way to record and store information. Then, when VCR technology became available in the 1970s, it became possible to record and erase information, causing the use of video surveillance to become much more practical and thus much more common.
Olean, New York was the first city in the United States to install video cameras along its main business street in an effort to fight crime in 1968. A few years later, in 1973, cameras also appeared in Times Square in New York City. In the 1980s video surveillance began to spread across the country, especially in public areas. Businesses that were especially prone to theft, such as banks and stores, also began to install surveillance cameras. In 1998, 3,000 CCTV systems were in use in New York City.
Today, surveillance cameras are also used in traffic monitoring, transport safety, control of retail, as well as home and school security. The use of video surveillance in public places became more common after the September 11th Terrorist attacks so as to deter future terrorist attacks. In 2010, there were more than 10,000 CCTV systems and counting in Chicago. Greater London also has a large amount, with the number being estimated around 500,000, and the total number of cameras in the UK to be around 4,200,000.
Surveillance Day was created several years ago to help us all take a step back and having a bit of fun with issues that are usually gravely serious.
How to celebrate Surveillance Day
As mentioned before, surveillance cameras have been criticized for depriving regular citizens of their privacy and allowing the authorities and governments too much control over citizens’ lives. However, the good they have the potential to do for society as a whole is a strong argument in their favor.
On Surveillance Day, take a moment to have a little bit of fun with the cameras surrounding you and do what little kids do when they see a train: wave! With all of the problems the world is facing, it’s nice to just let go and have a laugh every now and then, and the person who might be watching the recordings
On July 2nd 2018 the Founder of this day changed the name from Wave At The Surveillance Cameras Day to Surveillance Day.