Traditional view of privacy now being challenged
The concept of privacy is undergoing a dramatic shift in the United States and elsewhere.
The New York Police Department recently announced it would soon be looking for criminals and potential terrorists through a "Domain Awareness" system developed by the Microsoft Corp. with the city’s cooperation.
It unifies an expansive system of 2,600 radiation detectors and 3,000 video surveillance cameras throughout the city with law enforcement databases. When suspicious activity or individuals are detected, they are identified and matched with databases containing criminal and terrorist information.
The goal is a quicker response and detention of individuals who may be a threat.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg denied it was a "Big Brother" system and likened it to surveillance systems used by private companies to ensure security.
It is hard to deny, however, that privacy is diminished when one can see video surveillance nearly everywhere, whether government or private business.
In Great Britain — already considered one of the most surveilled countries in the world — video cameras are being placed in school bathrooms, although supposedly they do not capture private moments. The goal, according to school officials, is to keep kids safe. Privacy defenders have protested.
Supporters of surveillance say it is necessary in today’s high risk world, and many citizens may agree, feeling it is better to sacrifice privacy for security.
What is clear is that the days of true privacy are rapidly vanishing, whether you consider it "Big Brother" or not.