Surveillance and the Right of Privacy
Introduction to Surveillance:
According to Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary, surveillance is defined as a “close kept watch over someone or something (as by a detective).” Surveillance has been used ever since the days of, “Follow that cab!” From their primitive state, surveillance techniques and technology have evolved. Policing agencies no longer need to use methods of surveillance such as listening through walls, looking through windows and over fences, and even sifting through a suspect’s garbage. Because of the continuous development of new technology, policing agencies can hear, see, and track almost everyone and everything. As more and more technology is developed, who is to regulate the use of the technology and surveillance?
Parabolic Microphones and “Bionic Ears”- This technology allows a person to amplify sounds (i.e. talking, movement) from a long distance away. For example, a suspect’s conversation can be pinpointed and heard 50 meters away as if the sounds were coming from short distance.
Digital Audio Equipment- Digital Audio Equipment allows police agencies to listen and record a phone conversation at any given time. These range from a digital voice stick that can be hidden in a room, or a “bug” device that can be placed inside a phone (landline or cellular).
Night Vision- Night Vision Goggles are electronic devices designed for observing remote objects and orientation at night. Special military, security forces, pilots, paratroopers, security agents and tact ops commandos have used this equipment.
Covert and Fixed Cameras- The use of covert cameras allows security and policing agencies to hide cameras, in turn, they would catch a suspect committing a crime or planning a crime. Fixed cameras are used by almost every store or business. They are also used in parking lots of large shopping areas.
Surveillance Sites- The surveillance sites are considered an important key in surveillance technology. These are secret places where officers conduct surveillance. As long as they remain secret, hidden observation sites prove to be useful law enforcement tools.
Methods of surveillance
Vehicle Tracking- Police officers continue to use vehicle tracking devices to follow a suspect’s car. These devices, “beepers,” may be secretly attached under the suspect’s car without causing damage, or they may be hidden in an item that is being transported by the suspect in his car, such as drugs or bait money. The beeper transmits a radio signal that reveals the car’s route to officers who follow at a safe distance. This type of tracking may only be done if the person being followed is traveling on public streets and parking lots (For example, a parking garage or a shopping mall parking lot.).
Aerial Surveillance- This is an effective method of observation performed through airplanes and helicopters. A warrant is not necessarily required for...