CCTV footage is increasingly being used throughout the world by the government, businesses and individuals. But where does this anxiety about the role of media come from? Why all of a sudden do we feel the need to tighten our surveillance over our public peers and assets?
I believe that this strict employment of CCTV footage has been used by the government to tighten state control. It enables the regulation of the public and ensures that laws are being followed. This is also known as ‘Structural Marxism’ which is discussed by Louis Althusser in his article “On Ideology” 1971. The use of CCTV footage by businesses allows for the protection of their stores and employees. Surveillance is able to identify thieves in a store, as well as keeping a watchful eye on the behaviour of staff. Other businesses, such as TV broadcasting networks, may use CCTV footage for the benefit of profit. This is evident in the Australian hit TV show “Big Brother”.
This particular show, by Channel Ten, places a mixture of individuals in a house and they are watched by the nation, every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. Watched by the nation and judged by the nation. This can be related to “Jeremy Bentham’s Participation Theory” in which all prisoners can be viewed through glass walls. Increasingly over the last decade, individuals have been placing surveillance cameras in their homes; this is mainly due to protection and making the home owners feel safe.
CCTV footage has many different uses, and it is safe to say that these uses vary dramatically. Surveillance can be used by repressive state apparatuses (state, army, and police) to depict a murderer from a crowd of people or it can be used as a mediated public sphere to create humour and contest ideologies. It’s pleasant to know that almost my every move is being watched, just in case something terrible happens, but where does this draw the line between my protection and my privacy?
Everyone is always watching, are you being watched?