Cameras are everywhere.    Still…there’s a point at which they can become an invasion of privacy.

The “eye in the sky” is watching when you are driving, shopping, and at work.   Many people even have home security systems that use cameras. They are even in the baby’s room so parents can monitor from other parts of the house.

The use of cameras and surveillance equipment has been quietly expanding.  At what point do cameras go too far?

Why did United Airlines cover seat back cameras?  

United Airlines and several other carriers have been recently covering cameras that were installed in the seatbacks.  You board the plane, take your seat and next to the screen in front of you there is a camera.

According to United they were never activated but were included for eventual use for features like video conferencing with other people on the plane.

Cameras in cars

Cameras have become a new and growing feature in automobiles.  These cameras are used in a variety of ways. Some include blind spot detection systems, vehicle security, dashcams for recording travel interactivity, and convenience.

One system is designed to combat drunk driving.  Through the use of AI the system analyzes the driver’s face and behavior and can prevent operation of the vehicle if the system deems the driver to be intoxicated.

Cameras have been used for awhile in front and rear facing monitoring systems such as dashcams and backup cameras.  More recently, Tesla has used numerous cameras that work with the automobile’s Auto Pilot system.

Cameras in your home

Home surveillance systems have been on the market for many years, and they have become more and more popular.  Being able to see who is at the front door or view motion recorded video adds to our security and can even sometimes lower insurance costs.

This is not where home cameras end.  Most computers (laptops and tablets) are equipped with cameras just like our smartphones.   In many cases these devices have more than one. Most smart speakers that have screens include video cameras that can be used for video conferencing.

According to the Washington Times DVR/cable box technology includes cameras that watch the viewer.  The Federal Government introduced a bill called the “We Are Watching You Act” to address this. According to the congressional website the bill was sent to committee in 2013 and that was the last action on it.  (HR 2356 – 113th Congress)

Another such bill was introduced in 2017 and also was referred to subcommittee.  (HR 709, 115th Congress).

Cameras are in many set top cable boxes, gaming systems, and even televisions.  A quick search on the Internet will return information on some of these cameras and where they are.

Where exactly do all these videos go?

It depends.   In the case of Tesla many of the videos are stored in the car internally and can be erased with a factory reset.  In other cases the videos are sent to the manufacturer and used for their purposes.

And while that may be an unwanted invasion of privacy, the other big consideration is hackers.  Even if the use of a camera is for an authorized purpose, it is always possible that a hacker can intercept this equipment and watch you watching your television without you even knowing.   Now that is a creepy thought.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler.

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