Hidden Video Cameras
The state of world affairs has suddenly changed. We are now much more concerned about security than we were just a few months ago. We sacrifice personal privacy so that we can learn more about people sitting next to us on airplanes. Anonymity is giving way to full disclosure. In an effort to root out troublemakers, faces of people attending public events are being recorded and matched up to a computer database. Video plays a major role in this shift away from personal privacy. How will you respond?
But video technology has always allowed the capability of invading people's privacy. Telephoto lenses, which can record people's actions from long distances and without their knowledge, have been around for many years. If a face is recognizable in a video, the law requires that the subject sign a release agreement in order to display the video in public. In many circumstances, celebrities are exempt from this requirement because of their fame; they've sacrificed some of their privacy rights. That's why we see topless or otherwise revealing photos of celebrities on the covers of certain newspapers.
Telephoto lenses, however, are less capable of invading privacy than the security industry's latest video technology. The tiniest video cameras are a little larger than a cube of sugar. These cameras can mount onto a baseball hat and be wired to a camcorder worn on a belt. Even more covert, the signal from these cameras can wirelessly transmit up to 700 feet. You can purchase the tiny camera and wireless device usually for less than $250.
All videographers have a responsibility to use their equipment within ethical, as well as legal guidelines. Some law enforcement officials and private investigators can justify invading the privacy of the people they record. But, all other video camera operators should be certain that they have the subject's consent. It's the right thing to do.
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