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The Usage of Surveillance Technology

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Digital technology further improved the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement agencies. This technology provided clearer and more reliable images and required much less physical storage than analog tapes. From 1997 onwards, police used digital cameras across the United States. “ Nanny cams” also became prominent as a niche market was realized. Market forces drove towards smaller and higher resolution cameras that were easily hidden. This adoption of digital video surveillance technology was also alluded to by Douglas (Douglas, 2010)⁠, who elaborated on the importance of high resolution, high megapixel (MP) cameras.

do not blur when focusing or zooming in on a specific instance or element of the video image. Modern digital cameras installed in business premises, for example, can zoom 300 feet and make out individual license plates. Douglas also noted that the cost of these cameras goes down as the technology improves. Axis, a security camera company, sells a high definition camera with 2 MP resolution with built-in optical zoom and intelligent analytical software for US$1500 (Douglas, 2010)⁠. After the events of September 11, 2001, software developers began refining programs as facial recognition software (Wilkerson, 2008; Yang, Capell, & Port, 2005)⁠.

In 2002, facial recognition cameras were installed at the Statue of Liberty and at Ellis Island. In December of 2003, a pilot program for tracking missing children and registered sex offenders was introduced in Arizona which used this technology. The proliferation of streaming technology on the Internet further enabled surveillance technology virtually worldwide. Currently, camera phones allow anyone to record anything surreptitiously. Wilkerson (Wilkerson, 2008)⁠ proposed that law enforcement agencies can use emerging technologies as integrated devices, combining video with public phone systems.

Cell phones with streaming video capability also enable the public and the police to immediately send images and videos to the authorities, enabling quick and efficient responses to possible threats.

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