Cameras Reading you Text Messages – Get a life

Seriously – if you are worried about someone ‘reading your text message’ from a CCTV camera, you are suffering paranoia.

I was reading this article from New Zealand and was amused by the writers concerns.

This carpark is monitored by CCTVSurveillance cameras are now so powerful that they were able to zoom in on individual spectators at the Rugby World Cup and read their text messages.

Details of police monitoring used for the first time during the tournament were discussed at a privacy forum in Wellington yesterday, at which it was revealed that the average person is digitally recorded about a dozen times a day – and even more if they use email and social media frequently.

Superintendent Grant O’Fee told the forum how one incident at the Rugby World Cup “tweaked in my head” a concern about possible privacy breaches.

Camera operators who were scanning the crowd for unruly behaviour or suspicious packages chose to zoom in on a person who was texting.

There are hundreds of CCTV cameras installed that capture you each day.

For most, they would be lucky to identify you let alone ready a SMS on your phone. Of the cameras that are capable of doing this – manned PTZ cameras – they are paying the operators to look for out of the ordinary behaviour. For them to zoom in to your phone’s screen and read your text message,

  • - you would first need to have been noticed for some reason
  • - Be facing with back to the camera – not typically the person to be watched at random
  • - Stand or sit in the same position with almost no movement of your hand as they will have zoomed some distance to see the phone screen and a very small movement will remove it from the scene.

Government agencies do exist doing this

There are government agencies that do get paid to track this sort of level and they do it at a much more intelligent level than a camera over the shoulder. While they do use cameras for monitoring, the chances of you knowing when you are being monitored are zero. Additionally you would be suspected of involvement with something bigger crimes like drug dealing or terrorism.

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