Voices
in
Japan

have your say

How do you feel about all the surveillance cameras being used these days in public and private spaces?

22 Comments

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
Login to comment

I hate it. Its an Orwelian world now here. The scary thing is that people don't seem to mind it. Its not just the government that's turned orwelian- its the people as well.

I always feel like somebody's watching me; And I have no privacy.

Michael Jackson

3 ( +3 / -0 )

With kids, I appreciate the surveillance that may be helpful in case of abduction or an accident. Also, as a foreigner, in case of any accident or altercation, the native would get the benefit of the doubt, so surveillance would be objective evidence that may help me. However, not sure what is meant by surveillance in "private spaces"... I cover my peephole on the home laptop just in case a clever internet geek could hijack it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Aly RustomToday  10:04 am JST

I hate it. Its an Orwelian world now here.

"Orwellian" should never be used as a synonym for "surveillance state". If in reading 1984, the biggest thing you're afraid of is the cameras, you didn't read it very closely.

"Orwellian" describes a world where the state has near-omnipotent power over the public, to the degree that they try to engineer the very thoughts of the public themselves until human connections outside of the state's economic machine are impossible.

Even the direst doomsayer amongst us can't credibly say that's actually happening yet.

Criticize cameras all you want, but they aren't nearly enough to be Orwellian.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"Orwellian" should never be used as a synonym for "surveillance state". If in reading 1984, the biggest thing you're afraid of is the cameras, you didn't read it very closely.

I didn't say that the biggest thing I'm afraid of is the cameras. Please don't put words in my mouth. The question was How do you feel about all the surveillance cameras? I simply answered that I hated them-NEVER said anything about being afraid of them. You need to read my posts much more carefully.

"Orwellian" describes a world where the state has near-omnipotent power over the public, to the degree that they try to engineer the very thoughts of the public themselves until human connections outside of the state's economic machine are impossible.

I would say that is an accurate description of Japan.

Even the direst doomsayer amongst us can't credibly say that's actually happening yet.

I would.

Criticize cameras all you want, but they aren't nearly enough to be Orwellian.

Well, we are going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Surveillance cameras do serve a purpose in criminal investigations. Many criminals have been identified through the use of these cameras in various countries.

If one is doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Huxley-ian, Huxley-an? Not sure of the nomenclature but Brave New World is the far more prescient book. It's not about what the state is doing to us, it's about what we're willingly giving up to them and their partners (tech companies).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"If one is doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about."

I believe this is how most East Germans felt about the Stasi.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If one is doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

I believe this is how most East Germans felt about the Stasi.

I believe this is how most - as of now - groups of people feel. Until it is determined they are doing something wrong (being female, a different race or gender, immigrants, poor etc)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Fact of life.  As long as not misused, guess I am ok with them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I believe this is how most - as of now - groups of people feel. Until it is determined they are doing something wrong (being female, a different race or gender, immigrants, poor etc)

It also depends a good deal on who's holding power and how you feel about them. When the surveillance state was in the benevolent hands of Barack Obama (irony alert), no worries. Right up until the election I kept asking rank and file Democrats what if these powers get passed to someone less worthy of reverence? Oh well.

Most folks just want an authoritarian daddy figure to tuck them in at night so they feel safe. Surrendering their civil liberties is a small price to pay to live in this alternate reality.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I agree with jcapan about bringing Huxlian into this. After all:

Aly RustomToday  11:17 am JST

"Orwellian" describes a world where the state has near-omnipotent power over the public, to the degree that they try to engineer the very thoughts of the public themselves until human connections outside of the state's economic machine are impossible.

I would say that is an accurate description of Japan.

I guess Aly has never been to any of the hundreds of yokocho to be found in any city in this country. The private life imagined by Huxley is a far better analogue to what happens in Japan, as long as you remember to switch soma for osake.

But when people are talking about "the state", I think they're framing this in old-fashioned terms. Worries about big governments watching your every move were fodder for the last century. Only a tiny number of the cameras watching you every moment of the day can actually be legally accessed by most governments without a warrant.

In the 21st century, the omni-present telescreens of 1984 should be reconsidered as data-mining cookies. Websites access thousands of data points about their users likes, dislikes, what they have considered buying, what they already bought, and combine those data points into minable databases to be sold to the highest bidder. Sometimes that's sold to advertisers who just want to craft the perfect ad to get you to crack open your wallet. Sometimes its sold to foreign operators or political agents who want to craft the perfect message to get you to vote against your personal interest.

I love 1984, but the more technology advances, the more the nightmare of the Orwellian world is revealed to be fantasy. There is no need for an omnipotent state to control your thinking when the power of connected computers lets tiny organizations manipulate what information you are exposed to. That's the real nightmare of our generation, and unfortunately people responsible for web portals are not interested in stepping up and facing the challenge.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don’t mind them so much in public places; if they can be used to identify a criminal, then that’s all to the good.

What I do find objectionable are the two surveillance cameras which were put up in my office in secret over a weekend, pointing directly at the one area of the room where the non-Japanese work. No announcement, no explanation, we just looked up and noticed them on a Monday. Never any explanation as to why, either, beyond the catch-all panacea of “Security”. We never got an answer as to why neither of them were pointing at the door to identify who is coming in and out.

They are both watching me as I write this right now. So, on behalf of all of us in Gaijin Corner, I say:

“Shove it, Mr. N.”

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Bound to happen sooner or later. It's just how we humans are wired, to try to be more efficient and lazy at the same time by reducing the need for cops on every corner while the camera watchers get to sit on their butts.

Move to the country or another country if it bothers anyone that much.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I think the UK has the highest proportion of cctv to inhabitants.

For real, in your face, surveillance, I was quite astounded one night in Taiwan where the local cops came into the bar and filmed everyone there.

The owner came over to us after the amateur film-makers had departed and apologised saying that it was a regular occurence but it was still quite an odd experience.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When cameras started going up in town I really, really hated it, because it made me feel that I was not trusted. This was a betrayal of everything I bleieved in, and I burned with anger internally. That was back in 1965 in Edinburgh. Now it scares me that these security cameras do not bother me on that level; my only question is why they are often too blurry to identify perps more clearly.

(Derek above, put your objections in writing and hand them to someone senior. Explain how these cameras make you feel and ask why there is not one on the doorway. You will at least get an extra one put in!  :laugh: )

3 ( +3 / -0 )

PS = believed. Apologies for all spelling glitches past or future!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The people behind the surveillance that looks at everything, see nothing (or relatively little). They do not scare me so much.

It becomes quite scary when people leave it to the machines to do the surveillance. Machines do not think, nor do they sleep.

Random facial recognition software anyone? Hope they get your doppelganger first.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Surveillance is underused. If each and every aspekt of the public (and private, especially) was recorded and processed by the state, the secret services, the police - there would have been a way to prevent crimes, as well as evidence for any scum trying to evade Justice. There be 100-1000 handpicked people who monitor the whole system, analyze it, signal the police, even contact potential victims in case of emergency - the technology allows complete control. Why not take the step forward then? Dystopian preachers cry on streets about the dying freedom, when at the same time somewhere there is a dying person because the state could not protect him to its full extent. Can you shove your phantom freedom into the bereaved family faces?

We are not talking about most states. Such a state has to be led by benevolent and ultimately decent human beings. Which are in deficit in the modernity.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

By all accounts my own country (UK) has more cameras than anywhere else. So I shouldn't complain about Japan.

What I don't like is the way that police will use street surveillance cameras when it suits them but not others.

I produced clear video that proved I was not at fault in an RTA.

But because they had already established I was at fault...their "judgement" stood.

One can only wonder why :)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I wish they were as clear as the ones on TV dramas because the footage they show on the news from these cams often look like cell phone videos from the first PHS phones 25 years ago.

Sometimes you cannot even tell the gender of the person or even the make and model of a car.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Derek Grebe, if surveillance cameras were pointed at me, where I work, I'd quit. Even intelligence agencies don't do that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was distressing to realize that I had, without noticing it, come to assume that I am being filmed everywhere I go outside my own home, and that while this footage could be used to get me in trouble (taking too long a break at work, say), I would probably not be able to get it to exonerate me in the case of a dispute. My workplace has them everywhere -- thought not yet in the bathrooms, they claim. Nobody ever complains about them; one HR person said, "but nobody watches them in real time". So someone is looking at them afterwards? That's even scarier than if they were on with a person watching, but weren't saved!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites