Closed-circuit television (CCTV) — with which the picture is viewed or recorded, but not broadcast — initially developed as a means of security for banks. Today it has developed to the point where it is simple and inexpensive enough to be used in home security systems, and for everyday surveillance.
Citizens under surveillance in Cairns, Queensland
The widespread use of CCTV by the police and governments has developed over the last 10 years. In the UK, cities and towns across the country have installed large numbers of cameras linked to police authorities. The justification for the growth of CCTV in towns is that it deters crime — although there is still no clear evidence that CCTV reduces crime. The recent growth of CCTV in housing areas also raises serious issues about the extent to which CCTV is being used as a social control measure rather than simply a deterrent to crime.
The development of CCTV in public areas, linked to computer databases of people's pictures and identity, has been argued by some to present a risk to civil liberties.