The statistics are mind-boggling. On an average day, people upload 300 million photos to Facebook. Over the 48-hour period of December 31, 2012 and January 1, 2013, that number skyrocketed to 1.1 billion pictures. Users add more than 100 hours of video footage to YouTube every minute (in our episode we cite the old figure of 72 hours — that has been officially bumped up just in the time since filming). There’s no denying it – cameras are everywhere, they’re rolling, and sometimes they’re focused directly on you.
Depending upon where you live, you may be on camera frequently throughout the day as you go about your business. In the UK, CCTV cameras operated by police are fairly common (though not as common as was previously estimated). According to a 2012 report by Al Jazeera, as many as one million Russian motorists may use cameras mounted on their vehicle’s dashboard to capture video in case of a car accident, police corruption or a pedestrian trying to pull a scam on a driver, like this guy.
Through much of the world, private establishments like retail shops, parking lots or garages, offices and sporting arenas have camera systems to monitor traffic flow and security issues. Then there are cameras along highways and intersections to help keep an eye on traffic situations and to catch people running red lights or committing other moving violations.
And I haven’t even touched on how many cameras are held by private citizens. From dedicated cameras to smartphones to emerging technology like Google Glass, cameras have become standard tech gadgets for many people. You might use it to snap a photo of the amazing taco you just got off a food truck or capture images of an historic event.
The fact is that cameras are already pervasive and that trend will likely continue. It means we’ll have to develop our own rules for when it’s appropriate (or not appropriate) to use a camera in certain situations. We may also need to redefine our concept of privacy. In the meantime, smile. You’re on candid camera (well, the odds are pretty good).