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Big Brother Is Watching You More Closely Than Ever: Cctv Cameras, the Spies in Our Midst

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Big Brother is watching you more closely than ever: CCTV cameras, the spies in our midst

Privacy is essential to our humanity. It permits us to shape and maintain lives, from which personal identity, selfdetermination and freedom arise. In today’s society, however, undisturbedness is mainly an illusion. The line between privacy and public space has simply become as fragile as porcelain. This is due to increased monitoring of human behaviour. In “Big Brother is watching you more closely than ever”, written by John Kampfner in 2012, it is discussed whether surveillance provides protection or disturbs the individual liberty.

A coherent structure in essence is the foundation for the written amount of text. The article consists of three components: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Thus it achieves structural integrity. The text mostly centers on the subject of surveillance and its effect on society. To what extent the use of security cameras can be justified is, however, also a focus of attention. The major topic is presented in the introduction by using the words: “The march of CCTV cameras.” The ideas, to which the writer will adhere when discussing the theme, are likewise indicated in the introductory section. The body, where the issue is elaborated, covers the critical evidence that defends the position of John Kampfner. The documentation includes specific facts, description, quotations and references to authoritarian persons. Numerical examples are also used to support the claims. The following sentence provides proof of that: “The average person is likely to be spotted by CCTV 300 times.” By using facts as valid documentation the author appeals to the logic of the audience. The article is brought to an end with a conclusion. The conclusion attempts to persuade the reader to accept the writer’s arguments by raising a number of rhetorical questions: “But do we really want to be monitored round-the-clock, wherever we are? If the man in charge of the system is worried about Big Brother, why shouldn’t we be?”

The author’s attitude towards surveillance and its common occurrence clearly emerges from the text. The views he expresses are predominantly characterized by considerable scepticism. This assumption is supported by the phrase as follows: “Perhaps you forget, say, to pay a parking fine or your TV license, and your name has been entered on one of the many impenetrable state files. And the worst thing is that you would never know.” Furthermore, John Kampfner expresses a lack of trust towards the monitoring system by saying that surveillance cameras do not fulfil their operational function: “The cameras that are meant to make us feel safer, and to make potential criminals think twice, weren’t up to the job. If that was ever true, it certainly isn’t the case now.” In his opinion the cameras are invading and ruining privacy instead of ensuring security. A boy, who appears in the BBC news clip “Concern over Oxfordshire school cameras“, has the same view. Equally, an article in New York Times says that surveillance is detrimental and leaves people without any privacy in public.

The writer’s opinion is consistent with the attitude of Andrew Renninson, who is Britain’s first surveillance commissioner. This fact establishes ethos and improves the quality of his argumentation. In the main part of the article the efficiency of the Big Brother technology is identified. Thereby the writer’s attitude is made even more explicit: “Thanks to the state’s extensive collection of personal data, you could be walking along a crowded street and the camera could home in on you, zooming up, forwards and backwards, keeping tabs on you.” A female figure from the BBC news clip is, in accordance with John Kampfner, an opponent of CCTV cameras. This is shown by the following citation: “Cameras don’t fix human behaviour. They just monitor it.”

At some point in the text, it appears that the writer has a positive approach towards the advanced technology: “Although the camera did not prevent the crime, its images helped the police find the two boys who were later convicted of his murder.” With the author’s acknowledgement of the oppositely directed point the appeal to credibility is strengthened. Moreover, his ability to treat the topic fairly is established. The quoted passage is succeeded by a personal anecdote. This recounts a criminal offence that made him even more insecure about the purpose of investing millions of pounds in security cameras. By involving an own experience pathos is brought into action. The pathetic appeal puts the audience in a suitable mood by addressing their feelings about the subject.

It can be assumed that John Kampfner has written the article with the aim to persuade the readers to reaffirm their exiting believes about close monitoring. The appliance of different appeal forms, quotes and references to experts contribute to a convincing argumentation. It is also conceivable that the author wishes to create political awareness, so that mass surveillance can be controlled in an appropriate way. The text succeeds in fulfilling the writer’s main intentions.

On the basis of the analysis it can be concluded that the structure of the article is coherent. This is due to its division into three different sections: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Moreover, it can be determined that the writer’s attitude towards surveillance and its dominating role in the modern society is critical. This is despite the fact that he is able to illuminate the subject from different angles.…...

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