Is Public Video Surveillance a Right of Government?
Abstract: From supermarkets to schools and movie theatres to hospitals— we are being watched. The current study explored American opinion on the right of government to keep people under public video surveillance in the interest of public security with 2016 General Social Survey data. Frequency cross-tabulations and logistic regressions were employed. Sixty-five percent of Americans believed government held the right of public video surveillance, with 26% believing it a definite right and 39% believing it probably a right. Significant associations were revealed for educational attainment and safety of neighborhood. Highest proportions believing in government’s right of public videotaping were for bachelor and graduate degree (72%). Regression analysis confirmed associations. Americans with a bachelor or graduate degree level of education were 52% more likely to agree government had a right to keep individuals under video surveillance in public places. Individuals who lived in very safe neighborhoods were 33% more likely than those living in other neighborhoods to believe in government’s right to videotape in public.