Over the past 15 years, the security and surveillance industry has significantly changed. In the past, the surveillance was considered the responsibility of the governments, while the focus of these services has widely been shifted to the private sector in present times. The private surveillance industry uses sophisticated technologies and devices in order to ensure their clients the best quality of service and security solutions. This essay reviews major trends of private surveillance and the technologies used and highlights the expected trends for the next 5 years.
The need for private surveillance has been raised mainly due to the increasing security threats to the individuals and organizations. In the world of today, the state or government surveillance cannot alone guarantee the security of all citizens. The private companies provide the services of professional detectives and develop professional equipment for the surveillance activities. There are a number of professional institutes which offer training to the private detectives. For example, an organization such as Detective Training Institute (DTI) trains the investigators to use sophisticated advanced devices, software, and technologies which could make their jobs easier and more efficient (DTI). In addition to the trainings, most of the institutes also provide their students with the confidential details about the companies from which they can purchase the detective equipment as such tools might not be available in the market. In general, the clients may hire the professional detectives/investigators or purchase the dedicated equipment. As a result, such options may provide the clients with the security solutions according to individual needs. Some of the important methods used for private surveillance include taking services from the private investigators as well as using hidden cameras, web based detective technologies and software, and video surveillance technologies.
Private investigators are often hired by organizations or individuals for the purpose of checking credibility of a person or company (Martin). The major services provided by the private investigators include searching for divorce records, address histories, criminal histories, financial records, driving records, as well as past and present contact details. Usage of technology has reshaped the private investigation industry in a number of ways. For example, the private detectives can now very easily spy on their subject using the social media websites by following the status updates, activities, and connections. Many clients of the private detectives are interested to know the email and phone activities of the target. For this purpose, the detective uses the email snooper software easily available in the markets.
Many software companies have been engaged in developing detective software which can be used to track the activities, mouse clicks, or keyboard strokes of the subject. The software simply needs to be installed on the subject’s computer, which could even be done remotely; the activities of the subject are then monitored remotely by the detective without letting the person know about it. Although most of the detective applications were initially developed for using on the personal computers, due to the increasing use of the smart phones and easy development of mobile apps, many software companies have also launched their apps providing the detective services. An example software which has also made an app available is einvestigator (“Private Investigator Apps”).
In addition to the computer based surveillance technologies, the private detectives often make use of the camera and video technologies which can be kept hidden from the target. For example, the dashboard hidden cameras, motion activated cameras, GPS tracking devices, Night vision goggles, and traffic counter. There are companies operating worldwide which offer the surveillance equipment to constant buyers (mainly professional private detectives), general public, and the law enforcement agencies at discounted rates. The companies market their spying tools in multiple ways to attract the customers, both from the developed and developing countries. These companies essentially tend to convince the customers that their developed off-the-shelf solutions are actually what the client is seeking, and the equipment can be customized according to the needs of the clients.
One of the major surveillance technologies used today is video. In the recent years, the demand for HD CCTV cameras has increased than ever before (IHS 3); however, now the clients have shifted their focus to 4K cameras. The use of video surveillance in the business has been growing, which creates a number of challenges including the storage and processing of enormous amount of raw video data. The video surveillance has gained wide acceptance all around the world mainly because it assists the organizations to gain the customers’ trust and confidence and to monitor the expanding business operations without worrying about the employees’ reliability. Moreover, this type of surveillance eases the crime prevention and improves the workflow and the employee performance, hence the productivity of organization. The harassment prevention at the workplace is another advantage which the organizations enjoy with the help of video surveillance technologies.
In the future five years, the private surveillance industry is expected to grow at the rapid rate. Due to the success of the video surveillance technologies, it is highly anticipated that all the organizations looking for security solutions would continue hiring the private investigators as well as installing the video surveillance systems. Due to the increasing success of the detective software, the probability of developing more advanced software in the area is considerably high. The storage technologies for the video surveillance systems are expected to gain more researchers’ and marketers’ interest due to the increasing demands. At present, many of the clients of private surveillance systems raise the issues of low quality or resolution of the videos and also lack of recording for long duration. The sophisticated storage technologies associated with the video surveillance systems would result in improving efficiency of the video surveillance. Similarly, the number of problems related to the management of video surveillance systems is expected to increase considerably, which in turn would boost the demand for surveillance maintenance professionals.
Although the private surveillance results in safety and security of properties, belongings, ethical values, and even lives, the human rights policies regarding the use of these surveillance technologies are questionable. There is a high probability for the governments to develop specific rules and laws regarding the use of surveillance systems. Such policies may result in negative consequences for the individual private investigators, companies providing detective services, the training agencies, and the detective software development companies. Therefore, the present success of the surveillance industry might be affected because of the change in policies on the use of surveillance equipment over the next five years.
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This essay reviewed the recent trends of private surveillance. The various means of private surveillance in use today offer the individuals and organizations the benefits of identifying the credibility of the target ensuring security and safety of their property and belongings, and reducing the rate of theft and loss. Furthermore, surveillance may improve the employee performance and company productivity, optimize the workflows, prevent the workplace harassment, train employees, and finally increase customer trust and confidence. Over the past 15 years, the use of advanced technologies and devices has changed the ways in which the surveillance was done previously by the government agencies.
In the next five years, the private investigators would begin relying on more advanced web based technologies and devices for completing their tasks and monitoring their subjects. As far as the video surveillance is concerned, as the number of organizations would increase the number of cameras, the focus of industry would largely remain on the video analytics and storage technologies.