“Sousveillance” – A Look Into the Future of Surveillance 3

The future of surveillance is going to bring about many new technological adaptations, this much is evident from existing trends in the industry. What is in store for us can be seen in tech journals around the world. Many proponents of the concept of “sousveillance” believe that it is going to be the future trend in the surveillance industry. The term, deriving from the French root words meaning roughly “the see from below”, was coined by computational photographer and inventor Steve Mann. Mann feels that as technology progresses and gets more affordable for everybody, people should start archiving records of daily events themselves. A move that does not seem very far-fetched when products like Google Glass lie just on the horizon.

Last year Google made a huge splash in many industries by unveiling their concept product video for the Google Glass. Effectively making reality out of concepts Steve Mann was predicting would become common place in society since the early 1980’s. Everyday people recording the events around them constantly is not the extent of Mann’s theory. According to the tenured, engineering professor technologies that would allow the human eye itself to be used as a recording device are a very real concept. In fact, the first successful tests on that very technology were done back in 1999 by UC Berkeley researchers; just imagine what is being developed now!

The implications of “augmented reality” technology being implemented into society are mind numbing. No longer will camera and recording devices be stuck in static locations. No longer will systems be limited by placement issues at all! For example, a wearable camera system is already invaluable to technicians installing surveillance systems, due to the fact that they can be used to find the best area of placement for the cameras before they are installed- enabling the technician to find the best placement for the camera, and notice any potential obstructions in the future.

Wearable sousveillance equipment enables the everyday person to make a personal record from a first person perspective. Incidents such as the Paris McDonalds restaurant employee assaulting an American tourist who took a photo of the menu are prompting many ordinary people to consider using their own recording devices as a means of counteracting the foreboding thought of institutional surveillance. In response many corporate policies have been put into place prohibiting customers from recording audio or video from locations. A measure many people feel is invasive and one-sided. The sentiment being, “why is it okay for an establishment to record and individual but not be subject to the inverse”?

Another current issue involving surveillance technology is the feeling of  “invasion of privacy” institutional surveillance fosters in public places. The thought of authorities being able to monitor from a distance just about everything in a given area does not sit well with some people. Proponents of the Sousveillance movement feel that it will serve to counteract the ominous and ever increasing surveillance revolution; giving power back to those who are the subjects of one-sided recording by authorities. The American Civil Liberties Union is attempting to get actual laws in place that would govern appropriate use of recording devices, both publicly and privately. It is not an issue of if these laws will be enacted but when and how.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrating Google Glass.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrating Google Glass.

Publicly announced technologies in development (like Google Glass) have drawn numerous concerns, and some outright dissent, on the internet and in the main stream news media. From the technology being supposed “vaporwear” to some  insisting that this technology will never see a commercial launch or will be used by authorities against the population far before becoming commercially available. Regardless of where you many stand on the debate, the fact remains, augmented reality technologies will drastically change not only the surveillance industry, but our daily lives as well. Currently, 2MCCTV does offer portable DVRs that could be used for the purposes of sousveillance on a personal level.


  1. Wow! Google Glass is futuristic and makes my home surveillance system seem boring. Perhaps more innovative security cameras will be released for home systems.


    Cody Gabriel
  2. By consulting to the right cctv camera installer we might have the right systems will be use in our environment and can certainly protect your family and your belongings.

  3. Mobile phones with cameras help greatly in spreading information thus helping sousveillance.

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