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Young boy with magnifying glassThe quality of CCTV cameras raises questions of privacy. The integrators fear that this will limit planned projects. Israeli companies who plan to participate in international tenders for surveillance systems say they are worried from public reactions.

According to press reports, surveillance cameras are now so powerful they are able to zoom in and read text messages. As well as being advanced enough to close in on an individual’s phone screen, security cameras will soon be able to pick up voices.

In a recent conference in New Zealand, it was disclosed that the average person is digitally recorded about a dozen times a day. An example brought before the participants – During last year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – CCTV cameras focused in on the crowd of thousands to read the text message on people phones.

As part of extensive police monitoring during the tournament, camera operators scanned the spectators looking for suspicious looking packages and aggressive behavior.

They then chose to zoom in on one man who was texting – although it turned out he was simply writing about the poor quality of the rugby match. Experts warned regarding the fact that the cameras were able to do this, raises concerns about breeches of individual’s privacy.

The conference also discussed how technological developments meant that cameras will soon be able to pick up on raised voices and sniffing devices will be able to detect drug residue.

Cameras are commonplace on streets, public transport, shopping malls, hospitals and public buildings. In the decade after the 9/11 attacks the amount of surveillance cameras across the U.S soared by about 30 million. Figures show that the number of cameras in some areas of Manhattan increased by more than four hundred percent between 1998 and 2005.

Across the pond, Britain is notorious for the high amount of cameras installed, with an estimate of two million cameras across the country.