Surveillance culture creating anxiety for Americans

From traffic cameras, to ring cameras, to cell phones – cameras are becoming a routine part of American life.

But a new study’s numbers may shock you.

According to a 2016 Google survey, 1,000 people estimated that they were being recorded about four times a day.

According to, you’re caught on camera almost 240 times a week.

But is all of that security footage making you more secure?

Researchers are looking at how global the surveillance technology has become.

They say that, by 2021, 1 billion security cameras will be filming people worldwide.

Between 10 and 18 percent of those will be in the United State alone.

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Out of the 238 times you’re caught on camera, the study say that 160 of those times, you’re on the road. points to the growing number of cameras at major intersections – something the District is well noted for.

A recent report from a leading tech research firm says D.C. made the list of the top 50 most surveilled cities in the world. 

In fact, on Tuesday, the city council unanimously passed the Vision Zero Omnibus bill – which nearly doubles the number of red-light cameras in D.C. by 2022. 

Lawmakers say increased surveillance and traffic enforcement yields safer streets – but does it in fact make you safer? 

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“It makes the world appear quite creepy going forward,” said Nicol Turner Lee of the Brookings Institute.

Turner-Lee says the added cameras can lead to unfortunate social ills.

“You’ve got to give up something to get what you want out of technology. The more and more we develop these technologies the more likely we are seeing individuals sort of victimized or singled out, or profiled and potentially harmed by what the government knows about our everyday actions,” she said.

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She says the rush to regulate isn’t the answer – missing children and loved ones have been found without the help of security footage.

She says preventing the negative implications from these technologies, however, should be the only thing in focus.

“Have a federal privacy law that allows us to sort of, create the right bargaining agreement with private companies but also we’re aware that this information is publicly disclosed to us when we’re being videotaped or filmed,” Turner-Lee said. “Most of us know that we’re being taped or profiled, we just don’t know where and I think that’s what gets us a little worried about the state of surveillance.”

Researchers say that, by next year, only China will have more surveillance cameras than the U.S. when there will be one camera for every 4.6 Americans.