By Nicole Courtemanche
Scopophobia: The Fear of Always Being Seen
The year was 1984 when the anxious words of singer Kennedy Gordy aka Rockwell cried out that he was merely, ” … an average man with an average life. I work nine to five, hey, hell I pay the price. All I want is to be left alone in my average home. But why do I always feel like I’m in the twilight zone and … ?” To which the infamous Michael Jackson hooked a distressing chorus of, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me! And I have no privacy!”
Admittedly, in the year 1984, I started the third grade. The only anxiety my parents gifted me was trying to figure out a Rubik’s cube—look it up kids! I still do not know how to solve one of those darned things! However, the fear of always being seen turns out to be an actual psychological and scientific accepted phobia called scopophobia. According to Psychology Today, “Expand the fear of being seen by those whom we see seeing us to include the even-more-irrational fear that we are always seen, everywhere, even when alone.”
The ’80s—the 1980s for those kids who only remember the ’00s as in 2000s—was not the only decade to be noted for it’s heightened levels of irrational fear and anxiety. In 1948, George Orwell wrote the classic novel we were all assigned to read in the American school system, Nineteen Eighty-Four in which the plot follows a regime centered on mass surveillance. Orwell, named the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four primarily because it was a future, far-off year but also because it was his present double-digit year turned around from ’48 to ’84. Go ahead, kids—impress your English teacher with that exciting little tidbit!
The CPDI HEROES of Security and Surveillance
In the context of the years 1948 and 1984, there was a very significant war that occurred during the span of those 40+ years—The Cold War. The war that birthed spy movies with gadgets and gizmos that aided them to fight “bad guys”. One of the first tasks that a spy would do on a “job” is block any live watching cameras so nothing they were doing could be captured. The last thing a spy wants is their identity blown! Those spies, the guys and gals fighting for the good of all the people within their country were always considered our … HEROES.
Folks far and wide … I give you our very own security and surveillance experts, or dare I say our unsung CPDI HEROES, or better yet—and more exact—our beloved “Spies Like Us” … Torben Bernfeld and Eric Colby. They acquired all their “expertise” somehow—and in my mind—it was a very, very, long, long time ago, when I believe they were trained as professional war spies. What?! It could have happened … at the very least they certainly know how to jam a camera!
Kidding aside, Torben and Eric have a combined 60+ years of experience within the discipline of security. When you receive a security job proposal from me, more than likely I went onsite with Torben to estimate the job and Eric wrote the scope of work. Here are some connectivity pointers that I learned while working with Eric and Torben regarding security cameras and their design and layout.
Position and View for a good POV
As anyone knows in the current age of well-placed and filtered selfies, a camera overlooking a commercial building exterior and interior is all about the camera type, install and mount for a good positioning where you can capture activity, faces, and in some cases even license plates.
Camera system types: Analog vs. Digital
An analog camera system changes a video signal from the camera so it can be received by a monitor which plays live and is recorded by a DVR or digital video recorder for a specified length of time.
A digital security camera solution or IP cameras offer the latest technological breakthroughs in surveillance. Digital cameras offer high resolution video. This means the Point-of-View (POV) can accommodate facial recognition, license plate recognition, and the capacity to zoom out over distances. The solution is usually connected to a monitor and a network video recorder (NVR) to record everything captured by the IP cameras.
Questions to answer for us so we are “In the (Project) Know” for a good POV:
• Do you need indoor or outdoor cameras?
• Day or night cameras? Thermal or infrared?
• Do you need a panoramic view?
• What shape will best suit your needs? Box, Turret, or Dome?
• What do you need recorded? Are there any rooms or areas on your premises that house valuables?
• Do you have any public or employee areas that are high traffic?
• Can you currently view your cameras on your mobile device, anytime or anywhere?
• What type of wiring do you have that can be reused or will you need infrastructure to support a new camera system?
Do you need a wireless solution?
Fast forward to today, and Mr. Gordy and Mr. Orwell were correct. We are watched all the time. In the drive-thru there is a camera at your face level, at a supermarket look up at the ceiling tiles and you will see a few digital cameras right by or over an exit sign. Look by your employee time clock at work, on a light post at the mall parking lot, or even in retail public restrooms. In the pandemic especially where buildings are not as populated, security camera systems are a necessity.
I do feel terribly for those that now suffer from scopophobia, but the fact of the matter is that bad things happen to good people and bad things also happen to good companies, and we are so very lucky to have the CPDI Heroes of Security and Surveillance, Eric and Torben, at your disposal to call to duty where and when they will help to design your security camera system and capture it all for your ultimate safety and defense.
Call us. Email us. We are here to help with any of the needs-based assessment questions listed. Always, always remember that Standards Matter … they really, really do.
Until next time when we will cover Wireless Connectivity – How Cardi B inadvertently ruined a perfectly acceptable technology equipment acronym … 4EVA.