Surveillance Day

Every August 16th is observed as Surveillance Day. This holiday encourages people to think about and debate the use of surveillance cameras in public spaces. Over the past few decades, the use of cameras in public spaces has risen exponentially, which has created somewhat of a mixed blessing.

In one way, it’s good because more criminal activity is being captured, and it’s increasingly used as evidence against people who have broken the law. On the other hand, surveillance cameras have somewhat reduced our ability to remain anonymous in public and have raised privacy concerns for the general public.

The History of Surveillance Day

The first mechanical CCTV system was developed by Leon Theremin in 1927. He created a system that was originally required by the Soviet Bureau of Labor and Defense.

This system had a manually-operated camera and a wireless shortwave transmitter and receiver. It was installed in the courtyard of the Moscow Kremlin as a way to monitor people approaching. Nazi Germany also developed its own CCTV system that was installed to observe the launch of V-2 rockets.

Over the years, CCTV systems began to improve, and this is when they began to show up just about everywhere. Today, they are used for preventing and solving crimes. Surveillance systems are also used on body-worn video cameras that help to keep law enforcement accountable, and there are systems that are installed to monitor traffic flow.

Unfortunately, those aren’t the only places where surveillance cameras are now being used. Surveillance Day was created several years ago as Wave at Surveillance Cameras Day to encourage all of us to think about the widespread use of surveillance cameras and their impact on our civil liberties.

Although no one is expected to solve all of the issues surrounding surveillance cameras, the least we can do is consider the long-reaching implications of the widespread use of surveillance cameras across our urban landscapes. In 2018, the name of this holiday was shortened to Surveillance Cameras Day.

Observing Surveillance Day

People can use this holiday to debate the issue of surveillance cameras, or they can take a moment to install surveillance cameras in their homes for their protection as well as the protection of their property.

People can also spread the news about this holiday online using the hashtag #SurveillanceDay on social media. No matter what side a person falls on the issue of the widespread use of surveillance cameras, they can take the time to share their opinion and contribute to the national debate. And this day is the perfect day to do just that.

When is it?
This year (2024)
August 16 Friday
Next year (2025)
August 16 Saturday
Last year (2023)
August 16 Wednesday
Activity & Action