These animal-shaped security cameras are watching you

April 2, 2014

Security cameras are everywhere these days: in parks, schools, hospitals, restaurants, even on city streets. A recent report on design-y security cameras brings attention to this reality. With their cartoonish animal shapes, the cameras are meant to lend a certain cheeriness to the idea of being watched whenever you venture out in public.

Making reference to Orwell’s “1984,” this report also reminds readers that such omnipresent surveillance wasn’t always the norm. Certainly life wasn’t like this in years leading up to and including 1984. There are, of course, solid arguments both for and against it. Pro: Security cameras can help prevent crimes and catch criminals. Con: Well, not all people like their privacy invaded by subversive, 24-7 monitoring.

From Digital Trends.

Whimsical security cameras by Parson, an Italian design studio. From Digital Trends.

The look of the new security cameras, by Parson, an Italian design studio, is definitely appealing. They come in several designs, including a parrot, squirrel, grasshopper, owl, and seagull (as prototypes; there’s no indication they’ll ever actually make it to the market). The artistry alone makes them appear much friendlier than a run-of-the-mill camera with its cold, black stare. In fact, they’re so charming you can almost imagine them being marketed exclusively to children’s venues.

Which is interesting because kids probably worry the least of all of us about scary-looking cameras following our every move.

To today’s seven-year-old, security cameras are a familiar and friendly sight even without a cute-sy design. A child can pick out security cameras where adults don’t notice them. A child will smile and wave at the blinking light. Children are used to seeing security cameras at schools, libraries and other locations they frequent and consider only the easy truth that they’re there to protect us.

A squirrel-shaped security camera.

A squirrel-shaped security camera. From Digital Trends.

It’s the adults who worry about other truths: that security cameras invade our privacy, collect too much unnecessary information, or could be used as a means of taking away freedom rather than protecting it.

There’s no easy answer when it comes to broad surveillance—especially when you consider that despite the troubling aspects of this trend, security cameras have played major roles in capturing criminals — They’re one reason the Boston Marathon bombers were identified and apprehended so quickly.

In any case, there’s no stopping it at this point. Like it or not, security cameras are a part of our world. A friendly, modern design could help put those most disturbed by this trend at ease.

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Category: Surveillance

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