Friday, August 19, 2011

10 Ethical Problems With a Web Cam in your Home

Web cams are being set up in many homes for a variety of reasons. Many home security systems utilize webcams to allow the owners to have a visual view into their home while they’re away. However, the ease of use of this technology can easily be turned into abuse. There has been a growing problem with unethical uses of web cams in the home.

  1. Guests – When guests are in your home, whether for a short visit or a longer stay, they may assume a certain amount of privacy. To be recording their actions and speech, whether in the public or private rooms of your home, could be quite disconcerting to them. To publish them on the internet without their knowledge or approval would be scandalous.
  2. Nannies – Installing a web cam to monitor a nanny’s care of your children could easily be justified by most parents. However, the temptation to video more than is necessary or appropriate could raise some serious ethical and legal issues.
  3. Service techs – This is another situation where a homeowner might feel fully justified in having a web cam turned on in their home. Service techs often are working in a home without direct supervision. A web cam could provide a watchful eye on these ‘strangers’. What you catch on video and what exposure you give to that video is where your ethics need to come into play.
  4. Spouse – You may have vowed for better or worse, but no mention of hidden web cams was included in your marital vows. I’m quite certain of that. To ‘spy’ on your spouse, even in your own home, will definitely create a lack of trust, at the very minimum.
  5. Children – Web cams are not just video cameras, they are video cameras that are connected to the internet. The possibility that you might allow access to video of your children, that might be embarrassing or harmful to them, has some serious ethical implications.
  6. Neighbors – Neighbors can come knocking on our door for any number of reasons, positive and negative. Most neighbors would consider it a serious intrusion into their privacy if they discovered that you had a web cam focused on them while they were at your front door and standing inside of your home.
  7. Extended family – Parents, siblings and other extended family members are also likely to be frequent visitors to our homes. When we’re in the home of ‘family’, we tend to relax and may say and do things we wouldn’t in other circumstances. To record those family members, while they visit in your home, could potentially endanger your family relationships.
  8. Yourself? The web cam is set up, recording and transmitting onto the internet. What exactly are you capturing and displaying, and who is it being seen by? Children and teenagers have stumbled across all manner of nudity and sexual behavior by adults choosing to broadcast through their web cams. You have limited control over who views what you put into cyberspace.
  9. Informed consent – The first large issue with having a web cam in your home is informed consent. Do the people who come into your home know that they are being recorded by a web cam, and have they given you permission to video them? It is your home, but that doesn’t make it right to capture their image without their knowing it.
  10. Sharing – The second issue with a web cam is the sharing of what has been captured by the camera. Even with still pictures, you do not have the right to use photos of individuals in whatever manner you please. This is true of video as well. Before sharing a video on the internet with anyone else, you should have the express permission of all the persons in the video itself.

Web cams can be great fun and be used for many good purposes. Be sure that you consider your purpose and intent before setting one up in your home.

Taken From Nanny Jobs

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