Public Opinion on Surveillance and Security

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 27, 2009

The following update catalogs and analyzes 3 surveys on public opinion toward surveillance and security. The responses vary based significantly on the country surveyed and the framing of the questions in each survey.

Unisys Security Index

Twice a year, Unisys releases survey results of security attitudes for various countries including Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, UK and the US.

The most recent global report (Dec 2008) found that security concerns were highest in Brazil, Hong Kong, Germany and Malaysia. The lowest security concerns were found in The Netherlands, France, Belgium and Italy. 

National security was ranked as a top 3 concern by only 7 of the 15 countries surveyed. Bankcard fraud and identity theft were consistently ranked as higher security concerns.

For specific countries, the US rated national security significantly higher than the global average (161 for the US vs 131 globally - out of 250 point scale). Brazil's concerns over national security were even higher than the US (175 but trending down from over 200 in previous years).

Harris Online Poll

The most favorable and almost controversial is the BRS Labs funded Harris Online poll. This poll claims that "96 Percent of Americans Support Uses of Video Surveillance to Counteract Terrorism" and more amazingly that "Four out of five adults feel that in extreme cases,such as a terrorist attack, the government should be able to use any available means to protect citizens" [emphasis mine].

However, a Canadian research critiqued this survey by examining the details of the actual response. The phrasing of the questions encourage favorable responses to the use of video surveillance. For instance, questions included: "The federal government should be able to utilize video surveillance as long as my personal privacy is not invaded" and "Which of the following areas, if any, do you think should be monitored by video surveillance in an effort to help protect U.S. citizens." Both questions minimizing privacy concerns and emphasizing helping US citizens.

The Canadian researcher also noted that in the survey, support for surveillance in many areas were far weaker than the overall 96% claim. For instance, support  for surveillance in Public schools/Universities:53%, playgrounds: 39%, businesses: 32% and local neighborhoods: 22%.

UK Big Brother Watch Poll

Big Brother Watch, a group that campaigns against surveillance, commissioned its own survey.

79% somewhat or strongly agreed that "our freedoms are being eroded by a Big Brother State."

16% somewhat or strongly supported "the use of Closed Circuit Television cameras that can record your conversations." 

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Statistics

Uniview / UNV Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 12, 2019
Uniview / UNV, the self-proclaimed #3 China manufacturer, while starting late, has been working to make inroads internationally. In IPVM's 2019...
FLIR Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 08, 2019
FLIR has had a challenging past few years including FLIR Security business struggling, FLIR restructuring their security division and FLIR selling...
Sony Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 05, 2019
Sony Favorability amongst integrators improved moderately compared to their 2017 favorability results, with a modest net positive...
Vivotek Favorability Report 2019 on Jan 29, 2019
Taiwanese video surveillance manufacturers, even relatively large ones like Vivotek, have lost ground in the PRC-China-driven race to the bottom....
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Jan 28, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Genetec Favorability Report 2019 on Jan 25, 2019
Genetec's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2017, with 2019 results showing solid, but...
Bosch Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 23, 2019
Bosch's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2017, with 2019 results showing strong net...
Milestone Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 21, 2019
Milestone's favorability moderately strengthed, in new IPVM integrator statistics over their results from 2016. While the industry has been...
Exacq Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 17, 2019
Exacq favorability amongst integrators has declined sharply, in new IPVM statistics, compared to 2017 IPVM statistics for Exacq. Now, over 5 since...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hanwha Smaller Multi Imager Tested (PNM-9000VQ) on Feb 14, 2019
Hanwha's first repositionable multi imager PNM-9081VQ tested well, but was huge, over 12" wide and weighing in at over 10 pounds. Now, they have...
ADT And 'The Defenders' Silent About Massive Complaints on Feb 14, 2019
ADT's largest dealer, "The Defenders" has been the subject of a massive number of complaints over many years and many forums, most recently a CBS...
Hikvision Chairman Praises United Front on Feb 14, 2019
Hikvision’s controlling shareholder held a meeting last month praising the United Front, a Communist Party organization known for its secretive...
Sales Turnover At Anyvision on Feb 13, 2019
Anyvision raised a $43 million Series A and according to their newest investor: what you need to do is push the gas pedal and build an...
Cisco Meraki Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on Feb 13, 2019
Cisco Meraki says their cameras "bring Meraki magic to the enterprise video security world". According to Meraki, their magic is their management...
Uniview / UNV Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 12, 2019
Uniview / UNV, the self-proclaimed #3 China manufacturer, while starting late, has been working to make inroads internationally. In IPVM's 2019...
Nortek Mobile Access Reader BluePass Examined on Feb 12, 2019
Nortek's Linear access control division claims to make mobile credentials "more secure and easier to use than ever before" with their BluePass...
Solink Raises $16 Million - Company Profile on Feb 12, 2019
Most industry professionals have never heard of Solink, a company whose tagline is: It's time to revolutionize the way business uses...
Barnes Buchanan 2019: Despite 'Strange Narrative' Great Time To Be In Security on Feb 11, 2019
A "strange narrative" is being spun, said Michael Barnes at the 2019 Barnes Buchanan Conference. However, despite that narrative, it is a "great...
Milestone Drops Hikvision From Elite Partners on Feb 11, 2019
Milestone has quietly dropped Hikvision from their 'Elite Partners', less than 3 years after adding the Chinese government-owned...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact