The need for advanced technology in the fight against crime and acts of terror both on the domestic and international scale is an urgent one (Bradley, 2004). As such, it is important that security agencies adopt new technologies to make their work effective given that with time criminals are coming up with their own new ways to avoid detection and so escape capture. However, there ought to be a balance between the need for enhanced security and that of the ethical and constitutional rights of the target population.
This paper discusses some critical issues surrounding camera and wiretap surveillance, as well as fingerprint and palm print technology. Fingerprint and Palm print Technology Fingerprint and palm print technologies are identical processes of criminal identification where the fingerprints and palm prints of suspects are collected and compared with the fingerprints and palm prints of past criminals or criminal suspects stored in databases on law enforcement agencies specifically for the purpose of reference (Solove, 2006).
This technology utilizes the fact that fingerprints and palm prints are unique to every individual and so no two individuals can have a similar pattern of fingerprints or palm prints (Solove, 2006). It is also based on the fact that palm print and fingerprint patterns never change over time. Advantages The main advantage of this technology is that it is highly effective and reliable. It is also cheaper and does not infringe on the privacy of people. Disadvantages
It is very difficult to compare fingerprints and palm prints of many people. In addition, keeping records of fingerprints is not easy due to possible losses. Finally, it takes a lot of time to prove offences have been committed through use of the technology. Effects on Due Process The technology does not contravene the rights of the people because taking fingerprints and palm prints can be done legally by law enforcers. However, the keeping of databases of such prints has often been challenged by human rights groups (Solove, 2006).
Effects of Advances on Criminal Justice As far as the criminal justice system is concerned, fingerprint and palm print technology is fast owing to its ability to effectively help fight crime. For instance, the delays in gathering intelligence forces many suspects to be released because they cannot be detained beyond certain time limits without charging them in a court of law (Petersen, 2007). Therefore, the technology does not favor the criminal justice system. Findings and Recommendations
It is found that although this technology is reliable and less controversial, it is rather slow and needs to be used alongside other technologies (Petersen, 2007). Otherwise, the entire process needs to be automated so that fingerprints and palm prints can be collected from people electronically with or without their knowledge so that by the time a suspect is arrested, the fingerprints and palm prints are already available and have been compared. Only then can the criminal justice process as well as the due process be speeded up. Camera and Wiretap Surveillance
Camera surveillance is a technology where surveillance cameras are hidden in locations from where they can record and help monitor the actions of the people in those locations without their knowledge. Wiretap surveillance entails the secret intercepting and recording of telephone or internet communication between two people by law enforcement agencies without the knowledge of those people (Bradley, 2004). Advantages Camera and wiretap surveillance are ideal for gathering intelligence where it would be difficult or even impossible for security agents to reach physically.
That aside, the technology is very effective as it offers undisputable evidence for crimes committed. In addition, both technologies do not interfere at all with the normal functions of the public and only requires a limited number of personnel to monitor the cameras or to record the conversations. Disadvantages The first disadvantage is that the technology infringes on the privacy of the people and contravenes statutory law. The technology is also ethically and morally insensitive as in certain cases the information and activities that get recorded are from people who are not at all involved in crime.
Finally, the effectiveness of the technology is dependent on the availability of good infrastructure. Otherwise they might not function. In essence, it is costly to use the technology. Effects on Due Process This technology contravenes the privacy rights of people and so infringes their constitutional right to privacy and constitutes unusual treatment (Hoffmann, 2006). The Wiretap Act is contravened when the technology is applied for domestic surveillance. Effects of Advances on Criminal Justice
The technology is very effective in criminal surveillance and so a great boost to the criminal justice system. Through its use, more evidence can be gathered easily and prosecutions can be carried out faster. The technology also allows for the prosecution of more suspects (Petersen, 2007). Findings and Recommendations The technology has proven to be effective and highly reliable. It is what is needed in this age and time when criminals are becoming increasingly elusive through use of technology. The only major challenge that needs correction is to technology’s infringement on the privacy of the people.
What ought to be done is to have a constitutional amendment to give law enforcement agencies the right to use the technology legally (Hoffmann, 2006). Word count: 872 References Bradley, R. (2004). Science, technology, and criminal justice. Peter Lang Hoffmann, P. (2006). Intelligence support systems: technologies for lawful intercepts. CRC Press Petersen, J. K. (2007). Understanding Surveillance Technologies: Spy Devices, Privacy, History, & Applications. CRC Press Solove, D. J. (2006). Privacy, information, and technology. Aspen Publishers Online