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Security Cameras Part Of Daily Life Since 9/11

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A street surveillance camera seen on top of a light pole along a Chicago street (Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A street surveillance camera seen on top of a light pole along a Chicago street (Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Dana Kozlov Dana Kozlov
Dana Kozlov is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – There a few life-changing events in our lives. No question, 9/11 was one of them.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports on how even a simple stroll into work is different than it was a decade ago.

It’s one thing to walk through the doors of your office and scan an ID card. But once inside the CBS 2 lobby, visitors are immediately watched by three surveillance cameras.

It’s a daily reminder that, nowadays, you can bet someone is always watching, from almost any angle. But is that always a good thing?

Security checks to get into government buildings; shoes off and bodies scanned at airports; the ever present camera – this is life as we know it now. But some may actually forget a mere decade ago, it wasn’t like this at all.

The devastating terrorist attacks altered the way this county views and executes security.

American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Ed Yohnka calls it “The Surveillance Society,” thanks in part to the Patriot Act, which allows the government access to “telephone conversations, email traffic, text messages, website visits of every person in the United States of America.”

“They aren’t always exercising it, but they have the capacity to do it and then search through that for key words that they can use for further investigations,” he added.

But former White House Homeland Security liaison Jake Braun said that 9/11 spawned another all-access movement, too – one connecting law enforcement agency information from the federal government on down.

“Just getting people on the same communication systems, there’s been a huge push on that in the last 10 years,” he said. “That wouldn’t, certainly not have happened at the rate it did, had 9/11 not happened.”

Both, he believes, provide essential tools in this still new age of fighting global – and especially domestic – terrorism.

“Of course there’s gonna be this constant back-and-forth between civil liberties concerns and having safety for our public,” Braun said. “I think that fight is healthy and needs to go on and both sides need to fight vigorously about the issue and it’s the only way that we’re going to remain both free and safe.”

But Yohnka said, “We don’t ever have what people refer to as sort of that open, fulsome, adult conversation about whether or not these are appropriate measures.”

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, when it comes to security cameras, most experts agree they’re not going away.

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