Reviews

Hidden Cameras

Last year, the Care Quality Commission issued guidance to families on using hidden cameras if they are concerned that their relatives are being abused or receiving poor care. Filming in care settings has also resulted in high profile prosecutions, and numerous TV documentaries. Joe Plomin, the author, was the undercover producer who exposed the abuse at Winterbourne View, near Bristol, in 2011

Last year, the Care Quality Commission issued guidance to families on using hidden cameras if they are concerned that their relatives are being abused or receiving poor care. Filming in care settings has also resulted in high profile prosecutions, and numerous TV documentaries. Joe Plomin, the author, was the undercover producer who exposed the abuse at Winterbourne View, near Bristol, in 2011.

Hidden Cameras is eminently readable and takes you through the history of undercover reporting, what equipment to use, and the ethical and moral issues that are raised when secretly filming vulnerable people and their carers. The section on what to do with footage obtained by secret filming is particularly thought-provoking. Covert filming is always a last resort that families feel they have reached when their concerns about quality of care have not been addressed.

The author concludes that advances in technology mean small wireless devices can be used to conduct secret filming almost anywhere. The potential to prevent wrongdoing and protect from harm could be significant, but the moral and ethical challenges do not change. When, for instance, is it justifiable to invade someone’s privacy? What are the risks?

This is an excellent book written by someone who has been instrumental in the use of undercover cameras and secret filming. This subject is here to stay, and we need to understand and debate its use.

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