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Surveillance of the public using CCTV is common in many areas around the world. In recent years, the use of body worn video cameras has been introduced as a new form of surveillance, often used in law enforcement, with cameras located on a police officer's chest or head.

Video surveillance has generated significant debate about balancing its use with individuals' right to privacy even when in public.

In industrial plants, CCTV equipment may be used to observe parts of a process from a central control room, for example when the environment is not suitable for humans. CCTV systems may operate continuously or only as required to monitor a particular event.

A more advanced form of CCTV, utilizing digital video recorders (DVRs), provides recording for possibly many years, with a variety of quality and performance options and extra features (such as motion detection and email alerts).