What would George Orwell make of surveillance we live with today? The "Big Brother" of his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was watching an entire population by mysterious means.

These days there is no mystery involved, and no state control of the cameras. Just about everybody is carrying one, and many are filming anything out of the ordinary they see.

News media are not complaining. Our cameras cannot be everywhere. Many an instant event that would have had to be reported without pictures in past years, is now almost certain to have been caught by someone's smartphone, and quickly posted on the internet. Within minutes it may be shared around the world.

This may be less scary than an all-seeing state but it is just as pervasive.

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Cameras have proliferated today, on car dashboards and around private homes. Our report today says home surveillance systems have dropped in price to the point they can be found in an average house, and smartphones mean owners do not need to engage a monitoring company.

Declines in crime in many countries in recent years are probably attributable to this sort of technology.

Dashcams, we report, are not as popular but often bought by drivers who have been in or near a road accident and wished for evidence of what they had seen. Police are not exactly encouraging the trend because this sort of evidence, posted prematurely, can hinder more than help them.

But like them or not, the ubiquitous cameras are not going away. Be careful, you could be in the shot.