If it seems like security cameras are following your every move these days, you could be right.

The number of cameras rose exponentially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to more than 30 million in the U.S. alone. And now our pictures are being taken everywhere from store checkout counters, to street corners, to high school hallways. But the cameras aren’t exactly doing what was intended: mainly, catching terrorists. Mostly, they’re being used to find garden-variety criminals and to uncover bad behavior at school and at work. Recently, street camera footage was used to track a missing 8-year-old boy in Brooklyn who was killed while walking home alone. Footage was also used by London police to help them identify looters and rioters during the recent unrest.
But the cameras have privacy advocates worried. They say we’ve become too used to living our lives under watchful eyes. And with facial recognition software now the norm in security cameras, you can be easily identified by your face, and connected to pictures on the internet. And if the information falls into the wrong hands, it raises your our risk of becoming a victim of stalkers and identity thieves.