Recently PBS Newshour aired an interesting story on the increasing use of video surveillance in society and the increased push for more security cameras in big cities. In particular, the San Francisco police chief is calling for more real-time monitoring of surveillance cameras throughout the city.
Some groups have expressed concerns about the right to privacy and this raises important questions: Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy in public areas? Should police be allowed to continually monitor any public area in real time? What are the boundary lines that need to be drawn regarding the use of video surveillance by police departments? Just how effective are security cameras at preventing crime? Does the value of video surveillance evidence outweigh privacy concerns?
Video analytics (software algorithms designed to analyze objects in a scene for a while, facial recognition, biometric analysis etc.) are also increasingly being used. Video analytics software company 3VR was interviewed for this story and the capabilities and limitations video analytics were discussed. Video analytics isn’t perfect, but it is constantly being improved to allow for more in-depth analysis of security camera footage.
While security cameras in and of themselves cannot necessarily prevent a crime, the video evidence they provide can be used to solve and prosecute crimes, as well as gather information about criminal activity in an area. However, privacy concerns and the “big brother” creep factor have some people concerned. So what do you think about the increased use of video surveillance by police departments in public areas?
IPVM held an independent presentation at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas during the recent ISC West Conference in April 2013 ISCWest.com . Topics discussed throughout the day included, Panoramic Camera Shootout results, trends in access control, and the outlook on VMS Servers for IP security cameras (Death of VMS Servers Has Begun?).
John and Ian discuss the details of the Panoramic Shootout
As usual, the discussions were detailed and spirited providing detailed information on the cutting edge in the video surveillance world. One highlight of the day, was the discussion of the Panoramic Shootout Results which included performance assessments of Panoramic cameras from a wide variety of manufacturers including Axis, Panasonic, Mobotix, Vivotek, Immervision, Sentry360, Sony and others.
Detailed results of the Panoramic Shootout (as well as honest reviews of many other IP security cameras and related products) are available at the IPVM website: IPVM.com
Membership is required to review the test results and detailed information contained in the report, however, the modest membership fee is well worth the cost for those seeking to get the most out of their investment into IP security camera systems. IPVM also provides excellent training materials for professionals and facilitates outstanding forums where information is cross exchanged among professionals in the security industry. A worthy investment indeed.
Yahoo article regarding home security measures, and yes surveillance cameras are listed as a measure. While security cameras can’t always prevent crime and are by no means foolproof, they can serve as a useful deterrent in some cases and provide evidence in the event that a crime does occur. Furthermore, security cameras can provide useful information about suspicious activity around your house and neighborhood which can then be provided to local police departments so that they can beef up patrols in your area. Read more on home security measures in the article:
FBI has released video surveillance of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing incident. Granted video surveillance isn’t foolproof and both the suspects are wearing baseball caps and one of the suspects is also wearing sunglasses.
However, there are subtle clues that show up on the footage. For example, note the gait of the suspects, in particular suspect #2 wearing the white hat (about 15 seconds into the video) – he has what appears to be a significant bow or curve in his right leg (credit to CNN’s Anderson Cooper who pointed this out). This is a very distinct characteristic, which would be very difficult to conceal in normal daily living:
It is a bit odd that while one of the suspects wears both a cap and sunglasses to obscure his identity, the other only wears a cap without glasses, leaving his face exposed.
The Dept. of Homeland Security U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) is warning users to disable UPnP due to possible security holes that may allow users PCs and network devices such as security cameras etc. to be hijacked remotely. There may be as many as 50 million devices including webcams, security systems etc. that may be vulnerable.
A brutal and seemingly unprovoked attack by a man leaves a woman unconscious on a London sidewalk. Security camera footage shows the man coming up to the woman from behind and unleashing a harsh blow to the side of her head knocking her to the sidewalk and rendering her unconscious.
In Florida a man dubbed “The Neighbor from hell” was caught on security cameras in an act of vandalism. Other acts of vandalism committed by others (who neighbors suspect were hired by the man) were also recorded on security camera systems installed by neighbors during an ongoing dispute. Rest of the story and video at ABC News: