Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Are You Being Watched?

New Scientist put up an interesting post earlier today about how a group of Scientist are trying to develop a smart CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) system that is capable of spotting suspicious people.  Now this might be a bit alarming given the fact that some people are not comfortable with the current CCTV systems.  CCTV systems are often considered to be an invasion of privacy, but there is no denying the fact that they can help to catch criminals and help in the detection of potention problems.

CCTV systems aren't perfect however, given the fact that an operator needs to be able to discern from what they are seeing, whether or not something is going on.  That is where this new smart CCTV system comes in.  With this new CCTV system, operators will be able to track targets between cameras, as well as, (if it works right) be able to spot suspicious people independently of an operator.

If this new smart system is able to work as promised, it would be pretty big deal for security.  I worked some years ago as a security guard, and I can remember how hard it was to spot if anything suspicious was going on from watching the cameras.  Security Guards are often times confronted with walls of monitors, which are hard to monitor consistently given your other duties.  So any system that can make monitoring the cameras easier would be a big help.

As for what people will make of these new systems.  I'm not sure.  Some people will certainly not be happy given the fact that this new system now gives operates an easier way to monitor people.  But, I personally welcome them.  In public I don't feel that I have any reasonable expectation for privacy, since everyone on the street can see what I'm doing.  So if it helps to get the crimials of the street I'm all for it.

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