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The Future of Video Surveillance 38

An anonymous reader writes ""In heavily monitored London, England...the average person is filmed by more than 300 cameras each day." Technology Review outlines what we can expect from the eye in the sky in the near future."
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The Future of Video Surveillance

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  • by reinard ( 105934 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @10:19PM (#5533855)
    Actually the pictures taken by cameras for running red lights are oftentimes so bad that you cannot tell who's driving the car. Think about it: reflections from the window, the upper portion of the window is tinted more often than not, the window isn't straight so the distortians aren't symmetric, people usually look at the road, not the cameras overhead, headlights, weather etc. What they can usually see is the license plate, and that because it has a special coating that makes it highly reflective, and there are laws requiring you to illuminate it on your car. The rest of the picture is more of a: oh-yeah-it's-the-right-make-and-model-and-that-som ewhat-looks-like-a-middle-aged-man-driving. Also the 3d face fingerprint needs special equipment that takes pictures from more than one angle at the same time, ie something that will virtually never happen with traffic cameras.
  • by reinard ( 105934 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @10:29PM (#5533897)
    I think you're forgetting that when you walk out in PUBLIC (it's called that for a reason) you are no longer PRIVATE. Anybody walking around, driving by etc, can see you, identify you, take pictures of you - whatever. Just because a technical device that produces images of you to protect you from thieves or idiots running red lights sees you, does not mean you're being investigated. In fact I bet you there are a lot of women out there who don't mind being watched by a camera in a parking lot just 'walking to their car'. Sure who want's to constantly be under surveillance, but then again remember, we ALL have those little things that we do but aren't supposed to. If they witness them on everyone, they still can't do anything about it. If you have a problem with being seen in public, don't go there. Basic privacy is and should be a right. In your home, in your car, in your clothes. And you should have the freedom to express yourself any way you want. That doesn't mean you have the right to remain anonymous at all times. You've never had it, and you'll never get it.
  • by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Monday March 17, 2003 @10:39PM (#5533942) Homepage
    As David Brin said, the cameras are coming whether we like it or not. The only question is who gets to use them. Would you rather all the feeds went to police HQ where we can only hope they make good use of them, or should they instead be available for everyone to see?
  • by Onassis ( 445423 ) <michaelkozubal@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @12:56AM (#5534565)
    I guess the only bad part would be if they could automate the monitoring and build huge databases. But it's a long way (and an expensive one at that) down the road...

    Despite automated monitoring being a long way down the road, someone should still try to prevent it. This should be fought so that it doesn't become legal because it isn't explicitly illegal.

    Not that it matters, because unless there are powerfull (read: rich) people reading /., then legislation will continue along the lines of their interests...

  • by vinsci ( 537958 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2003 @07:11AM (#5535504) Journal
    It's not as simple as that, I'm afraid. If the public can use the cameras and they show events in real time, then someone could place a bomb and make it detonate at the "right" moment. Delaying the video has its own set of problems.

    The reasons we have surveillance cameras is, I guess, that they are cost effective. I don't see them going away (politically, there will always be something more pressing to spend money on, or so it will be argued).

    But in the tradition of Juvenal, how about monitoring cameras and microphones on each and every person who monitors the surveillance cameras, with public access?

    "Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes."

    -- Juvenal (ca 60 bis 130 n.C.), Sat. 6, 347

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court