Monday, July 03, 2006

Quote of the Day, and Surveillance Predictions

First up, as the debate over how long suspects can be detained for is resurrected, Tony McNulty gets quoted by the BBC in a way that makes me chuckle:

"Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said he welcomed the committee's report, but not the "severity of any criticism"."

Looks like the case for extending the 28 day detention period is "building" (i.e. more people are more afraid), with the report saying (according to the article) "such measures would have helped in cases such as the recent anti-terror raid in Forest Gate, east London." Don't forget that locking everyone up would be a pretty good way of clamping down on terrorism too, though.

Once again we get back to the issue of data overload, and our ability to generate mountains of the stuff but not sift through it. The same issue is inherent in CCTV's design - more cameras (to deter people, or to make people feel safer) and - so long as people are there to direct them at incidents - instant image capture. But for those cameras which get stored straight to film or hard drive, someone has to go through all that footage once something has happened.

The solutions to this problem are many, but the only ones to be considered will be the ones involving more technology - facial recognition, gait recognition, increased identification and tracking, etc. The "cutting edge" at the moment is the move towards "distributed" monitoring, i.e. getting residents to either report incidents or to watch over the footage in real time. Expect this to extend to residents being allowed to playback footage to recover scenes that have already been stored.

Also expect some research to start surfacing in "trouble recognition" (at least, I haven't seen any yet...) - that is, the automatic identification of movement indicating a problem, such as people swinging limbs "violently", erratic movement of 2 or more bodies simultaneously (hmmm, ambiguous) and anything out of the "ordinary". "Keep on walking and you won't look suspicious..."


Lastly, I'll apologise quickly for the lack of updates here. Real life is pretty busy with holidays and studies, and a lot of thought is going elsewhere. I'm also getting a little sick of just ranting - and oft repeating myself - and I wonder if efforts aren't better off directed elsewhere. Still, it keeps me sane (just) so while updates may be infrequent, they will still occur.

Out.

1 comment:

Watching Them, Watching Us said...

The "cutting edge" at the moment is the move towards "distributed" monitoring, i.e. getting residents to either report incidents or to watch over the footage in real time. Expect this to extend to residents being allowed to playback footage to recover scenes that have already been stored.

Every gang of street muggers, burglars and drug dealers will also be able to use such a system to track potential victims and to keep a look out for the Police or rival gangs etc.

"Also expect some research to start surfacing in "trouble recognition" (at least, I haven't seen any yet...) - that is, the automatic identification of movement indicating a problem, such as people swinging limbs "violently","

There has already been some research commissioned by the Police into trying to automatically classify CCTV footage to highlight "stabbing" or "kicking" motions.