Scientists in the UK are advancing new smart CCTV technology capable of identifying and locking on to criminals or potential criminals. The system, under development at Kingston University, employs artificial intelligence to be able to recognise unusual behaviour and can track individual subjects across more than one camera at a time.
While privacy protestors have expressed concern over the way this highly-advanced technology could be deployed, those behind its creation are adamant that it would give security officers a novel way of isolating potential threats from a sea of innocent bystanders.
The system effectively teaches a linked computer how to identify particular forms of so-called trigger events. "In riot situations, it could be people running - a crowd might converge in a certain place", Kingston University's Doctor James Orwell explained, adding: "If somebody pulls out a gun, people tend to run in all sorts of directions. These movements can be detected."
Smart CCTV Criminal ID
Once the technology has established that a trigger event has taken place, it pulls together earlier footage of the subject, before going on to record more.
This smart CCTV criminal identification process therefore provides a comprehensive record of his/her actions over a wide timeframe.
In further comments, Doctor Orwell supplied a example of how this technique could work, in practice."If a window was smashed and shop looted in a town centre street, the technology would trace back to see who smashed the window and then retrace his steps to see when and where he entered the town centre", he said.
"The technology would also trace where the man had gone after leaving the scene."
Intelligent CCTV System
Kingston University's intelligent CCTV system is one aspect of the much wider ADDPRIV programme, though which organisations across the EU are actively researching new security solutions addressing public privacy concerns at large.
Any footage recorded by the system that features innocent members of the public is automatically deleted - a potential boon to police forces who can then have access to relevant crime data, without having to first study hours of unrelated footage.
"We're seeking to use surveillance to help control society, while avoiding the Big Brother nightmare of everybody being seen all the time", Orwell concluded.
Image by Kingston University - reproduced with grateful thanks
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