Smart surveillance has alarm bells ringing

Judy Skatssoon
ABC Science Online

Tuesday, 2 August 2005 

 Smile <>  

Smart surveillance technology will be able to tip off authorities about
unusual behaviour (Image: Reuters/Stephen Hird)
A surveillance system that singles you out if you're acting suspiciously and
alerts authorities so they can take pre-emptive action is being developed in

The system uses behaviour recognition software to identify unusual activity,
such as shifting around on a bus, says Professor Barney Glover, of Curtin
<> University of Technology in Western Australia,
which is working on the system.

Glover acknowledges the technology raises privacy issues but says it could
help prevent crime and terrorism, such as the recent London bombings.

"It's adding another level of intelligent analysis to the data stream that's
already coming in," he says.

Glover says the smart surveillance system, which can compress large amounts
of data, is based on computers learning what normal behaviour is, then
looking for patterns of behaviour outside the norm.

The system would then alert the authorities when it detects unusual

The technology, which is still in early stages, would work in conjunction
with other technology, such as facial and unattended baggage recognition
systems, Glover says.

He says the surveillance technology could be used at airports, industrial
sites and on public transport.

On the buses

Glover says the technology isn't designed to recognise fine detail, such as
fidgeting or acting nervous. But it would detect more obvious behaviour.

"For example, pickpockets have a very strange behaviour pattern on a bus
compared to most people," Glover says. 

"They generally move around from seat to seat to find a mark, while most
people sit down and then depart.

"A system can detect someone who is shifting seats in that way and alert the
authorities that there's a possible pickpocket on the bus." 

Privacy concerns

Roger Clarke, a visting professor in computer science at the Australian
National University <>  in Canberra, says the
technology would result in countless false alarms and constitute a civil
liberties infringement.

"It's a horrendous proposition in terms of interfering with the way the
world works," he says.

"Think about a school bus, think about a tourist bus, everybody moves

"It's completely naive to suggest that any workable process could result
from this kind of analysis, human behaviour is just too complex."

Anxious houses

Behaviour recognition technology also has implications for monitoring the
elderly or people with disabilities in their home.

Glover says the university has also devised a system where "anxiety" levels
are built into a house.

"The house gets anxious if an abnormal event continues," he says.

"Eventually it reaches an anxiety level where it sends an SMS to a carer and
says, 'grandma seems to be sitting on the floor beside her bed and isn't
responding to the prompts from the house, please intervene'."

Glover says the most sophisticated forms of the technology are expected to
be available within the next 10 years. 

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> 
<font face=arial size=-1><a 
">Fair play? Video games influencing politics. Click and talk back!</a>.</font>

Want to discuss this topic?  Head on over to our discussion list, [EMAIL 
Brooks Isoldi, editor

  Post message:
  Subscribe:    [EMAIL PROTECTED]
  Unsubscribe:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

*** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material whose use has 
not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. OSINT, as a part of 
The Intelligence Network, is making it available without profit to OSINT 
YahooGroups members who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the 
included information in their efforts to advance the understanding of 
intelligence and law enforcement organizations, their activities, methods, 
techniques, human rights, civil liberties, social justice and other 
intelligence related issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes 
only. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material 
as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use 
this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' 
you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: 
Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

Reply via email to