The advancements of technology have favored the government authorities across the world to great extent. It has been possible to ensure security and lower the rate of crime by keeping an eye on criminal activities through video surveillance cameras.
The installation of cameras at high risk areas will track the activities taking place and police authorities can monitor them in real-time.
However, the surveillance through video cameras is not restricted to monitoring of criminal activities. There is an implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in which the images of people are taken and compared to criminal database.
This enables police in tracking criminals at the same time. This led to a significant rise of the market for video surveillance.
According to the report published by research firm Allied Market Research, the global video surveillance market is estimated to reach $87.36 billion by 2025.
The advent of security cameras has been a boon for authorities. Many institutions and authorities have undertaken the task of installing new technologically advanced cameras and upgrading of existing infrastructure.
Use Case Examples
Installation of new cameras to improve security has been one of the major steps taken by police. Recently, the video surveillance equipment has been installed at Myers Park in the city of Gloversville.
The equipment provides around the clock coverage along with multiple views of the grounds and facilities. Police outlined that the purpose of installation of the cameras is to improve public safety by tracking criminal activities. It can be utilized for special occasions too. The new investigative tool for law enforcement has been made available.
Along with installations, the upgrades of the existing infrastructure have been taking place. The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) is at the final phase of upgrading its video surveillance at its 29 campuses.
The elected officials of the SUSD Governing Board approved the funding of $389,228 for the upgrade and expansion of video security. Upgrading and expanding of the existing video surveillance system is one of the major components of school security measures.
The video surveillance would enable district officials to address the issue of safety and security during and after school hours. First two phases of the project have been completed. The project includes installation of 256 cameras in 29 schools, addition of video servers at 33 locations, installing unified system for surveillance at 29 school sites and 6 support sites, and offering on-site and remote access along with real-time monitoring.
Among two completed phases, the phase one included upgrading systems at elementary and middle schools. The phase two involved upgrading of infrastructure at high school and support sites. The phase three involves upgrade of 621 cameras.
The officials of the SUSD commented that the presence of video surveillance cameras at prime locations would prevent vandalism, thefts, and illegal activities. The real-time monitoring would offer an ability to make rapid decisions if any emergency situations occur.
However, the continuous tracking and analysis have posed a serious issue of violation of civil rights and many organizations have filed cases against abuse of authority.
Though security of citizens is a priority for any government, it is necessary to ponder over compromise of civil rights. In Russia, The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) gave a verdict that the continuous video surveillance on prisoners is a violation of civil rights.
Three Russians, two of who are still serving the jail time, filed a complaint against the detention, mentioning the location of surveillance cameras.
Though the judges agreed upon the fact that there should be cameras for security of prisoners, they mentioned that there is no legal framework for regulating the procedure thoroughly. Moreover, the ECtHR cannot offer protection for arbitrariness of authorities. These will be the cases everywhere across the world.
The technology is advancing at the speed never imagined before. The emergence of technologies has led to many advantages and facilitated many processes. Ensuring security through video cameras that are technologically advanced is no exception.
As lives are improved through technology, there are some pitfalls that may work against humans. The smaller and smarter cameras pose an issue in coming years as they are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
In another case in Tacoma, Washington, a security system at the corner of South 38th Street and Pacific Avenue takes the picture of customers and utilizes AI for comparing them to crime suspects.
The AI algorithm is utilized for deciding whether the picture matches with robbers and shoplifters. This is a privacy violation and it should have been notified to customers of Jacksons Food Store.
There should be at least a sign that says that there is a facial recognition technology in place and it will compare your images with criminals. Jacksons spokesperson Russ Stoddard outlined that when the system will be fully operational, there will be a sign in the front of the store that would inform visitors regarding the facial technology in use.
Moreover, the door will not unlock if the visitor is wearing a mask or the person has been marked as a criminal by the database. People may not have an issue with the security tool, however, there will be issue when there is a violation of civil rights.
According to the report by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), there are nearly 50 million surveillance cameras installed in the U.S. by police with advancement of smart technology. The report outlines how the cameras installed by government agencies are increasing and how the advanced technologies such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence make those cameras smarter.
This installation may pose a civil rights issue. Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the ACLU, commented that the cameras collecting and storing videos are becoming guards that can watch over people.
With machines getting smarter, at the end of the day, the result will be people being watched and their behavior judged constantly with these cameras. The AI security guards will pose a threat to public rights.
Instead of only keeping watch, the AI robot will collect identity and more information about people. The ACLU has been in talks with policymakers to create rules to lower abuse and restrict the implementation of AI technology on masses.