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Author: Subject: Big brother may be watching you in Chicago

True Peach





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  posted on 9/28/2007 at 08:13 AM
This is their headline not mine... http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070927-big-brother-may-be-watching-y ou-in-chicago.html

Is Chicago the new Britain...?

EDIT (to add article text):
quote:


Living in a city like Chicago has its ups and downs. On the plus side are the architecture, parks, lakefront, and great restaurants. The downside? Depressing winters and incompetent sports teams. Depending on your viewpoint, today's announcement by the city and IBM of a new automated video surveillance system could go in either the pros or cons column.
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Chicago drivers have had to become accustomed to cameras at certain intersections that snap pictures of red-light-running drivers and a wider surveillance network, while some residents have been arrested for drinking in public after being caught by one of the city's surveillance cameras. Now they'll have to contend with "Operation Virtual Shield," developed by IBM and deployed in conjunction with Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Virtual Shield will capture, monitor, and "fully index" video from the Windy City's surveillance cameras. The software used to run the system will be able to recognize specific license plates, vehicle descriptions, and even patterns of behavior. If someone drops a briefcase on the El platform and it stays unattended for more than a minute, the system could alert the OEMC, which could then dispatch police officers to the scene.

City officials touted the new system as having some significant advantages over the current human-monitored cameras. "You're talking about creating (something) that knows no fatigue, no boredom and is absolutely focused," an OEMC spokesperson told the AP.

Unfortunately, you're also dealing with something that lacks the same decision-making and critical-reasoning capability that humans have. While the system may be able to spot a stolen car and lead the police to catch the thief, wait until the first time a bomb squad is dispatched after a harried mother accidentally leaves a diaper bag on the El platform. As is typical with electronic surveillance systems that attempt to sift large volumes of data in an automated fashion, the number of false positives can grow to an overwhelming size as the surveillance net widens. Of course, IBM's solution to a high false positive rate would no doubt be to throw more (IBM-supplied) computing power and programmer expertise at the problem.

Surveillance systems are becoming widespread, but how well they work and the matter of whether they should even exist remain topics of debate. A report released recently by the Liberal Democrat Party in the UK called the cameras ineffective; the UK Home Office counters with statistics showing a 4 percent drop in crime rates due to the cameras.



[Edited on 9/28/2007 by rosshmusic]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/28/2007 at 08:22 AM

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 9/28/2007 at 09:10 AM
For me, it'll depend on how it gets used. I'm not going to be standing around in the streets doing anything wrong, so I don't really care if they are watching. My thought is that it'll be great if it can lower crime, or help them catch criminals. However I don't want to see people get busted over stupid petty things, while major crimes get worse.
 
 


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