World Security Report2019-06-27 22:33:21

From video surveillance to real-time video analytics – today’s solution to prevent and solve future incidents?
  
In some countries today, video surveillance is integrated in citizens’ lives, making it easy to leap to the recurring image of Georges Orwell’s masterpiece 1984, where Oceania plays the part of a state surrounded by surveillance cameras. At every street corner, every turn, every alleyway, the citizens of Oceania are observed doing the most mundane things. 
 
Although written as a fictional piece, some people may say that 1984 seems to be closer than ever, due to the emergence of video surveillance and other monitoring technology. It seems that for the greater good, citizens are willing to give up certain aspects of their privacy. 
 
It’s a fact that biometrics are already used to better our lives: we no longer need to type in our password to access our smartphone, as the phone’s technology uses our fingerprint to unlock the phone. At some airports, queuing for customs is a thing of the past, as they use facial recognition and biometric technology. Automatic-Plate Recognition software keeps us safe by reducing vehicle crime – the list is endless.
 
Although video surveillance has not yet been implemented to the same level everywhere globally, the technology is now moving even further. 
 
With the emergence of real-time video analytics and facial recognition, many governments and responsible agencies need to ask themselves what the best use of this new technology is. The promise is ambitious: prevent an incident from happening while addressing the public’s reluctance to reduce their right for privacy for the greater good.
London Viewing
 
Writing a piece on video-surveillance without talking about the UK would be imprecise since the country has established itself as a pioneer in the field of video surveillance. If numbers do not lie, the statistics are quite surprising:
 
• Around 500,000 CCTVs (Closed-Circuit Televisions) in London
• Between 4 and 5.9 million CCTV cameras in the UK
• 9 000 ANPR (Automated Number-Plate Recognition) systems in the UK and cameras in London that photograph each pedestrian almost 300 times a day.
 
These numbers have been steadily increasing since the UK decided to set up CCTV systems in 1990. At the time, the installation of public and private video surveillance cameras was met with skepticism. Citizens across the UK were reluctant, even if it was for a greater sense of security and peace of mind.
 
Today, Londoners are quite indifferent to video surveillance, notwithstanding the dramatic increase in the number of cameras between 2012 and 2015 (+ 72%). Cell phones probably play a big role in the Brits’ current position on video surveillance, for people all over the world have now grown used to filming and being filmed. Whether it’s at Big Ben, or the National History Museum, it is highly likely that a Londoner has been in a situation where they have been filmed by a tourist capturing a souvenir.
 
Younger generations are also growing up with the use of videos in a very different environment than when CCTVs cameras and systems were initially installed two decades ago. This growth in comfort and trust toward video surveillance can be explained by the fact that safety and security are arguably the most sought-after feelings. Over the past few years, many cities such as Paris, Manchester and recently Sri Lanka, have been the stage of attacks on civilians. 
 
In this context, real-time video surveillance together with video analytics can bring a deep sense of reassurance, not only for finding criminals but also for early responses. It does seem that the more cameras you are surrounded by, the better protected you feel against threats. According to the latest available data which dates back to 2013, 78% of Americans said surveillance cameras were a good idea. At the same time in France, 83% of French were favorable to public and private video surveillance. In the UK, it is engraved into people’s lives to the extent where it is a moot point to ask the question.

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