Nowadays, everything seems easier in the matter of surveillance. Sophisticated technology safeguards our valuables for us without asking for anything in return. But what if it’s not true? What if it comes with a price? Video surveillance systems are a popular way to keep the property under constant control. It’s not rare that the technological sophistication of these systems puts us in awe. They make us feel, and be, safe.

Yet, there are doubts when it comes to ensuring privacy. And these worries are understandable. Privacy abusers wait around every corner. Some of the fish for data coming from our monitoring systems. Should we then give up and go back to the in-person property guarding? Not really. Countless advantages make an intelligent video surveillance system worth trying. How to find the best solution within the video surveillance systems? Which system is the most secure in protecting us from the threats of privacy abuse: in-house processing unit, or the cloud?

Desire for safety

Every human wants to feel safe. At the bottom of Maslow's "Needs Hierarchy," there are two most essential points. We desire to fulfill our physiological necessities - the need for food, water, warmth, and rest. In the second place, also fundamental is a need for security.Security doesn’t only mean keeping burglars away from the property Today's fast-paced world changes its outer expression, yet the significance of security is constant. We crave to feel safe and we are ready to do a lot to achieve it. 

The core truth to begin with when it comes to security is its definition. Security doesn’t only mean keeping burglars away from the property. If it did, we would be content with any camera surveillance system, regardless of its privacy threats. The issue is more complex. Humans value their privacy. Not only keeping our valuables safe but also being away from the sight of others matters to us. We put efforts to protect our privacy, whether it comes to houses, businesses, or sensitive data.

Data privacy

Why is it so important? Ongoing cases of privacy invasions prove that data finds "new owners" very fast. These data takeovers can result in a major inconvenience and robbery on a large scale. Main privacy threats are information collection, processing, dissemination, and invasion. We want to protect data obtained by video surveillance systems. Privacy and security are sometimes compared to water and oilThese are, for example, video registrations, times of entrance to the property, number and identities of visitors, etc.

Privacy and security are sometimes compared to water and oil. They say you can have security but you’ll lose privacy. They say you can have privacy, but you’ll lose security. These common convictions inspired a new generation of companies to create privacy-first security solutions. They are, in other words, security systems focused on not sacrificing privacy.

Cloud-based systems

Most of the time, popular video surveillance systems but at the same time insecure when it comes to privacy are running on the cloud. There has been a long discussion about its safety and it continues to raise privacy concerns. These systems too often fail in ensuring privacy, and they are vulnerable to hacking. Ring, Nest, and other home security companies experienced compromising mishaps on a large scale. It's not a secret that some cloud-based companies partner up with police departments. Also, if your data is too available, tech companies can sell it to advertisers.Data uploaded onto the cloud is exposed for anyone to meddle with

Data uploaded onto the cloud is exposed for anyone to meddle with. According to the book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism_ The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff “Nest takes little responsibility for the security of that information and none for how other companies will put it to use. In fact, University of London legal scholars Guido Noto La Diega and Ian Walden, who analysed these documents, reckon that were one to enter into the Nest ecosystem of connected devices and apps, each with their own equally burdensome terms, the purchase of a single home thermostat entails the need to review nearly a thousand contracts.” Security and privacy vanish once a smart home system enables remote access.

In-house processing units

It all leads to the conclusion that keeping data in the in-house processing unit is safer and more private. It keeps us away from the eyes of governments, corporates, advertisers, and hackers. And since the market is proactive, solutions in that department came fast. Thanks to the advances to the internet of things (IoT), edge computing, and machine learning, it will be possible in the near future to find different surveillance private-secure systems on the market. A privacy-centered "architecture" processes and stores camera footage inside the propertyThey will combine the most advanced technology with sophisticated privacy protection. In the in-house option, a privacy-centered "architecture" processes and stores camera footage inside the property.

For example, one Seattle-based startup is working on a solution that uses specialized IP cameras that work in groups with an edge computing device. An AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm analyses all the footage taken by the cameras. Once it detects anomalies, it notifies the final user. Those systems don't upload any of the customers' data to the cloud, they keep privacy and all the information at the customer's home. The in-house processing unit can learn to differentiate what its user marks as important. The system captures and saves only those pieces of information.

Smart surveillance systems

To give an example: users who wish to know when their dog is outside can set the cameras to detect it. If they wish to turn a blind eye to burglars, they are free to do it. Smart surveillance systems work with facial matching and pose detection technology. They can detect individuals that haven’t logged on to the system. This tool respects an ethical protocol. It isn’t sensitive to a specific gender, race, or age. Its purpose is to detect behavior identified as suspicious without targeting individual identities. By identifying people who aren’t a part of your daily routine, the system cuts any kind of security risk.

The in-house processing unit video surveillance systems "do the watching" for you. The newest in-house processing unit video surveillance systems will sharpen the feature of crucial importance - privacy protectionThat revolutionises the way we think about security. The system that integrates all the security visual sensors into the “brain” of the system is the smartest and safest idea on the market. This “brain” later decides whether to notify the user about the potential danger or let it go. It deletes every irrelevant piece of data on the spot. This kind of cognitive machinery saves both your time and bandwidth. Thanks to them, you get rid of unnecessary alerts.

The newest in-house processing unit video surveillance systems will sharpen the feature of crucial importance - privacy protection. The newest technology offers a plenitude of sophisticated surveillance methods. Our task is to choose the right one. The one that not only protects our properties and valuables but also our privacy. 

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Nima Schei Managing Director, Hummingbirds AI

Nima Schei, MD is an AI entrepreneur and CEO of Hummingbirds AI, the startup behind the first privacy-preserving smart home security system. He is one of the pioneers of emotional AI and the creator of a class of algorithms, called BEL (BELBIC). He’s a vegan and animal rights activist, living with his wife and three rescued dogs in Miami Beach, Florida.

In case you missed it

How Have Security Solutions Failed Our Schools?
How Have Security Solutions Failed Our Schools?

School shootings are a high-profile reminder of the need for the highest levels of security at our schools and education facilities. Increasingly, a remedy to boost the security at schools is to use more technology. However, no technology is a panacea, and ongoing violence and other threats at our schools suggest some level of failure. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have security solutions failed our schools and what is the solution?

Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)
Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)

Display solutions play a key role in SOCs in providing the screens needed for individuals and teams to visualize and share the multiple data sources needed in an SOC today. Security Operation Center (SOC) Every SOC has multiple sources and inputs, both physical and virtual, all of which provide numerous data points to operators, in order to provide the highest levels of physical and cyber security, including surveillance camera feeds, access control and alarm systems for physical security, as well as dashboards and web apps for cyber security applications. Today’s advancements in technology and computing power not only have increasingly made security systems much more scalable, by adding hundreds, if not thousands, of more data points to an SOC, but the rate at which the data comes in has significantly increased as well. Accurate monitoring and surveillance This has made monitoring and surveillance much more accurate and effective, but also more challenging for operators, as they can’t realistically monitor the hundreds, even thousands of cameras, dashboards, calls, etc. in a reactive manner. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making In order for operators in SOC’s to be able to mitigate incidents in a less reactive way and take meaningful action, streamlined actionable data is needed. This is what will ensure operators in SOC truly have situational awareness. Situational awareness is a key foundation of effective decision making. In its simplest form, ‘It is knowing what is going on’. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making and in accidents attributed to human error. Achieving ‘true’ situational awareness Situational awareness isn’t just what has already happened, but what is likely to happen next and to achieve ‘true’ situational awareness, a combination of actionable data and the ability to deliver that information or data to the right people, at the right time. This is where visualization platforms (known as visual networking platforms) that provide both the situational real estate, as well as support for computer vision and AI, can help SOCs achieve true situational awareness Role of computer vision and AI technologies Proactive situational awareness is when the data coming into the SOC is analyzed in real time and then, brought forward to operators who are decision makers and key stakeholders in near real time for actionable visualization. Computer vision is a field of Artificial Intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images and videos. It is a way to automate tasks that the human visual system can also carry out, the automatic extraction, analysis and understanding of useful information from a single image or a sequence of images. There are numerous potential value adds that computer vision can provide to operation centers of different kinds. Here are some examples: Face Recognition: Face detection algorithms can be applied to filter and identify an individual. Biometric Systems: AI can be applied to biometric descriptions such as fingerprint, iris, and face matching. Surveillance: Computer vision supports IoT cameras used to monitor activities and movements of just about any kind that might be related to security and safety, whether that's on the job safety or physical security. Smart Cities: AI and computer vision can be used to improve mobility through quantitative, objective and automated management of resource use (car parks, roads, public squares, etc.) based on the analysis of CCTV data. Event Recognition: Improve the visualization and the decision-making process of human operators or existing video surveillance solutions, by integrating real-time video data analysis algorithms to understand the content of the filmed scene and to extract the relevant information from it. Monitoring: Responding to specific tasks in terms of continuous monitoring and surveillance in many different application frameworks: improved management of logistics in storage warehouses, counting of people during event gatherings, monitoring of subway stations, coastal areas, etc. Computer Vision applications When considering a Computer Vision application, it’s important to ensure that the rest of the infrastructure in the Operation Center, for example the solution that drives the displays and video walls, will connect and work well with the computer vision application. The best way to do this of course is to use a software-driven approach to displaying information and data, rather than a traditional AV hardware approach, which may present incompatibilities. Software-defined and open technology solutions Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need, including computer vision. In the modern world, with everything going digital, all security services and applications have become networked, and as such, they belong to IT. AV applications and services have increasingly become an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Software-defined approach to AV IT teams responsible for data protection are more in favor of a software-defined approach to AV that allow virtualised, open technologies as opposed to traditional hardware-based solutions. Software’s flexibility allows for more efficient refreshment cycles, expansions and upgrades. The rise of AV-over-IP technologies have enabled IT teams in SOC’s to effectively integrate AV solutions into their existing stack, greatly reducing overhead costs, when it comes to technology investments, staff training, maintenance, and even physical infrastructure. AV-over-IP software platforms Moreover, with AV-over-IP, software-defined AV platforms, IT teams can more easily integrate AI and Computer Vision applications within the SOC, and have better control of the data coming in, while achieving true situational awareness. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people, at the right time, in order to address security incidents and challenges. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people Often, the people who need to know about security risks or breaches are not physically present in the operation centers, so having the data and information locked up within the four walls of the SOC does not provide true situational awareness. hyper-scalable visual platforms Instead there is a need to be able to deliver the video stream, the dashboard of the data and information to any screen anywhere, at any time — including desktops, tablets phones — for the right people to see, whether that is an executive in a different office or working from home, or security guards walking the halls or streets. New technologies are continuing to extend the reach and the benefits of security operation centers. However, interoperability plays a key role in bringing together AI, machine learning and computer vision technologies, in order to ensure data is turned into actionable data, which is delivered to the right people to provide ‘true’ situational awareness. Software-defined, AV-over-IP platforms are the perfect medium to facilitate this for any organizations with physical and cyber security needs.

Securing Mobile Vehicles: The Cloud and Solving Transportation Industry Challenges
Securing Mobile Vehicles: The Cloud and Solving Transportation Industry Challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, traveling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralized location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.