The CCTV User Group welcomes the appointment of Fraser Sampson as the new independent Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner (BSCC). The appointment was announced on March 9, 2021, by the UK Home Secretary. The new BSCC combines two roles that were previously separate offices: the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and the Biometrics Commissioner. Previously held by two part-time appointees, the new role is a full-time position. Promote compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code The UK Home Office said in a statement that Fraser Sampson, who took up his post on March 1, 2021, will promote compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code and rules on police use of DNA and fingerprints. Peter Webster, Director of The CCTV User Group, welcomed Fraser’s appointment, stating “We welcome the appointment of the new commissioner to oversee and promote compliance with the CCTV Code of Practice. Fraser comes to the office with excellent credentials, and we look forward to working with him in his new role to promote high standards in the use of CCTV surveillance for public safety and security.” Importance of public space CCTV systems The members of the CCTV User Group welcome the appointment of Fraser Sampson" Ilker Dervish, Vice Chair of The CCTV User Group, commented “The members of the CCTV User Group welcome the appointment of Fraser Sampson as the new Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner as a clear confirmation that the Home Office continues to recognize the importance of public space CCTV systems in our communities.” Ilker Dervish adds, “We are sure that Fraser Sampson’s experience and expertise will be a valuable contribution to the continuing development of regulations, guidelines and standards signposting a clear path to more effective and professional use of video surveillance systems.” CCTV Code of Practice The position of Surveillance Camera Commissioner had been unfilled since the departure of Tony Porter in December 2020. Tony held the office and successfully promoted the code of practice for seven years. The CCTV Code of Practice is based on a document originally produced by The CCTV User Group, which was adopted and developed by the first SCC, Andrew Rennison.
Global MSC Security will debate the ability of artificial intelligence to help Security Managers and Surveillance Camera Operators improve how live incidents are handled. Experts in facial recognition, criminal behavior will participate in the Developing Smart Surveillance Operators free-to-attend online broadcast on 16th March at 13:00 (GMT). Keynotes will be presented by Dr. Craig Donald, Professor James Ferryman, and Tony Porter QPM LLB, with the broadcast, also featuring an in-depth Q&A panel with technology companies - Genetec, Bosch Security & Safety Systems, and Hanwha Techwin. Automatic visual surveillance Tony Porter is the former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and recently joined the facial recognition company Corsight AI as its Chief Privacy Officer, where is focused on the technological, legislative, and ethical aspects of a technology. James Ferryman is a Professor of Computational Vision at the University of Reading. He will discuss the computer analysis behind CCTV images, focusing on the latest research into automatic visual surveillance of wide-area scenes, using computational vision. Providing insight into the human factors involved in security technology integration will be Dr. Craig Donald, an esteemed organizational psychologist, with a specialist involvement in crime behavioral analysis and detection. Video management systems Technology such as AI is placing intelligence in cameras and video management systems" “AI technology has the potential to support operators in making smarter decisions,” comments Dr. Craig Donald. “However, as we move to world where cameras are capable of learning, then both the camera and the operator will need good teachers, to ensure they understand crime behavior, strategy, and dynamics.” Managing Director of Global MSC Security, Derek Maltby, states: “We are not talking about replacing operators, but enabling them to harness technology that is available right now to work smarter. Traditionally cameras have provided the lens through which operators observe, monitor, and respond to behaviors and actions. However, technology such as AI is placing intelligence in cameras and video management systems, enabling them to not only see, but understand, interpret and guide the operator on the appropriate course of action.” Video analytics data A Q&A panel will provide insight into the latest technologies that enable smart surveillance operators. The speakers will be joined by Christian Morin, Vice-President of Integrations & Cloud Services at Genetec who will demonstrate how its Security Center provides a single intuitive unified interface that enables operators to make sense of complexity. Bosch Security and Safety Systems will be demonstrating how video analytics data and alerts can be optimized by machine learning to support operators with better situational awareness, and Hanwha Techwin will explain how new technologies can enable operators to work smarter not harder. The Global MSC Security ‘Developing Smart Surveillance Operators’ Special Online Event is free-to-attend and takes place on 16th March at 13:00 (GMT).
Global MSC Security announced that it will host a live Special Online Event on Tuesday 16th March at 13:00 (GMT), to help Security Managers understand how the latest video surveillance technology is enabling camera operators to improve how live incidents are managed. The ‘Developing Smart Surveillance Operators’ live studio broadcast is free-to-attend and will include expert insights from Genetec, Hanwha Techwin and Bosch Security and Safety Systems. The handling of incidents in progress requires a very different skillset to managing of post event investigations familiar to most operators, as the Managing Director of Global MSC Security, Derek Maltby explains: “It is not realistic to expect an operator to concentrate on a video wall for long periods of time and detect the often subtle cues, or patterns of behavior, that suggest an incident is taking place, or about to escalate." Surveillance camera operators "It is also true that many operators are not sure about what it is that they need to be looking for.” He adds: “To compound the problem, incidents may occur on cameras that do not have a live feed on the video wall.” The event is sponsored by Genetec, Hanwha Techwin and Bosch Security and Safety Systems Trained surveillance camera operators are very good at making the right judgment calls under pressure, but they need a clear operating picture. This is where the latest technology can help. The second Global MSC Security Special Online Event will demonstrate how operators can be automatically alerted to potentially suspicious or unusual activity. By presenting them with real-time insights, they can take the appropriate course of action at the right time, to mitigate or deescalate a situation. Smart surveillance systems “The direction of travel in both public and private sectors is towards smart surveillance, and many organizations already have the foundations in place through recent investments in IP-based systems,” continues Maltby. “However, it is also true that in most instances these same systems are vastly underutilised. This event is aimed at putting organizations on the right path, making sure they understand the true value and realize the full potential of what they have.” The former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and new Chief Privacy Officer at Corsight AI, Tony Porter QPM LLB, will join a panel of independent speakers, chaired by Consultant at Global MSC Security, David White. The Global MSC Security ‘Developing Smart Surveillance Operators’ Special Online Event is free-to-attend and takes place on 16th March at 13:00 (GMT). It sponsored by Genetec, Hanwha Techwin and Bosch Security and Safety Systems and media sponsor the International Security Journal.
While the application of facial recognition within both public and private spheres continues to draw criticism from those who see it as a threat to civil rights, this technology has become extremely commonplace in the lives of iPhone users. It is so prevalent, in fact, that by 2024 it is predicted that 90% of smartphones will use biometric facial recognition hardware. CCTV surveillance cameras Similarly, CCTV is a well-established security measure that many of us are familiar with, whether through spotting images displayed on screens in shops, hotels and offices, or noticing cameras on the side of buildings. It is therefore necessary we ask the question of why, when facial recognition is integrated with security surveillance technology, does it become such a source of contention? It is not uncommon for concerns to be voiced against innovation. History has taught us that it is human nature to fear the unknown, especially if it seems that it may change life as we know it. Yet technology is an ever-changing, progressive part of the 21st century and it is important we start to shift the narrative away from privacy threats, to the force for good that LFR (Live Facial Recognition) represents. Live Facial Recognition (LFR) We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition Across recent weeks, we have seen pleas from UK organizations to allow better police access to facial recognition technology in order to fight crime. In the US, there are reports that LAPD is the latest police force to be properly regulating its use of facial recognition to aid criminal investigations, which is certainly a step in the right direction. While it is understandable that society fears technology that they do not yet understand, this lack of knowledge is exactly why the narrative needs to shift. We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition, we respect these anxieties. However, it is time to level the playing field of the facial recognition debate and communicate the plethora of benefits it offers society. Facial recognition technology - A force for good Facial recognition technology has already reached such a level of maturity and sophistication that there are huge opportunities for it to be leveraged as a force for good in real-world scenarios. As well as making society safer and more secure, I would go as far to say that LFR is able to save lives. One usage that could have a dramatic effect on reducing stress in people with mental conditions is the ability for facial recognition to identify those with Alzheimer’s. If an older individual is seemingly confused, lost or distressed, cameras could alert local medical centers or police stations of their identity, condition and where they need to go (a home address or a next of kin contact). Granted, this usage would be one that does incorporate a fair bit of personal data, although this information would only be gathered with consent from each individual. Vulnerable people could volunteer their personal data to local watchlists in order to ensure their safety when out in society, as well as to allow quicker resolutions of typically stressful situations. Tracking and finding missing persons Another possibility for real world positives to be drawn from facial recognition is to leverage the technology to help track or find missing persons, a lost child for instance. The most advanced forms of LFR in the market are now able to recognize individuals even if up to 50% of their face is covered and from challenging or oblique angles. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity not only to return people home safely, more quickly, but also reduce police hours spent on analyzing CCTV footage. Rapid scanning of images Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match, as a more reliable and less time-consuming option than the human alternative. Freed-up officers could also then work more proactively on the ground, patrolling their local areas and increasing community safety and security twofold. It is important to understand that these facial recognition solutions should not be applied to every criminal case, and the technology must be used responsibly. However, these opportunities to use LFR as force for good are undeniable. Debunking the myths One of the central concerns around LFR is the breach of privacy that is associated with ‘watchlists’. There is a common misconception, however, that the data of every individual that passes a camera is processed and then stored. The reality is that watch lists are compiled with focus on known criminals, while the general public can continue life as normal. The very best facial recognition will effectively view a stream of blurred faces, until it detects one that it has been programmed to recognize. For example, an individual that has previously shoplifted from a local supermarket may have their biometric data stored, so when they return to that location the employees are alerted to a risk of further crimes being committed. Considering that the cost of crime prevention to retailers in recent years has been around £1 billion, which therefore impacts consumer prices and employee wages, security measures to tackle this issue are very much in the public interest. Most importantly, the average citizen has no need to fear being ‘followed’ by LFR cameras. If data is stored, it is for a maximum of 0.6 seconds before being deleted. Privacy Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story. It is essential we spend more time and effort communicating exactly why watchlists are made, who they are made for and how they are being used, if we want to de-bunk myths and change the narrative. As science and technology professionals, heading up this exciting innovation, we must put transparency and accountability at the center of what we do. Tony Porter, former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and current CPO at Corsight AI, has previously worked on developing processes that audit and review watch lists. Such restrictions are imperative in order for AI and LFR to be used legally, as well as ethically and responsibly. Biometrics, mask detection and contactless payments Nevertheless, the risks do not outweigh the benefits. Facial recognition should and can be used for good in so many more ways than listed above, including biometric, contactless payments, detecting whether an individual is wearing a facemask and is therefore, safe to enter a building, identifying a domestic abuse perpetrator returning to the scene of a crime and alerting police. There are even opportunities for good that we have not thought of yet. It is therefore not only a waste not to use this technology where we can, prioritising making society a safer place, it is immoral to stand by and let crimes continue while we have effective, reliable mitigation solutions.
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