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Video Surveillance in US


(CBS) Times Square. The best place in the United States to lose yourself. Pretty anonymous, right? Think again. As many as 200 surveillance cameras are observing every move you make. That's nothing compared to Washington, D.C., where the chief of police says that he potentially has access to an unlimited number of cameras. Americans have grown accustomed to surveillance cameras watching them in convenience stores, at work, and at ATM machines. But in the aftermath of Sept. 11, many private businesses, town governments, and police departments are installing surveillance cameras, often in public places, at what privacy advocates say is an alarming rate. They want to know, "Who's watching the watchers?"
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Here are a few links to get your started. Please add the links that you use in the appropriate places.

PoliceOne.com- video surveillance
Electronic Privacy Information Centre - video surveillance

Look at these articles:
US police perspective: http://www.policeone.com/police-products/investigation/video-surveillance/articles/1459727/
UK perspective: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6108496.stm

  1. What is video surveillance?
  2. How does it work technically - we are talking about DIGITAL not ANALOG (see article below). What equipment is required, how is the data stored, how is the data shared, are any biometric techniques used (such as face recognition?). Diagrams would be good!
  3. How can the police use video surveillance? Please give some examples.

The police can fight, prevent or reduce crime with the technology of video surveillance, making citizens, businesses and tourists feel safer. State-of-the-art wireless video surveillance systems (e.g. IP video cameras) and other new technology tools are used for deterring, detecting and investigating crime. They are installed on poles and building facades and activity is monitored around the clock in busy downtown areas such as central business districts, shopping malls, residential venues, downtown streets and tourist/entertainment venues.
Twenty to forty officers would be monitoring the videos. Videos must have outstanding image clarity as license plates need to be readable from 300 yards away and different camera angles must be viewable without time delays. Cameras must be able to zoom in and have night-vision. Cameras with automatic license plate recognition can also identify stolen cars.
  1. What are the issues that may arise from the use of video surveillance: these may differ depending on the stakeholders.
  2. Other examples of video surveillance - good and bad!