Let's Hear It For The Vague Blur!

Widespread video surveillance has been a great boon - well, to someone, since studies in Great Britain show that there is virtually no significant reduction in crime in heavily surveilled neighborhoods.

The real problem is finding people (enough of them!) and paying them to watch all these cameras to search for wrong-doing.

The video-analysis company 3VR has built up a database of every last license plate, vehicle and face that is encountered by video cameras in its network and sounds the alarm if it sees a suspect anywhere.

As it turns out, there seem to be people who don't like being constantly photographed every minute of their lives, and 3VR's engineers have come up with an interesting gimmick to help maintain the privacy of people who are being constantly photographed without their knowledge or consent.

This system uses the same algorithms that pick out faces and license plates; it then blurs the faces and vehicles that are not in their database of suspicious persons.


(3VR Security blur the innocent software)

Of course, if you later become a suspicious "person of interest," security guards can "unlock" your image to reveal your real, sharp-featured self under the blur.


(Scramble suit video from A Scanner Darkly)

This is a marvelously inverted perversion of Philip K. Dick's scramble suit from his 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly. In the story, a police informant could become anonymous by wearing "a superthin shroudlike membrane..." - a scramble suit.

In any case, the wearer of a scramble suit was Everyman and in every combination (up to combinations of a million and a half sub-bits) during the course of each hour. Hence, any description of him - or her - was meaningless.
(Read more about PKD's scramble suit)

In the 3VR privacy surveillance picture, everyone who is innocent becomes anonymized; only the presumed guilty have their own real identity and face.

As PKD would say, "Let's hear it for the vague blur!"

Via Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/16/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Armed Drone Opens Fire
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Kuwait Creates Mandatory DNA Database For Citizens
And who has the largest DNA database on its citizens? USA.

Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'- Philip K. Dick, 1965.

Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Organoids Galore!
'Runciter's body contained a dozen artiforgs...'

Artificial Gravity? Why Not?
'The artificial gravity-controls in the base of the ship... were being tampered with!'

Hackers Can Take Control Of Cars From Anywhere In The World
'The car faltered as the external command came to brake...'

Armed Drone Opens Fire
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'

Robotic Exoskeleton Releases Man From Wheelchair
'This man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'

Oh, Just Let Robots Run Airports
I'd like a friendly robot to help me at airports.

How Smart Should AI's Be Allowed To Get?
'Every AI ever built has an electromagnetic shotgun wired to its forehead'

NASA Misses $5Trillion Funding Boost
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Kuwait Creates Mandatory DNA Database For Citizens
And who has the largest DNA database on its citizens?

Please, Please Let There Be Regenerated Teeth
'Toothbud transplants...'

Google AI 'Deep Dreams' Kubrick's 2001
'I was only trying to do what I thought best....'

The BLITAB: First Tactile Tablet for Blind People
Absolutely amazing development - now blind people can read the web!

Why, Oh Why, Must We Develop Robots That Run Faster Than I Do?
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'

Golf Robot Putts Out
'The robot solemnly hit a ball against the wall, picked it up and teed it, hit it again, over and again...'

Computer Finds Cancer Doctors Miss
The computer will see you now.

Would Robot Taxis Ease Carbon Emissions?
'He emerged and flagged down a robot taxi...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.