BRS Labs announced a video-surveillance technology called Behavioral Analytics, which leverages cognitive reasoning, and processes visual data on a level similar to the human brain.
It is impossible for humans to monitor the tens of millions of cameras deployed throughout the world, a fact long recognized by the international security community. Security video is either used for forensic analysis after an incident has occurred, or it employs a limited-capability technology known as Video Analytics – a video-motion and object-classification-based software technology that attempts to watch video streams and then sends an alarm on specific pre-programmed events. The problem is that this legacy solution generates a great number of false alarms that effectively renders it useless in the real world.
BRS Labs has created a technology it calls Behavioral Analytics. It uses cognitive reasoning, much like the human brain, to process visual data and to identify criminal and terroristic activities. Built on a framework of cognitive learning engines and computer vision, AISight, provides an automated and scalable surveillance solution that analyzes behavioral patterns, activities and scene content without the need for human training, setup, or programming.
The system learns autonomously, and builds cognitive “memories” while continuously monitoring a scene through the “eyes” of a CCTV security camera. It sees and then registers the context of what constitutes normal behavior, and the software distinguishes and alerts on abnormal behavior without requiring any special programming, definition of rules or virtual trip lines.
AISight is currently fielded across a wide variety of global critical infrastructure assets, protecting major international hotels, banking institutions, seaports, nuclear facilities, airports and dense urban areas plagued by criminal activity.
EU funding 'Orwellian' artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for "abnormal behaviour"
The European Union is spending millions of pounds developing "Orwellian" technologies designed to scour the internet and CCTV images for "abnormal behaviour".
A five-year research programme, called Project Indect, aims to develop computer programmes which act as "agents" to monitor and process information from web sites, discussion forums, file servers, peer-to-peer networks and even individual computers.
Its main objectives include the "automatic detection of threats and abnormal behaviour or violence".
Project Indect, which received nearly £10 million in funding from the European Union, involves the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and computer scientists at York University, in addition to colleagues in nine other European countries.
Shami Chakrabarti, the director of human rights group Liberty, described the introduction of such mass surveillance techniques as a "sinister step" for any country, adding that it was "positively chilling" on a European scale.
The Indect research, which began this year, comes as the EU is pressing ahead with an expansion of its role in fighting crime, terrorism and managing migration, increasing its budget in these areas by 13.5% to nearly £900 million.
The European Commission is calling for a "common culture" of law enforcement to be developed across the EU and for a third of police officers – more than 50,000 in the UK alone – to be given training in European affairs within the next five years.
According to the Open Europe think tank, the increased emphasis on co-operation and sharing intelligence means that European police forces are likely to gain access to sensitive information held by UK police, including the British DNA database. It also expects the number of UK citizens extradited under the controversial European Arrest Warrant to triple.
Stephen Booth, an Open Europe analyst who has helped compile a dossier on the European justice agenda, said these developments and projects such as Indect sounded "Orwellian" and raised serious questions about individual liberty.
"This is all pretty scary stuff in my book. These projects would involve a huge invasion of privacy and citizens need to ask themselves whether the EU should be spending their taxes on them," he said.
"The EU lacks sufficient checks and balances and there is no evidence that anyone has ever asked 'is this actually in the best interests of our citizens?'"
Miss Chakrabarti said: "Profiling whole populations instead of monitoring individual suspects is a sinister step in any society.
"It's dangerous enough at national level, but on a Europe-wide scale the idea becomes positively chilling."
According to the official website for Project Indect, which began this year, its main objectives include "to develop a platform for the registration and exchange of operational data, acquisition of multimedia content, intelligent processing of all information and automatic detection of threats and recognition of abnormal behaviour or violence".
It talks of the "construction of agents assigned to continuous and automatic monitoring of public resources such as: web sites, discussion forums, usenet groups, file servers, p2p [peer-to-peer] networks as well as individual computer systems, building an internet-based intelligence gathering system, both active and passive".
York University's computer science department website details how its task is to develop "computational linguistic techniques for information gathering and learning from the web".
"Our focus is on novel techniques for word sense induction, entity resolution, relationship mining, social network analysis [and] sentiment analysis," it says.
A separate EU-funded research project, called Adabts – the Automatic Detection of Abnormal Behaviour and Threats in crowded Spaces – has received nearly £3 million. Its is based in Sweden but partners include the UK Home Office and BAE Systems.
It is seeking to develop models of "suspicious behaviour" so these can be automatically detected using CCTV and other surveillance methods. The system would analyse the pitch of people's voices, the way their bodies move and track individuals within crowds.
Project coordinator Dr Jorgen Ahlberg, of the Swedish Defence Research Agency, said this would simply help CCTV operators notice when trouble was starting.
"People usually don't start to fight from one second to another," he said. "They start by arguing and pushing each other. It's not that 'oh you are pushing each other, you should be arrested', it's to alert an operator that something is going on.
"If it's a shopping mall, you could send a security guard into the vicinity and things [a fight] maybe wouldn't happen."
Open Europe believes intelligence gathered by Indect and other such systems could be used by a little-known body, the EU Joint Situation Centre (SitCen), which it claims is "effectively the beginning of an EU secret service". Critics have said it could develop into "Europe's CIA".
Welcome to INDECT homepage
This is the homepage of the EU FP7 project INDECT.
UE FP7 INDECT Project: "Intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment"
The new num8 watch by Lok8u has a satellite positioning system so parents can keep track of their children's movements on Google maps.
The num8 watch has a GPS tracking device and satellite positioning system concealed inside so parents can locate the wearer to within 10 feet.
The watch, which is designed in bright colours to appeal to children, can be tightly fastened to a child's wrist and sends an alert if forcibly removed.
Parents can see the location of their child on Google maps by clicking 'where r you' on a secure website or texting 'wru' to a special number. Safe zones can also be programmed with parents being alerted if their child strays outside this zone.
The makers of the num8 watch claim it gives peace of mind to parents and makes children more independent but critics say tagging children like this is a step too far in paranoia about child safety.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Steve Salmon, from Lok8u, said: "Losing your child, if only for a brief moment, leads to a state of panic and makes parents feel powerless. The overriding aim of num8 is to give children their freedom and parents peace of mind."
But Dr Michele Elliott, director of children's charity Kidscape, said: "Is the world really that unsafe that parents need to track their children electronically? I don't think so."
The num8 watch costs £149.99 and is sold with a monthly subscription contract.
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