• Supreme Court to rule on age of "Big Brother" surveillance

    This November the Supreme Court is gearing up to hear a landmark case which will decide how far law enforcement agencies can pry into an individual’s private life; federal judges argue that the use of GPS surveillance by law enforcement is an “Orwellian intrusion” into private life and violate the Fourth Amendment; meanwhile police say GPS tracking is simply a more efficient way to tail a suspect’s car or track their movements, things they can currently do without a warrant

  • Researchers developing "soft biometric" video analysis system

    Researchers in Australia are developing a way to identify individuals using “soft” biometrics like their estimated weight, hair color, and skin tone in video footage; the researchers hope to create a Google-style search, where police officers can actually search for an individual in hundreds of hours of video footage just by typing in a basic description

  • Facebook could mean the end of undercover ops

    Law enforcement officials have begun using Facebook to identify criminals and gather information about their habits, but the technology has the potential to be a double edged sword; an undercover officer could successfully infiltrate a gang only to have their cover blown after their photo is recognized and their Facebook profile carefully scrutinized

  • Identifying bad guys in a crowd

    New CCTV technology aims to do two things: for post-incident forensic analysis the system retraces a person’s steps after they have left a site; and for real-time analysis the system alerts security to immediate or imminent threats; researchers say the technology will also address privacy concerns: if a computer could automatically detect and preserve footage “of interest,” the images of the rest of the people captured by CCTVs can be safely deleted, minimizing the invasion to privacy

  • San Francisco to install real-time surveillance on buses

    Thanks to a $6 million DHS grant San Francisco’s MUNI buses will soon be equipped with a network of sophisticated high-tech video cameras that will allow the transit agency to view footage in real-time

  • Cook County, Illinois cancels troubled security camera program

    Contrary to the latest trends, Cook County, Illinois is scrapping a project to equip police departments with real time streaming cameras; Cook County canceled Project Shield, a $44 million federally funded initiative to provide 128 local police departments with cameras in squad cars and stationary locations that streamed live video to central command centers; the program has been plagued by technical problems, cost overruns, and shoddy performance

  • New Haven, Connecticut police begin installing security cameras

    New Haven police plan to install twenty-one surveillance cameras in the city’s hot spots for crime. The cameras will give officers a 360 degree view of an area’s streets and sidewalks; police hope that the cameras will help reduce New Haven’s rising violent crime rate; in the first half of 2011, more than eighteen people have been killed

  • A team of robots collaborate in exploration, map building

    Researchers have developed an advanced autonomous capability for first responders, law enforcement, and the military: a group of robots, working by themselves and communicating only with one another, divide up among themselves a variety of exploration tasks — for example, they can go into a building and within minutes transmit a detailed floor map to humans waiting at a command center nearby

  • Surveillance cams removed from Muslim neighborhood in U.K.

    Local law enforcement officials in the United Kingdom have begun to uninstall more than 200 surveillance cameras from a predominately Muslim neighborhood in Birmingham; the installation of the cameras was met with fierce criticism, especially after residents had learned that some cameras were hidden; residents were particularly incensed because they were not consulted during the planning process; in October Chief Constable Chris Sims agreed to remove the cameras in order to regain the trust of the community

  • Austin police officers equipped with wearable cameras

    For years, law enforcement has relied on dash cams to record what happens when officers step out of their vehicles; now, that technology is being upgraded to the next level in the form of body cams police officers can wear

  • Oklahoma police to get wearable cameras

    Police officers in Owasso, Oklahoma may soon all be wearing video cameras on their bodies; patrol cars already house cameras in their dash board to record a police officer’s actions, but the Owasso Police Department wants each of its thirty-nine agents to wear a camera at all times; the cameras are designed to increase transparency, accountability, and help stop “the constant litigation that police face on a basis, complaints, and false accusations” by providing undisputable video evidence of what occurred; the cameras will cost $900 per unit

  • Security cameras to be installed at all DC metro stops

    In response to a rash of crimes near Washington, D.C.’s metro stations, local authorities recently announced plans to install security cameras outside all eight-six train stations; the Metro Board’s Safety and Security Committee released a report several weeks ago that found that last year the number of thefts and robberies had hit five-year highs; the Board has purchased 153 color cameras thanks to a $2.8 million DHS grant; with violent crimes around the Metro on the rise, more residents have begun to push for the installation of security cameras

  • DigiSensory cameras predict crime before it happens

    With DigiSensory Technologies’ sophisticated cameras and sensor systems, law enforcement agencies and transportation departments across the United States are now able to proactively monitor and respond to crimes or accidents as they unfold; the company’s Avista sensors process the images that its 3.2 megapixel high-resolution camera records in real time and can automatically detect when a crime is occurring; when it senses something it will alert law enforcement officials instantly; the sensors can also assist transportation departments in analyzing traffic patterns in real time; the system could allow officials to change one way streets, design real time traffic signals, and multiple speed limits to make traffic flow more smoothly

  • Surveillance tech developers capture Breakthru venture capital

    Three academics from the University of New Brunswick were awarded $285,000 in cash, the richest entrepreneurship competition in Canada, to continue developing better surveillance camera technology

  • Jails turning to full body scanners

    Cook County Jail in Chicago recently installed four full-body scanners to help improve security; officials say that the body scanners have enabled officers to better detect contraband items, hidden away in body cavities, and reduced the need for strip searches; the machines are located in the jail’s two maximum security areas as well as the initial processing area; officials say they plan to begin using body scanners at the Cook County courthouse to scan detainees before they enter the courtroom