lundi 23 novembre 2009

The right for video surveillance

As things go with privacy legislation in western European countries like France, the debate about video surveillance, which has been twisted from the start is now hardly emerging from the nimbs of big brotheries to lay down the foundation for a new era of service.
As a matter of fact, we discover by twisting the argument the other way that, videosurveillance may also be considered as a service, yet another extension of the police protection for citizens of safe countries.
Why should only VIPs and wealthy people be able to benefit from a bodyguards ?
Why shouldn't everybody be safe while walking downtown or in subway corridors ?
How about the right for security ?

Among things that slowed down the understanding that video surveillance is nothing but a new tool for ensuring people safety, the usages have been dictated by law and initial restrictions which came from technical limitations have been used as guidelines for establishing rules of dissemination. The validation process for authorizing a system to be deployed, and used, the fear for totalitarism which is a fairy tale in our democratic system, have rendered useless and weak the majority of today's urban videosurveillance systems in the country. Very few systems have been built with the idea that video surveillance is an ubiquity power for enforcing law.

There we go and focus on the most compelling reason for installing video surveillance systems in as many places as possible : as police or accredited officers have the mean for witnessing facts in real time, the criminals should be aprehended more quickly and with more efficiency. The realtime evidence, the "flagrand délit" is the idea that should substain any video surveillance system. We are glued in systems that are sold and operate mainly for providing after-acts testimonials, inherently slows and out of range for countering the growth of urban crime and terrorism.

As the difference between civilized countries and lands of terror and mob rules, the ability for a nation to protect and secure its citizens and infrastructures, its economy, its future, will not be achieved by infiltering in a stazy like fashion, one spy for every 60 people in the country.
It will probably be usefull that records of video be maintained in vast video warehouses so that post-event analysis can be conducted and lead to the conviction of criminals.
But it will be far more profitable for everybody that a true new generation of security service be made available to all of us, ensuring that police can operate effectively in as many places as possible, with real-time evidence, either localy or remotely.

By thinking about the video surveillance in the light of new technologies and networks, we have been detaching the three key concepts which will be the ground for tomorrow's videosurveillance systems :
There is a right for video surveillance
Video surveillance extends the real-time evidence for security authorities
Video surveillance as a Service must be deployed on a very large scale
These three concepts form the core of massively multi camera systems that will enable large scale video surveillance systems to be created and operated for the sake of security and economy.
Massively multi camera systems will be deployed nationaly and will have built-in interoperability. They will be operated by special task forces, both sedentary and on the field. They will contribute to identify, analyze and react to criminal and terrorist threats. In 50 years from now, people will hardly understand why intrusion alarm and video security have long been the privilege of to few people and places and how so many risks have been left unattended.

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