Brawls in the city center, homicide on railway platforms or suitcase bomb attacks; in Germany, such criminal acts do not really happen on a day to day basis, but neither are they rare occurrences.
For sure, video cameras recording what's going on in public places act as a deterrent to potential perpetrators. With their visual evidence, they also ensure that many of the culprits can be quickly identified and arrested. However, it would be even better to have an "intelligent" video surveillance system, which automatically notifies the police while the crime is still in progress.
Video tracking and pattern recognition
Two innovative security technologies for video surveillance are currently in development: Pattern recognition and video tracking.In case of pattern recognition, a computer automatically identifies actions or objects of interest from the photographic images of a surveillance camera – it can recognize a fight, a suitcase that has been left behind or a person lying on the ground. Such items are immediately brought to the attention of the security guards. These decide whether or not to alert the police.
Video tracking systems enable you to monitor and track moving objects across multiple camera views, e.g. to spot a criminal fleeing through the corridors of a subway station.
Four universities coordinate their research in a network
Under which conditions are the new surveillance techniques practical? What are the chances and risks? These are the questions that social psychologists, sociologists, ethics specialists and legal scholars of the Universities of Würzburg, Freiburg, Potsdam and Tübingen are concerned with.
The network project MuViT (Mustererkennung und Video-Tracking: pattern recognition and video tracking) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the "research for civil security" program introduced by the federal government.
The University of Würzburg has even two study groups participating in the project; they are granted about 400,000 euros in funds by the Ministry of Education and Research. The teams in question are headed by Professor Fritz Strack (social psychology) and Professor Ralf Schenke (law).
Impact of the technology on people
A study group of social psychologists lead by Professor Fritz Strack and Dr. Petra Markel looks into the impact of the new surveillance techniques on perception, experience and social behavior of the people under surveillance.
What we already know: When people are confronted with mirrors or cameras, they tend to focus their attention on themselves. As a consequence, their experience and behavior changes – for example, the willingness to help others increases. However: Do people also behave differently when they are aware of being monitored with the new technologies? Are they more helpful in this case as well?
Does the surveillance also deter people from bad behavior? For instance, is there any effect on street littering? And: How are people doing when they know that they are under surveillance? Do they experience more stress and are they less capable? Do they associate surveillance with better security or do they feel subjected to undue control? Such are the problems that the psychologists want to clarify with the help of test persons in the laboratory.
A further important objective: The researchers would like to know how the public debate on advantages and risks of video surveillance influences people's attitudes. They are particularly interested in the factors that are decisive for the new system to get accepted.Contact person
There will be a focus on questions regarding the compatibility of the techniques with basic rights. In particular, the basic right to informational self-determination is at the center of the discussion. However, the general freedom of action and the principle of equality granted in the German constitution can also be relevant in this context.
Are private companies allowed to implement the new surveillance techniques, e.g. in an open office environment? Who decides which persons and behavioral patterns the video surveillance system is to look for? Does the computer search for dark-skinned males? Does the system pick up sick or disabled people because they differ in their movement from the standard pattern? The two last examples could give rise to problems concerning the principle of equality laid down in the German constitution.Contact person
Robert Emmerich | idw
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy