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
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences