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
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy