There are many different tools for surveillance users, such as infrared -- short wave and long wave, image fusion, satellite links, and video streaming, however video analytics utilizing tracking technology and object recognition are ushering in a new era in surveillance.
Tomorrow's video surveillance screens will resemble the television feeds of ESPN and CNBC
where sports scores and stock tickers are streaming across the bottom of the screen, says Charlie Morrison, director of
full motion video solutions at Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Services. There will be "multi-intelligence collected within the video so that it will be more than a
picture." This technology is already out there in the commercial world, he says.
Augmented ID is a concept that visualizes the digital identities of people you meet in real life. With a mobile device and face recognition software from Polar Rose, Augmented ID enables anybody utlilizing the service to discover selected information about others.
Morrison's team at Lockheed Martin along with engineers at Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Fla., are
taking that technology and applying if to military surveillance and intelligence applications,
Morrison says. "We're looking to integrate commercial technology for DOD video."
"Full-motion video has exceptional potential for intelligence collection and analysis," says Jim Kohlhaas, Lockheed Martin's vice president of spatial solutions. "Thousands of platforms are collecting important video intelligence every day. The challenge is to collect and catalogue that huge volume of footage, and give analysts the tools they need to find, interpret, and share the critical intelligence that can be gleaned from that mountain of data."
The main Lockheed Martin video analytics tool is called Audacity. It tags sorts, and catalogues digital footage. According to a Lockheed Martin public release it also has intelligence tools such as video mosaic creation, facial recognition, object tracking, and smart auto-alerts based around geospatial areas of interest.
Military veteran and surveillance specialist Chris Calder notes that all military applications now combine facial recognition and mind reading interfaces. "It's a standard part of intelligence operations and concerns about privacy are one of the most controversial aspects of this type of technology." Calder says the military has integrated applications within invasive devices which can target any individual from miles away and not only confirm their identity but interpret their thought patterns, motive and future behavior. "These are not futuristic applications, they're available at their disposal right now."
Intel has only recently caught up with what's been available for almost a decade under classified direction and authority. Intel's scientists are now creating detailed maps of the activity in the brain and have a working prototype that can detect words such as "screwdriver", "house" and "barn", by measuring around 20,000 points in the brain.
Justin Ratner, director of Intel Laboratories and the company's chief technology officer, said: "Mind reading is the ultimate user interface. There will be concerns about privacy with this sort of thing and we will have to overcome them.
At the corporate level, the Daily Mail yesterday reported that Face.com has produced technology that can identify individuals on social networking sites and online galleries by comparing their image against a known picture of them.
It means detailed profiles of individuals can be built up purely from online photographs and critics have said it could lead to exploitation by employers.
The company says it is 90 per cent accurate when scanning typical images which appear on social networking sites.
Gil Hirsch, chief executive of Face.com, told The Sunday Times: 'We have launched a service that allows developers to take our facial recognition technology and apply it immediately to their own applications.
Other interactive internet giants such as InterActive Corp who own subsidiary branches such as Mindspark and Match.com are prime portals to access personal images and information. For example myWebFace is downloaded as a toolbar for your browser and it enables you to create an "online cartoon avatar by choosing from a huge selection of facial features, characteristics and accessories," as stated in their license agreement. They then provide you with the opportunity to use your myWebFace cartoon for your Facebook profile or other social networks.
Another myWebFace invention oldyourself.com digitizes and ages any portrait image to simulate 20 years in the future, thus an an older version of yourself. The site uses clever tactics such as applying the software to age celebrities to attract more users.
FACEinHOLE uses similar methods to entice users to upload photos of themselves for integration into specific scenarios. Want to look like a bodybuilder, model or actor? Faceinhole.com has thousands of scenarios to attract unsuspecting users to submit their personal photos. Registrants use an upload interface (instead of a browser intergrated toolbar) to submit their photos.
Opponents to facial recognition technology are well aware that its acceptance and integration within society are growing in combination with wider use of video surveillance, which is likely to grow increasingly invasive over time. Once installed, this kind of a surveillance system rarely remains confined to its original purpose. New ways of applying the technology are leading to abuse as authorities or operators find them to be an irresistible expansion of their power. Ultimately, the privacy of citizens will suffer another blow. The threat is that widespread surveillance will change the character, feel, and quality of our lives.