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Technical Challenges in Location-Aware Video Surveillance Privacy

Brassil, Jack
HP Laboratories


Keyword(s): GPS, CCTV, Camera, phone, privacy law

Abstract: Though designing, deploying and operating a video surveillance system in a public place is a relatively simple engineering task, equipping operational systems with privacy enhancing technology presents extraordinarily difficult technical challenges. We explore using mobile communications and location tracking to enable individuals to assert a preference for privacy from video surveillance. Rather than prohibit or defeat surveillance, our system - Cloak - seeks to discourage surveillers from distributing video without the authorization of the surveilled. We review the system architecture and operation, and demonstrate how privacy can be enhanced while requiring no change to existing surveillance technology. We use analysis and simulation to explore the solution's feasibility, and show that an individual's video privacy can be protected even in the presence of the many sources of error (e.g., dense crowds, unsynchronized clocks, unreliable communications, location error, location signal loss) we anticipate in a deployed system. Finally, we discuss the key technical, social, and legal barriers to Cloak's large-scale deployment, and argue that the pervasive use of camera phones requires the focus of efforts on surveillance privacy technology to shift to limiting dissemination rather than limiting video capture.

22 Pages

Additional Publication Information: To be published in Protecting Privacy in Video Surveillance, A Senior, Ed. Springer-Verlag, Computer Imaging, June 2009

External Posting Date: December 18, 2008 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: December 18, 2008 [Fulltext]

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