A year after it first attracted media attention, Internet Eyes – a website that pays the public to monitor live commercial CCTV footage – has relaunched after satisfying the UK Information Commission that it is working within the law.

As Charles Farrier of No CCTV told the Guardian : “This is the privatisation of the surveillance society – a private company asking private individuals to spy on each other using private cameras connected to the internet. Internet Eyes must be challenged.”

Transport Security Expo 2010 takes place in London next week, on 15-16 September, showcasing “a range of the innovative solutions for the Transportation Security arena”, including:

– Systems Integration
– Access Control & Biometric Solutions
– Blast Containment
– CCTV & Monitoring
– Explosive Detection
– RFID / Tracking
– Cargo Screening
– Seals / Tamper Evident Solutions
– Perimeter Security and Intrusion Detection
– Training & Consultancy Services
– Baggage Screening
– Passenger Screening
– Physical Security

The conference includes over 30 Workshop Sessions on ‘Securing Cargo’, ‘Perimeter Security’,  ‘Passenger Security’ and ‘Terminal Security’. Click here to view the full workshop programme.

SAMURAI is a “next generation” CCTV system capable of identifying and tracking individuals “acting suspiciously” in crowded public spaces. The project has received €2.5 million in EU funding under the Fp7 security research programme.

Unlike its ninja namesake, SAMURAI uses computer algorithms to profile people’s behaviour. The system also claims to learn about how people “usually behave” in the environments where “smart CCTV” is deployed. As SAMURAI researchers explained to New Scientist magazine, the system “is designed to issue alerts when it detects behaviour that differs from the norm, and adjusts its reasoning based on feedback. So an operator might reassure the system that the person with a mop appearing to loiter in a busy thoroughfare is no threat. When another person with a mop exhibits similar behaviour, it will remember that this is not a situation that needs flagging up”.

Here’s the demonstration video:

The project is led by Queen Mary’s University in London. Partners in the EU-funded SAMURAI consortium include BAA, the Spanish-owned British airports group, UK Defence contractor Waterfall Solutions Ltd., and Elsag Datamat, the surveillance-tech subsidiary of Italian arms giant Finmeccanica.

For more information see: SAMURAI project website and “Smart CCTV learns to spot suspicious types” (New Scientist, 15.12.2009).


The Guardian reports today that “Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan” as part of a “national strategy developed by arms manufacturer BAE Systems” and “a consortium of government agencies”. You can read the full article here.

The “national strategy” to which the Guardian refers is actually the ASTRAEA project, a £32 million ‘public-private’ partnership that has been funded as part of the UK’s National Aerospace Technology Strategy. ‘NATS’, as the strategy is known, is an industry-led government initiative adopted in 2004. By the end of 2008, the initiative had attracted some £464 million in collaborative R&D funding for 70 individual programmes.

So while none of this exactly ‘news’, credit to the Guardian for its freedom of information request and provocative reporting. The comments on its article certainly show the strength of feeling against the use of drones/UAVs in the UK.

By way of clarification, there are actually two types of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs): (i) the armed and unarmed ‘drone’ planes’ to which the Guardian report refers, and (ii) much smaller miniature spy planes. The latter are basically remote-controlled aircraft fitted with cameras and are already in use in the UK and other countries.

Annotated image labeling components of police drone

The military drones the Guardian is reporting on are currently prohibited from flying in European airspace because of well-founded concerns about potential collisions with traditional aircraft. The air traffic control community is particularly suspicious, and demands that UAVs adhere to the same safety standards as their manned counterparts, which some argue render UAV systems too expensive to implement. I’d be very surprised if the “sense and avoid” systems for these kind of drones will be licensed in time for the 2012 Olympics, but governments and the aerospace industry are certainly throwing money at the problem and can be relied upon to lobby hard when the technology is in place.


SAMURAI is a 2.5 million Euro FP7 security research project that aims to “develop and integrate an innovative intelligent surveillance system for robust monitoring of both inside and surrounding areas of a critical public infrastructure”.

SAMURAI will develop a “real-time adaptive behaviour profiling and abnormality detection system for alarm event alert and prediction with much reduced false operators and mobile sensory input for patrolling security staff for a hybrid context-aware based abnornal behaviour recognition”.

A workshop on “User Requirements for Intelligent Video Systems” was held in London last week, see program. See also SAMURAI project website.

Thank’s to ICLMG Canada for sending this through. Its not a European security issue but it gets to the heart of what the NeoConOpticon is all about: the marriage of unchecked surveillance and limitless profit-making.

From Harper’s Magazine:

“British entrepreneurs launched Internet Eyes, a program that allows registered users to monitor live feeds from some of the United Kingdom’s 4.2 million surveillance cameras in order to search for a crime in progress, with cash prizes for viewers who spot the most criminals.”


And what could be wrong with what that? Wealth creation and enhanced security at its best, see Internet Eyes: http://interneteyes.co.uk/.