Surveillance Camera's in the News

(assorted press releases and news items march 2000) item: cam/tv show A Berlin program on private network RTL II that monitors by camera a household 24//6 is under fire for violating residents' human dignity (a value protected in Germany's constitution.). Media regulators meeting in Munich this week postponed the decision whether or not to order the show taken off the air until March 14th. Remote Digital Video Security; Facial Recognition and Identification Software Companies View Systems, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VYST). Can Cameras Protect Our Children at School? New digital cameras could monitor airplanes New technology allowing near infinite vision in a camera the size of a pencil eraser could enable airlines to better detect safety problems and determine the causes of crashes. Long a topic of discussion, the cameras are nearing production at a fledgling Arkansas firm that has on its board a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Already, at least one commercial airline has ordered one of the miniature cameras for inspecting its jet engines. Vision Technologies Inc. also plans cameras that can be attached to wingtips and cockpits to identify in-flight problems and record events for accident investigations. ``It's one of the most exciting things I've seen, not only in aviation but in transportation generally,'' said Jim Burnett, an NTSB member from 1981 to 1991 and chairman from 1982 to 1988. Burnett, now a transportation safety consultant, joined the Vision Technologies board in February. But his desire for cameras on commercial airlines goes back to one of his first NTSB investigations, when he said it could not be determined from data and audio recorders what pilots were referring to on an instrument panel. The NTSB last month recommended video cameras for the cockpits of all turbine-powered planes not equipped with flight data recorders. The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the industry, is considering the suggestion. The two agencies also have asked the RTCA, an advisory panel composed industry and government experts, to come up with recommendations on new flight data technology, likely including the use of cameras. Officials at Vision Technologies, based in Rogers, hope the federal attention will be catalyst for installing cameras on all commercial airplanes. ``The concept of having cameras on planes makes so much sense we should have done it a decade ago,'' said West Doss, who quit as chief of staff for U.S. Rep Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., to become president of Vision Technologies in January. ``But the technology wasn't necessarily available then, and we have it now.'' The nearly 2-year-old company plans to begin production in August on its cameras _ targeted first for airline maintenance, said Vision Technologies founder Robert Lee Thompson. He said the company anticipates a joint venture to produce other cameras that can be mounted on the outside and inside of airplanes. L-3 Communications also has developed a prototype for an airplane video recorder, but it is not near production, said Mary Gayle Wright, a spokeswoman at the company's Sarasota, Fla., division. The office of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the state Science and Technology Authority is considering a $50,000 startup loan for Vision Technologies. More state money could follow. The company's miniature digital cameras are constantly in focus, be it for an object one-half inch from the lens or something almost an infinite distance away. The cameras _ about one-quarter inch in diameter _ can rotate full circle and be controlled remotely. Originally used by surgeons, the cameras can be used by airline mechanics to inspect the inside of engines without having to take them apart. The cameras can also be attached to the tools needed for repairs. Other versions of the camera can allow pilots _ or operation crews on the ground _ to monitor a plane's mechanical parts while in flight. In the case of Alaska Airlines Flight 261, an external camera could have let the flight crew view problems with the plane's stabilizer before the jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. All 88 aboard died in the Jan. 31 crash. A camera also could have beamed images of the plane's stabilizer to maintenance crews on the ground, who could have helped analyze the problem, Doss said. ``James Bond not withstanding, no one can walk back there at jet airspeeds and take a look at it,'' Burnett said. ``The ability to do it with a camera ... might have the ability to salvage the flight.'' Miniature cameras also could catch the formation of ice on wings before takeoff, or could show the position of the landing gear when a cockpit light indicates a problem, Burnett said. The only way to view the landing gear now is to fly up in another plane, he said. Had a camera been in the cockpit of EgyptAir Flight 990, it could have shown what happened before the plane mysteriously plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on Oct. 31. But the nation's largest pilots union has several concerns about placing cameras in cockpits. The Air Line Pilots Association wants a law barring the release of videos to the public or the use of them in any punishments against pilots. ``It's a privacy issue for us, and we absolutely oppose the installation of cockpit video recorders until protection provisions are in place to prevent the misuse of the information,'' said Anya Piazza, a spokeswoman for the union that represents 51 commercial airlines in the United States and Canada and about 55,000 pilots. Burnett said it is possible the cameras could be pointed only at the instrument panels, leaving pilots' faces out of the picture. If that's the case, Piazza said the cameras could provide a good supplement to flight data and cockpit voice recorders. ``The technology is there, it's just a matter of putting it into mass production,'' Burnett said. SRC:AP * DARBY, Pa.--A 62-year-old woman was stabbed Friday as she walked to a grocery store, but she didn't notice the knife sticking out of her back until after she had gone shopping and returned home, police said. The woman, whose name was not released, apparently thought her attacker had only punched her, and no one in the store said anything to her, even though a surveillance camera showed the woman pushing a cart with the knife clearly visible. She was hospitalized in fair condition after her daughter noticed the knife when she returned home and removed it. The Traffic Jams Are No Accident; Study Blames Backups onCrowding The Intelligent Transportation Society of America, which advocates high-tech programs to handle traffic incidents, has estimated that adopting such measures can cut the nonrecurring delays by 10 to 45 percent. Better detectors along the road and a larger network of traffic cameras, for example, could alert police and highway officials to disabled cars so they could respond faster and reopen closed lanes. New technology could notify motorists through cellular phones and e-mail, possibly even in their cars, so they could take alternative routes. PM-Smart Pumps,0436 Shell testing robotic gas pump Eds: Longer version on business wire. AP Photo NA102; AP Graphic GAS ROBOT By AMY FORLITI= Associated Press Writer= WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) _ Shell Oil Co. is testing a robotic fuel pump that would allow drivers to gas up without leaving their cars. Not all motorists are pumped up about the prospect. Rob Krakora, an electrical engineer who has worked with robots, doesn't trust the computerized SmartPump to work properly. ``No way. I ain't gonna scratch this baby,'' Krakora said Wednesday, patting his sport utility vehicle. ``I've seen robots go wild, it could go through my windshield. It's just not worth it.'' Shell begins test marketing the pumps in this affluent Indianapolis suburb this month. The company plans to charge an extra $1 per fill-up just as gasoline prices are rising and the end of winter removes a big incentive for staying behind the wheel. Still, Shell project manager Jerry Buri said Wednesday that more than 1,000 customers have already signed up to use the pumps in the handful of stations where they will be available. ``Obviously we're looking at the system being a more popular product in bad weather conditions because people would be more inclined to want to stay in their car then,'' he said. Tom Osborne, spokesman for the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, said several other companies, including Exxon Mobil, are experimenting with different versions of robotic systems. By RON JENKINS= Associated Press Writer= OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Another vote is expected in the Oklahoma Senate on a bill that would permit Tulsa and Oklahoma City to use cameras to catch motorists running red lights. The bill failed on a 27-19 vote Wednesday after its author, a conservative senator from Tulsa, took considerable ribbing for sponsoring ``big brother'' legislation. Republican Sen. James Williamson kept the measure alive through a parliamentary move. He has until Monday to bring it up for another vote or it will die. Most of the Wednesday's criticism of the bill came from Democrats, who accused Williamson of backing ``liberal'' legislation that would allow the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Keith Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, called it a ``radical'' increase in police power. Sen. Lewis Long, D-Glenpool, said he couldn't support such ``a liberal bill'' that was ``very dangerous.'' He predicted it would lead to wholesale government spying. ``They're going to spy on you on the street corner. They're going to spy on you in your yard next.'' Some senators criticized the bill because the owner of a vehicle would be subject to a fine, not necessarily the person who was in a car at the time it ran a red light. Williamson said that provision could be amended out of the bill. He stressed that the measure would be limited to 15 intersections in each of the state's two largest cities. He said it only authorized demonstration programs that would be sunsetted after three years. Also, Williamson said, only administrative fines of $35 would be issued to someone caught on camera running a red light. The fines would not count on a motorist's driving record. He said it was important to remember that running red lights is an offense that often causes serious injury. He said other traffic violations would not be covered under the proposed law. The proposal drew the backing of Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage and the Tulsa City Council in a resolution adopted last month. SOURCE: Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press 03/09/2000 02:05:09 Eds: First moved for AMs. GARY, Ind. (AP) _ Motorists traveling on Interstates 94 and 65 in Lake County better get used to somebody watching them. By this fall, 22 video surveillance cameras mounted on steel towers will be erected along the highways as part of a $12 million project to improve traffic flow, said Troy Boyd, freeway operations manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation. ``It's not Big Brother. Don't say that,'' Boyd said. ``We just want to be able to monitor traffic and get a more efficient flow.'' When backups or accidents occur, road sensors will trigger alarms in trucks staffed by Hoosier Helpers, who aid motorists. ``From their trucks, the Hoosier Helpers will be able to activate the video cameras and view monitors to verify the problem and then send the police, the fire department or emergency medical responders,'' he said. The first cameras will be spaced about one mile apart and located at interchanges along I-65 between U.S. 30 and 49th Avenue. They will be installed in the next two months while contractors are adding a third lane to the highway in each direction. The rest of the cameras will be in place by October. Boyd promised the surveillance cameras will not be used to help police track speeders. ``No, we won't do that. It's strictly designed for traffic monitoring,'' Boyd said. INDOT also plans to use digital message boards to help motorists avoid trouble spots and provide information on road conditions as far away as Wisconsin. ``So, if there's a problem on I-94, we can tell that it might be better to take I-294 and go around Chicago if you're going to Milwaukee,'' he said. The use of electronic monitoring equipment is not limited to the region's interstate highways. State officials had cameras placed on the U.S. 30 retail corridor last summer to help manage the route's heavy stream of east-west traffic. The cameras sent signals to the devices that control traffic lights, INDOT engineer Michael Yucollo said. ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ The secret videotaping of people's bodies should be recognized for the crime it is, especially when those images are distributed over the Internet, state senators say. Sen. Dean Skelos, a Nassau County Republican, said Friday state laws currently do not appear to bar the videotaping in public places of unsuspecting people _ typically young women _ with hidden cameras. Specifically, these ``video voyeurs'' angle cameras in ways that can take images up women's skirts or down their blouses, Skelos said. Often, the images are then collected or swapped on the Internet. Skelos said entire sites devoted to ``upskirt'' or ``down blouse'' photographs are available, as is information on how to get the special cameras needed for such surreptitious videotaping. Law enforcement officials have discovered that a virtual ``subculture'' of people who get sexual gratification from seeing such materials has begun to crop up, Skelos said. ``We must empower our local police departments to apprehend and convict these sexual offenders,'' the legislator said. ``It is crucial that we stay current with the advances in modern technology and that we protect the privacy and dignity of our wives and daughters.'' The Senate legislation would make it a Class A misdemeanor to secretly make such videotapes and a Class E felony to transmit the images of people taken without their consent over the Internet. Convictions of Class A misdemeanors carry fines of up to $1,000 and jail sentences of up to a year in New York. A Class E felony carries with it a prison sentence of up to four years. The new provisions are being added to legislation introduced last year by Sen. Carl Marcellino, another Long Island Republican, prohibiting other forms of unauthorized videotaping. That bill was drafted in response to a case where a landlord had planted several video cameras to secretly record the activities of his tenants, said an aide to Marcellino. Starting Jan. 1, California has had a law making it a misdemeanor to secretly photograph someone under their clothing for sexual gratification. The California law was prompted by the discovery of hidden cameras at Disneyland, the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival and at the beach in Orange County, Calif. Many of the images of young women taken at those tourist spots were placed on the Internet. California law enforcement officials were unable to file charges against the photographers because there was no specific law against the activity. Image Sensing Systems, Inc. Receives Order for Expansion ofAutoscope(R) Installations in Oakland County, Michigan PR News Wire via Dow Jones SAINT PAUL, Minn., March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Image Sensing Systems, Inc. (ISS) (Nasdaq: ISNS) announced today that the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), Michigan has authorized the immediate delivery of an additional 24 Autoscope-2004 and four Autoscope-V8 wide area video vehicle detection systems. This is the first phase of a contract awarded to Traffic Control Corp., a distributor of Econolite Control Products, Inc., the exclusive Autoscope marketer in North America, as part of an expansion of the FAST-TRAC project of RCOC. This latest expansion project will have a total of 48 Autoscope 2004 and eight Autoscope 2004 V8 units. The goal of the FAST-TRAC project is to improve traffic safety and reduce congestion in Oakland County (MI) through the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The FAST-TRAC project in Oakland County, Mich. is the largest system-wide installation of video vehicle detection in the world, which uses more than 1,200 Autoscope cameras performing critical vehicle detection and traffic data collection at more than 350 intersections, having been in operation since 1992. Bill Russell, Chairman and CEO of ISS said, "The expansion of Autoscope intersections in the FAST-TRAC project signals that machine vision's use in fully-actuated detection is both accurate and cost-effective without the installation of in-ground sensors of any type. Autoscope has proven itself in Oakland County since 1992, when the first 31 four-camera systems were installed and integrated with SCATS, an adaptive traffic control system. This expansion phase includes the introductory deployment of eight-camera Autoscope systems (Autoscope-V8) in Oakland Co." Based in Saint Paul, Minn., Image Sensing Systems, Inc., the developer and marketer of Autoscope, is the world leader in products applying video imaging technology for implementation in advanced traffic management systems (ATMS). Autoscope functionality includes intersection detection, freeway incident detection and traffic data collection to help reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption, air pollution, travel time, enhance motorist safety and improve roadway planning. ISS has more than 3,000 Autoscope systems installed in more than 30 countries around the world, including a large number of U.S. cities. The Company is particularly suited to provide technical solutions to the emerging ITS market worldwide. Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This report contains "forward-looking statements" made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. There are certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those anticipated by some of the statements made, as listed in the Company's 1999 Annual Form 10-KSB. For more information, contact Karen J. Snedeker, Partner of BlueFire Partners, 612-344-1024, for Image Sensing Systems, Inc., or William L. Russell, Chairman & CEO of Image Sensing Systems, Inc., 651-603-7700. /CONTACT: Karen J. Snedeker, Partner of BlueFire Partners, 612-344-1024, for Image Sensing Systems, Inc., or William L. Russell, Chairman & CEO of Image Sensing Systems, Inc., 651-603-7700/ 12:38 EST Pataki Renews Call For Courtroom Cameras The New York Times via Dow Jones Publication Date: Friday March 17, 2000 Metropolitan Desk; Section B; Page 7, Column 1 c. 2000 New York Times Company AP ALBANY -- Gov. George E. Pataki renewed his call yesterday for cameras to be allowed in New York State's courtrooms for two years in the wake of the generally well-received coverage of the Amadou Diallo trial. New York's most recent experiment with allowing cameras into courtrooms expired in 1997. State Assembly Democrats in particular said they wanted to rethink the law in light of the media frenzy and courtroom excesses of the O. J. Simpson trial in California. But several New York judges have opened their courtrooms to cameras after a judge in Albany ruled during the Diallo trial that the state's law banning cameras in courtrooms was unconstitutional. 05:53 EST March 17, 2000 Copyright (c) 2000 The New York Times Co. Senate kills eye-in-the-sky traffic cameras By MARK R. CHELLGREN= Associated Press Writer= FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ The Kentucky Senate Monday killed the idea of eye-in-the-sky traffic cameras at intersections to catch drivers who run red lights. But without debate or discussion, the Senate passed a bill to raise the speed limit on limited access highways to70 mph and potentially on many two-lane roads to 65 mph. The surveillance cameras would be triggered by vehicles running red lights. The cameras are designed to catch the license plate number and a computer automatically spits out a traffic ticket to the owner of the plate with a $64.40 penalty _ $20 for a fine and the rest for various costs assessed by the state and courts. Such a ticket would not carry points against a driver's license. The only way to fight a ticket would be for a vehicle owner to claim someone else was driving the vehicle or the plate was stolen. Sen. David Boswell, D-Owensboro, said such a system turned upside down the traditional judicial system into ``guilty until proven innocent.'' Supporters said the issue was safety, not privacy. ``It's not really an invasion of big brother,'' said Sen. Walter Blevins, D-West Liberty. The vote, which wound up nine in favor of the bill and 24 against, drew some laughter as senators scrambled to change their votes after defeat became obvious. Three members who were in attendance declined to take sides, including Sen. Alice Kerr, a Republican from Lexington, where local officials want to post such cameras. ``I think we should question the laughter and take this matter a little more seriously,'' said Sen. Charlie Borders, R-Russell. Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, said the changes appeared to be like ``rats leaving a sinking ship.'' A few moments after the comment, Williams also switched to vote against the bill. Seven senators voted against the bill to increase the speed limit by 5 mph on limited access highways, such as interstates and parkways. A 65 mph speed limit would be for all other state highways, unless the Transportation Cabinet ordered a lower limit for safety reasons. The bill would also set a 35 mph speed limit in residential or business districts and 15 mph in parking lots. The bill now goes to the House, where its fate is uncertain. House Transportation Committee Chairman Hubert Collins, D-Wittensville, has declined to consider similar legislation. The legislation on intersection cameras is Senate Bill 353. The speed limit bill is Senate Bill 292. Don't bother smiling when you walk into your bank: You're probably not on camera. ``I hate to say it, but a lot of times we go to a 7-Eleven or a Circle K and they have better cameras and security systems than banks,'' said Dan Ward, the FBI's bank robbery coordinator for Montana, Utah and Idaho. Great Falls police and FBI agents have worked on two bank robberies for months with only hazy descriptions from witnesses instead of security video photos. Western Security Bank's cameras weren't working when a robber walked in last Aug. 18. And when a man and woman hit First Interstate Bank on Oct. 30, the cameras provided images only of the backs of their heads. Both banks have made corrections since losing the money. Cascade County Attorney Brant Light says his office has noticed problems with security cameras recently because of a rash of cases where photos were needed, but not available. The FBI has a long list of common snafus with surveillance cameras: _Cameras too high or too far away to get details of faces. _Cameras pointed at employees instead of customers. _Grainy videos because of poor-quality cameras. _Foggy images because the same videotape is used over and over. _Multicamera systems that switch from camera to camera, but record on only one tape, so most areas are not covered all the time. _Plants, signs or other objects blocking cameras. _Cameras that scan often miss the few seconds when a robber faces them. _Lenses undusted, VCR not cleaned, broken cameras unrepaired. In December a man successfully swapped a $20 bill for a $100 bill at five Great Falls banks, a convenience store and a casino, all of which had security cameras. The photos showed little more than dark globs. Ward said about 90 percent of banks have security cameras that function only about three-fourths of the time. ``We've seen banks that don't have any cameras, and we've seen banks that have fake cameras,'' he said. ``We've seen videos that look terrible, where you can't tell the sex, height, age, race, nothing. It'll be just a shadow of a guy.'' Ward said banks justify their poor systems by saying bank robberies are rare. They believe they can save more by pointing their cameras at employees instead of potential robbers. ``For every one dollar they lose in bank robberies they lose 11 to employee theft,'' he said. FBI statistics indicate Montana has six to 12 bank robberies a year. ``Banks that haven't gotten hit in 10 years get complacent, and they don't switch tapes and they don't clean their lenses,'' Ward said. ``That bank will get hit, and then they make improvements.'' First Interstate made improvements in all three of its Great Falls branches after it was robbed last October. Diane Bodnar, assistant vice president for Great Falls operations, said First Interstate spent $9,000 to improve the system. Western Security's problems were minor and easy to fix, said Executive Vice President Jim Salisbury, who is in charge of security at all of Western Security's Montana banks. He said equipment has been upgraded at several bank, but not in Great Falls. Western Security banks were robbed four times between March and August last year _ in Missoula, Butte, Helena and Great Falls. SOURCE: AP-NY-03-18-00 1704EST Protecting the Neighborhood by Video Camera Los Angeles Times via Dow Jones Publication Date: Sunday March 19, 2000 Page K-13 Los Angeles Times (Home Edition) Copyright 2000 / The Times Mirror Company From Inman New Features Keeping on eye on the neighborhood used to involve watching your neighbor's house or sitting on a porch and watching the world go by. Now there's technology for the neighborhood watch. Soon, in Macomb Township, Mich., homeowners will be able to keep an eye on the 'hood by watching TV or logging on to the Internet. There, they can find images captured by video cameras placed in common areas, like the community pool and playgrounds. The real-time video is fed into a TV cable and onto the Web, where images are accessible by entering a password. It's the first-known suburban surveillance system of its kind. Cornerstone Village and nearby Brittany Park, two new communities featuring the technology, are nearly complete. The developers for both hired national security firm ADT to mount closed-circuit video cameras around the communities. Some see the cameras as a Big Brother-esque invasion of privacy, even if they are placed in public places. "It may provide parents with a greater feeling of security," Robert Sampson, a University of Chicago sociology professor, told the Detroit News. "The negative side is that there is sense of futuristic control to the whole thing." Video cameras: Big Brother in theburbs? 2 Macomb Township neighborhoods like electronic sentinels By Mark Truby / The Detroit News MACOMB TOWNSHIP -- Think of it as neighborhood watch for the 21st century. Homeowners in two new Macomb Township subdivisions soon will be able to keep an eye on their little corner of suburbia by turning on their TVs or logging on to the Internet. The developers of Cornerstone Village and Brittany Park hired ADT, a national security company, to mount closed-circuit video cameras in common areas such as the community pool and playgrounds. At Brittany Park, the video feeds will be piped into the television cable and residents will be able to flip to a channel to keep tabs on the neighborhood. At Cornerstone Village, the real-time video will be accessible with a password on the Internet. The developers are billing the surveillance systems as the first of their kind, the type of modern amenity that will set their houses apart from the crowded field.To others, the project only contributes to the erosion of privacy and smacks of a "Big Brother" surveillance society. "It may provide parents with a greater feeling of security," said Robert Sampson, a University of Chicago sociology professor. "The negative side is that there is a sense of futuristic control to the whole thing." More than 400 homes Cornerstone Village is under construction and will have about 400 homes, costing from $170,000 to $300,000, when finished. Its sister subdivision, 114-home Brittany Park, is nearly complete. Some residents of new subdivisions are looking forward to the completion of the video system. "I can't wait to get it in," said Tina Young, who lives in Brittany Park with her husband and three children. "It definitely had something to do with why we moved here." Fourteen-year-old Brittany Park resident Jennifer McCarthy, on the other hand, says the cameras won't be popular with her and her teen-age friends. "I'm sure we will be like 'Lets get away from the camera' when we are talking at the bus stop," said McCarthy, who baby-sits smaller children in the neighborhood. "I don't think it will upset anybody, but it will feel like we are being monitored." The idea for neighborhood video surveillance grew out of an effort to create a more complete subdivision, said Paul Aragona, one of the developers. With America looking more critically at the sometimes isolating effects of suburban life, developers set out to create a neighborhood rather then merely a row of homes. Community pools, playgrounds, walkways and covered bus stops were integrated into the design. "There is no place to congregate in most neighborhoods," Aragona said. "The amenities have really given us a leg up on the market." But where do cameras pointed at playgrounds fit into this cozy picture? Americans have long been queasy about being watched on video. Popular movies like Enemy of the State and The Truman Show have explored the issue of dwindling privacy in a technologically advanced society. Even so, being videotaped has become a fact of life, whether when making a withdrawal from the bank or driving through an intersection. Security companies report record sales of products such as home-camera systems that allow residents to see who's at the front door by changing the television channel. To some, such technology is entrenched in American society. A subdivision camera system is merely the latest application."I know there is a lot of fear about these things, but we are not invading anybody's privacy," said Ron Burt, a security consultant for ADT. "The cameras will be in public places." That's just what concerns Paul Edwards, a University of Michigan professor who teaches the history of technology."We expect to be watched in a bank, but not in pools and parks," Edwards said. "It's a small-scale project, but it's the kind of thing that can snowball if people like it. The question is: What is your right to privacy in open spaces?" Edwards warns that the system could be misused. "Unintended consequences are always possible with technology," he said. Security vs. privacy Jennifer Dwojakowski, who is moving to Cornerstone Village this fall with her husband, Dale, sees a trade-off."Unfortunately, some people might use it for the wrong reason. But I think the advantages outweigh any negatives," she said. For example, on a rainy morning, parents will be able to watch their children get on the bus without breaking out the umbrella. A mouse click from the home or the office will reveal whether the pool is crowded or let parents know if the kids have left the playground to come home for dinner. While it might be annoying to kids at first, "after a while they will probably just go on their merry way," said Matty Candela, a Brittany Park resident and mother of two young children. Young foresees the cameras making the neighborhood a little safer place for her children to play."The older boys are a little on the rougher side," Young said. "It might keep them behaving better because they know they are being watched by their parents and the entire subdivision." Father John Staudenmaier, a professor of history and technology at University of Detroit Mercy, says that while the system could be handy for busy parents and help keep kids in line, it's a fundamentally flawed idea. "What's missing, and what is needed so much, is interaction between parent and child," Staudenmaier said.Ultimately, some say, installing public surveillance system becomes a question of giving up some privacy to gain a sense of security. "It really speaks to our basic fear of the world," said Ellen Taylor, an Ann Arbor child and family psychologist. "People have real concerns that the world is not a safe place. But you have to remember, it's not only you watching your kids, but everybody else." High-tech home security Companies report that the residential security industry in Metro Detroit is booming. Here are some of the hottest high-tech items. * Monitored carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: The detectors not only sound an alarm, but alert a security company that contacts homeowners or police and fire agencies. * Rate-of-rise heat sensors: Monitors rapid rise in heat in kitchens and attics and can alert police and fire agencies. The sensors would not be set off by a small kitchen fire or smoke without heat. * Low-temperature sensors: Detects dramatic drops in home temperature. Often used by snowbirds who want to make sure their heat doesn't fail during the winter, leading to burst pipes. * Wireless closed-circuit cameras: Homeowners often mount cameras near the front door, security gate and driveway. * Audio/video baby monitors: Parents can turn on television and watch and listen to their child. * Smart phones: Homeowner can control home security system, light timers, thermostat and other electrical devices by phone. PARIS (AP) A French court on Friday handed down a $17,800 fine to fashion designer Michele Azzaro for invasion of privacy after listening devices were discovered in the office of her former press secretary. Olivia Couturier filed a complaint after discovering a microphone hidden in a baseboard of her office at the fashion house, where Azzaro lived, in 1997. Azzaro also received a four-month suspended sentence. Azzaro claimed the microphone was a security device to survey the office. ``There wasn't anything to survey in my office besides myself,'' Couturier told the court. Other employees also testified they had been placed under surveillance, but had not filed complaints. During a January 1998 search, police found so many interlacing wires, microphones and cameras in the fashion house that one expert told the court the designer had risked electrocuting herself. Subdivision cameras creepy, but Big Brother's already watching By Laura Berman / The Detroit News It's a brave new world, all right, and a few hundred people in two new Macomb Township subdivisions are among the bravest. Tina Young, for example. She and her husband moved from Warren to a house in the Brittany Park subdivision last December, drawn by the spacious homes, the promise of a ready-made community, and a closed-circuit television system that will allow them to watch the kids swimming in the pool or waiting for the school bus. "We thought about the closed circuit TV system, and we think it's a positive thing," says Young, 29. "It's one of the reasons we moved here." But any new wrinkle in video-enabled life sets off warning bells in those of us attuned, at least in principle, to the idea that surveillance is, uh, creepy. When George Orwell wrote 1984, he introduced the unnerving notion of Big Brother watching you. Now, out on 22 Mile Road, there's a subdivision with surveillance cameras, and a new vision of post-millennial parenthood: "Oh, look, there's little Jason beating up his sister on channel three. Let's bring him in for questioning." It's not a big leap to see the happy new residents of Brittany Park as unwitting Stepford husbands and wives, serenely unaware they've plunged into the Twilight Zone as they grill steaks on the deck and flip their remote controls. Since Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Truby detailed the camera systems in Brittany Park and another Macomb Township subdivision last week, the developments have received national media attention. As a society, we tend to approach technology the way dogs approach strangers: sniffing warily and ready to dodge at the slightest hint of danger. Are the cameras in Brittany Park destroying privacy? Or are they like test tube babies: a concept that inspired sensational headlines 15 years ago, and has since become practically humdrum reproductive technology today? As a 29-year-old mother of three, Young has a baby in diapers, a son heading off to kindergarten, and a strong interest in convenience. If she can turn on the television set and see that the pool is too crowded with teen-agers for her toddling children, she can skip the pool and hang tight in the great room of her Stratford model home. "Otherwise, I've got to pack up the water wings, the snacks, the towels, the sunscreen, dress everybody, walk to the pool -- and then decide to come home," explains Young. Besides, the cameras aren't trained on anyone's homes: They're posted in only a few sites. Young says she'll appreciate being able to watch her son get off the school bus on her TV set, rather than bundling up the baby and heading into the snow and ice to meet him. As a culture, we're attracted, perhaps fatally, to convenience. There was a time when plastic bags lacked Ziplocs, telephones didn't take messages and filled coffee mugs couldn't easily ride in the car. Nearly every day, you and I make choices that almost imperceptibly whittle away whatever slim veneer of privacy we still retain. Before you decide that your world is far more private than the brave new subdivision of Brittany Park, you may want to remember that the cameras are whirring in the department store dressing room, the telephone names every caller and your ATM card is watching you. Laura Berman's column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the Metro section. Reach her at (248) 647-7221 or BC-SCI-US-Biometric Bouncer,0661 Company roots out troublemakers with biometric bouncing technology By TOM KIRCHOFER= AP Business Writer= BOSTON (AP) _ The same technology that helps secure nuclear plants and root out welfare fraud is about to be used to help keep the riffraff out of bars. Keyware Technologies has signed a deal to provide its software to 15 Dutch nightclubs that want to ensure that once troublemakers are shown to the door, they never return. Nightclub patrons would be issued ID cards that must be swiped through a scanner before a person can enter the club. While the card is scanned, the patron will have his or her fingerprints verified by a computerized reader, and a computerized camera will match facial features to ensure the person trying to get into the club is the same person to whom the card was issued. ``People who are causing violence; that's who they're targeting to get out of the nightclubs,'' said Elizabeth Marshall, a spokeswoman for Keyware, which developed the security system. ``If you're arrested the weekend before, it will flag that so you won't be allowed to go in.'' The technology is called ``biometrics'' and it involves using computers to analyze physical features to determine identity. Though the technology has been around for years, it's only just beginning to make its way into the mainstream. Keyware has been in business since 1996 and had revenues of dlrs 12 million last year. The nightclub deal _ a partnership with a Dutch computer solutions firm called Interstrat _ is worth about dlrs 4 million. The company employs 135 people around the world, 20 at its headquarters in Woburn. Other Keyware projects include a venture with Sony for a biometrically protected laptop computer now being marketed in Europe and Asia. The computer has a built-in camera, microphone and fingerprint reader so it can analyze a user's face, voice and fingerprints. ``The screen saver is biometrically locked, so if you walk away from your desk, no one else can jump on your computer,'' said Keyware product manager John Brockberg. The company also is working on a security system for the city of Baltimore, which hopes to use the software in place of security guards. Rick Norton, executive director of the International Biometric Industry Association, said the most common use of biometrics is by employers who want to make sure workers don't leave the job early and have a friend punch out for them. The technology also is popular at highly secure facilities such as nuclear power plants, and the state of Connecticut uses it to try to prevent welfare fraud. But Norton said Keyware's nightclub deal could be a harbinger of a wider use of biometrics. ``They are starting to come into more general public use,'' he said. ``Systems with financial transactions will probably be the first noticed by the consumer.'' Marshall said Keyware may expand further in its effort to secure nightspots; talks are under way with an additional 15 Dutch clubs interested in biometric security systems. The equipment currently is being installed in the first 15 Dutch clubs, although to date no American clubs have shown interest. Marshall was not aware of any particular problems in the Dutch clubs now, but they do remain open through the night and into the morning. ``There's certainly that combination of alcohol and adrenalin that get people kind of crazy,'' she said. Eventually, the clubs may join together to form a database to keep track of troublemakers, she added. Lorenzo Clay, the head doorman at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, is not convinced he and his fellow bouncers would need the high-tech help. The gadgetry might just make his job more difficult, he says. Besides, he already knows the faces of the people who have caused trouble. ``It would be a distraction,'' Clay said. ``And it would probably just be time-consuming.'' AP-NY-03-15-00 2118EST 03/15/2000 21:18:08 Video Spying by Pasadena School Police ChiefAlleged Surveillance: Official is put on paid leave during investigation of claims that he put a remote camera in an area where employees change clothes. Los Angeles Times via Dow Jones Publication Date: Saturday March 25, 2000 Page B-1 Los Angeles Times (Home Edition) Copyright 2000 / The Times Mirror Company By RICHARD WINTON SPECIAL TO THE TIMES The top police officer for the Pasadena Unified School District has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into allegations that he placed a video camera in a storage room where employees change their clothes, school officials said Friday. Police Chief Jarado L. Blue, 47, was taken off active duty Thursday after officials received two anonymous tips about the alleged electronic spying in an area where police employees regularly undress, said district spokesman Chuck Champlin. "Although the charge is circumstantial, it is serious," said Champlin. Until his leave, Blue supervised a department of 11 sworn and armed police officers who patrol the public schools in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre. Champlin said Blue has acknowledged testing the video camera on one occasion for 20 minutes in the room. "[Blue] said the test was done during a portion of the day when no one was undressing," he added. Blue could not be reached for comment. School board member Alex P. Aghajanian said Friday that he had not been informed of the allegations. Blue's leave, he said, "is the best step for Jarado and everybody involved until it's determined what is going on here." District officials said the remote video camera, which sends a picture to a separate monitor, was purchased by the school police after a series of break-ins. Before its installation, it was kept in the storage room in plain sight, district officials said. The police supply room, Champlin said, is a lockable multipurpose room where a microwave oven, a small refrigerator and photocopier paper are kept. "Over time it has become a place used by both male and female employees as a locker room," he said. At the time the allegations were made, the camera already had been moved to monitor a school for break-ins, Champlin said. The district has not alerted the Pasadena Police Department because it wants to handle the matter itself, Champlin said. It is setting up a five-member panel to investigate the allegations. Blue joined the Pasadena school police force in 1992 and was appointed its chief a year later. Born and raised in Pasadena, Blue was a Pasadena city police officer for 13 years, leaving in 1983 to run his own car detailing business and act as a security consultant for Super Shuttle International. (END) 06:30 EST March 25, 2000 Boca Raton, Fla.-Based Security-System Firm Will Keep Eye on Olympics By Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake Tribune Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Mar. 23--Sensormatic Electronics Corp. makes a security camera that resembles a small snowman. Its bottom half swivels around, providing 360-degree photographic coverage. Its range can be magnified 176 times, enough to read a license plate on a car deep in a crowded parking lot. It has night vision. It can cope with severe weather. And it can be attached to digital recorders, permitting rapid retrieval of whatever images security forces may need. "I'm sure we'll be using a whole lot of these little things" during the 2002 Winter Olympics, said Per-Olof Loof, president of Sensormatic, which was named Wednesday as the official electronic-security sponsor of those Games and U.S. Olympic teams from 2000 to 2004. The versatile cameras will be part of an integrated security system that will protect the perimeter of venues from intrusions and keep Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) equipment from being stolen. Sensormatic set up the electronic-security system for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Loof said his company is applying the "next generation" of technological expertise to the development of instruments that will enhance coverage in 2002. He could not say specifically what characteristics those devices will display -- "technology moves quickly ... it's still on the drawing board, and should be two years out" -- but promised that the Salt Lake Games will not be a "guinea pig" for untested equipment. "We looked to the world's best, and Sensormatic is the world's best," said SLOC President Mitt Romney. Terms were not disclosed. Sponsorships generally are close to $20 million. Romney said Sensormatic's sponsorship is heavy on VIK, shorthand for "value-in-kind" donations of goods and services, but also includes a cash contribution. The company also will help provide security for the American teams competing in Sydney, Salt Lake City and Athens. It also will set up electronic-surveillance equipment at U.S. Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs, Chula Vista, Calif. and Lake Placid, N.Y. SLOC hopes to secure up to four sponsors or suppliers to meet security needs within Olympic venues, including the athletes village. Sensormatic is based in Boca Raton, Fla. It has 5,700 employees. ----- To see more of The Salt Lake Tribune, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to (c) 2000, The Salt Lake Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune BusinessNews. SRM, BC-OH--Police Investigation,0414 Police say officerused excessive force on 68-year-old man CINCINNATI (AP) _ A police officer could be disciplined after police investigators concluded he used excessive force when he body-slammed a 68-year-old man with Alzheimer's. Officer Robert J. Hill III used excessive force during the November confrontation with Robert Wittenberg, according to the internal police report released Tuesday. Police investigators said, however, they could not determine whether Hill caused the injuries because Wittenberg's lawyer had not responded to their requests for a medical report of the injuries. Wittenberg's wife, Mary, complained to police that her husband suffered several broken bones when Hill slammed the 160-pound man to the floor. Hill's actions were captured on video by a surveillance camera at the Cincinnati convenience story where it happened. The Wittenbergs are suing the city for $2 million, accusing the officer of using excessive force and committing battery and false imprisonment. Keith Fangman, president of a Fraternal Order of Police chapter that represents Cincinnati officers, said he wants to read the internal police report before commenting. Hill awaits a disciplinary hearing before a superior officer who will make a recommendation to Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. The chief may recommend discipline up to dismissal. City Manager John Shirey makes the final decision. The officer has been confined to desk duty, but is still on full pay until the case is resolved, police spokesman Lt. Ray Ruberg said Wednesday. Hill was called to the store on a complaint that an apparently intoxicated man with a drill in his hand was threatening people. The officer subdued Wittenberg and took away the drill before taking him home. The officer did not arrest Wittenberg, a retired pipe fitter from suburban Silverton. The next day, Wittenberg was taken by ambulance to University Hospital. He suffered two fractured vertebra, four broken ribs, right and left pelvic fractures, a broken right clavicle, a punctured lung and lacerated liver. Donald Moore, Wittenberg's attorney, said Wittenberg had not been drinking when he entered the store. Wittenberg, who also had a paint brush, had been doing yard work before wandering from his home two miles from the store, Moore said. SOURCE: AP-NY-03-22-00 2302EST Vehicle surveillance system incorporating remote video and data input U.S. Patents Abstract: The present structure incorporates a police vehicle which is provided with a closed vault securing a VCR in the trunk. A first camera is mounted on the dash. A second camera is mounted on a portable structure such as a clipboard which is removed from the vehicle. A telemetry link from the clipboard to the vehicle is established for transmitting video data to and from the police officer on foot out of the vehicle. Likewise, a digital data transmission link is established with various input and output devices on the clipboard. At the vehicle, one or more images are recorded on a VCR, and digital data can be transmitted from the vehicle to a remote site for communication with a remotely located police computer or other data base to enable enhanced performance in the field. Ex Claim Text: A method of conducting a police investigation by a police officer in a police car wherein the method comprises the steps of: (a) storing a portable surveillance device comprising a portable video camera and a digital data input device in the police car; (b) moving from the police car while carrying the portable surveillance device to form a video image having a field of view controlled by movements of an officer from the police car; (c) inputting digital data pertinent to the police investigation into the digital data input device; (d) transmitting the video image to the police car; (e) transmitting the digital data to the police car; (f) receiving response data pertinent to the input digital data using the portable surveillance device; (g) recording the transmitted video image and the digital data on cassette in the police car; and (h) recording the video image and the digital data on cassette at a location in the police car which is hidden from view. Patent Number: 6037977 Issue Date: 2000 03 14 If you would like to purchase a copy of this patent, please call MicroPatent at 800-648-6787. Ultrak Receives $1 Million Order From the Aladdin Casino LEWISVILLE, Texas, March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Ultrak, Inc. (Nasdaq: ULTK) today announced that it has received the order for the entire CCTV system of the new Aladdin casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sale includes over 400 KD6 domes, over 250 KD5 domes, multiplexers, VCRs and monitors. Ultrak is also providing the Aladdin with full VCR management through its patented MAX-1000 Video Management System. The total value of this sale was approximately $1 million. Installation is currently underway and the casino is scheduled to be open for business in August 2000. Director of Surveillance for the Aladdin, Gary Vicchairelli stated that Ultrak was awarded the contract because of "the advanced technology of its video management system, the MAX-1000 and outstanding camera quality." Vicchairelli is the former Director of Surveillance at the Desert Inn Casino where Ultrak provided the CCTV system in 1998. Ultrak(R), Inc. designs, manufactures markets and services innovative electronic products and systems for the security and surveillance, industrial video and professional audio markets. A worldwide presence enables Ultrak to set itself apart by providing Enterprise Security Solutions (ESS(TM)) to meet the unique security and surveillance needs of growing businesses and government entities. Ultrak(R) is a registered trademark of Ultrak, Inc. 2000. SOURCE: Ultrak, Inc. Web site: