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
``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
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.,
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
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.
* 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
_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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
* 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,"
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
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 email@example.com.
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
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
``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
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
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
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
``It would be a distraction,'' Clay said. ``And it would probably just be
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
"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
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
"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
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 http://www.sltrib.com
(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
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
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: http://www.ultrak.com/