Security tool guarantees privacy in surveillance footage
source: news.mit.edu | image: pixabay.com
“Privid” could help officials gather secure public health data or enable transportation departments to monitor the density and flow of pedestrians, without learning personal information about people.
Surveillance cameras have an identity problem, fueled by an inherent tension between utility and privacy. As these powerful little devices have cropped up seemingly everywhere, the use of machine learning tools has automated video content analysis at a massive scale — but with increasing mass surveillance, there are currently no legally enforceable rules to limit privacy invasions.
Security cameras can do a lot — they’ve become smarter and supremely more competent than their ghosts of grainy pictures past, the ofttimes “hero tool” in crime media. (“See that little blurry blue blob in the right hand corner of that densely populated corner — we got him!”) Now, video surveillance can help health officials measure the fraction of people wearing masks, enable transportation departments to monitor the density and flow of vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, and provide businesses with a better understanding of shopping behaviors. But why has privacy remained a weak afterthought?