Comment on UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Office Latest Blog Post

Jenny Gilmer, Assistant Chief Constable at South Wales police and the CCTV Lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), posted an excellent guest entry on Tony Porter’s, the UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner, blog.

You can find it here:

We applaud these initiatives being undertaken by NPCC and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Office and are confident that the pillars of Education, Standardisation and Best Practice will revolutionise innovative and pro-active policing in the UK.

Below are a couple of comments on her blog post.

1. Society holistically has a responsibility to find the balance between privacy and security and adhere to it. I believe, however, that aspects of the narrative have been hijacked by certain groups who spin misinformation with a view of achieving their predetermined / desired outcome.  Equally as important as “Ensuring Best Practice” is “Educating the Public” and dissemination of informative fact. All the best practice, standardisation and returns on technology such as Facial Recognition will be meaningless if it ends up being banned because we haven’t pro-actively informed the public.

2. Much of the public discourse tends to focus on the “live” aspects of surveillance. However, significant benefit can be realised from the bulk forensic analysis of surveillance footage.  You touch upon a significant obstacle to achieving this with your reference to managing “… CCTV footage to ensure its standardised …”. CCTV footage as commonly sourced during investigations today exists in a myriad of proprietary formats.  Analytic technology providers are challenged with developing capabilities to ingest this landscape of ever-changing formats as this is a highly specialised domain of expertise in and of itself. If Police implemented an “enterprise video normalization capability” that accepted “any” video file format and outputted a normalized video adhering to an open video standard, each video analytic vendor could then focus its resources on solving other problems, rather than all of them attempting to solve the same global foundational problem.

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