Scrambling CCTV images can protect the innocent

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London, July 19 (ANI): In a bid to allay people's fear that their CCTV footage may be used against them in some way, a surveillance technology company has come up with a method of scrambling the images of anyone in the film who is not a suspect.

San Francisco-based 3VR says that their new technique should reassure people who do not want to be identifiable to police or lawyers, or even TV crime-stopper shows.

The company has revealed that its technology uses its recently patented face-recognition algorithms to home in on known faces in crowds.

According to the company, they use an image-scrambling algorithm to blur the faces and bodies of those who are not of interest, and to encrypt the blur pattern so that no one but the operator of the technology can unscramble it.

"This allows you to search for people on watch lists, for instance, but without capturing massive databases of innocent people," New Scientist magazine quoted Stephen Russell, 3VR's chairman, as saying.

The company hopes that banks and retail chains will show interest in the new equipment, for it may enable them to analyse CCTV footage for known suspects who install card skimmers on ATMs, for example.

However, the idea may not satisfy all privacy advocates, as scrambled footage is still open to abuse.

"A safer approach is to record only when machine analysis detects something suspect- that way for 99.99 per cent of the time there is no recording of anything," says Mike Lynch of data-analysis company Autonomy. (ANI)

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