Tag Archives: Surveillance

Fine For Scratching Nose A Wake-Up Call On AI Surveillance!

Fine For Scratching Nose A Wake-Up Call On AI Surveillance!

The recent case of a Chinese driver getting fine for scratching his face is a funny example of current AI surveillance technology. Yet it is also a wake-up call on the dangers of pervasive AI surveillance by the state.


Fined For Scratching Nose By AI Surveillance System!

A Jinan resident, Mr. Liu, was driving his car in the eastern Shandong province, when he raised his hand to touch his face. Most of us unconsciously do that 2 to 5 times per minute!

Unbeknownst to him, one of the many AI surveillance cameras in the city noticed his action, and issued him a fine of 50 yuan* and 2 demerit points for “driving while holding a phone“.

* Approximately $7.25 / £5.70 / €6.50 / RM 30

The Jinan AI surveillance system also sent him this screenshot of his traffic violation, as captured at 7:20 AM on 20 May 2019.

Just like many automated systems (looking at you, Facebook and Google!), there was no way to dispute the charge. Mr. Liu tried to sort out the situation over the phone, but “no one would help him“.

He only got justice by appealing to the court of public opinion on Sina Weibo, where his post went viral. Only then did the Jinan traffic police department take notice and investigate his complaint.

Two days later, they cancelled his ticket after confirming that he was only touching his face, and not actually using a phone while driving.


AI Surveillance In Chinese Cities

China has been working hard at developing smart cities, as part of their social engineering efforts to quell political dissent and encourage Chinese citizens to “behave properly”.

There are already over 170 million surveillance cameras across China, with a projected 400 million surveillance cameras installed by next year. And they are all controlled by AI surveillance systems.

Such extensive surveillance coverage has allowed the Chinese government to detect crimes and punish their citizens for them. It also feeds the new Social Credit System – a national reputation system that assess the economic and social reputation of every Chinese citizen and business.

However, such pervasive surveillance has led to serious privacy implications for the Chinese citizenry. Anyone who wants to understand the power, allure and dangers of AI surveillance should watch the TV series, Person of Interest.


The Dangers Of AI Surveillance

While AI surveillance technology is now quite incredible, this case has exposed its vulnerabilities and limitations.

  1. Human oversight is still necessary, because AI surveillance is not accurate enough to detect false positives.
  2. It may be tempting to make the AI surveillance system the judge, jury and executioner, but such systems need to implement the principle of “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt“, and that means ignoring anything that is not close to a 99.9% match.
  3. There should be an appeal system in place. It took a viral social media post to alert the Jinan traffic police department to the mistake.
  4. There is also the question of personal data security. Can the government securely store the data, without unsanctioned or illegal access? How long should they store the information before they are deleted?


Alibaba Cloud + The Malaysia City Brain

Alibaba Cloud is one of the chief architects of Chinese smart city initiative and AI surveillance capabilities with their ET City Brain that runs on their Tianchi Platform.

Last year, Alibaba Cloud announced their collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to introduce the Malaysia City Brain.

The first phase of the Malaysia City Brain will kickstart with 382 AI traffic cameras at 281 traffic light junctions in Kuala Lumpur.

Although the Malaysian government is ostensibly implementing the Malaysia City Brain to “optimise the flow of vehicles and timing of traffic signals“, it is really a short step to the Chinese model of population and crime surveillance.


Recommended Reading

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WD Purple microSD Cards For 4K Surveillance Revealed!

The new WD Purple microSD cards are purpose-built for the complex and dynamic data demands of modern surveillance cameras and edge systems. Check them out here!


WD Purple microSD Cards For 4K Surveillance

Optimized for 24/7 surveillance video capture, the new WD Purple microSD cards support a continuous surveillance workload. They can capture and preserve video in a variety of high-definition and next-generation formats, including 4K Ultra HD video.

The rugged and humidity-resistant design of the new WD Purple microSD cards enable video capture in a wide range of environmental conditions, including outdoors in snowy winters and indoors in hot and humid factory settings.

Optimized for Evolving Data-Centric Surveillance Demands

Designed to support a wide range of video resolutions and surveillance video recording implementations, additional highlights of the new microSD card include:

  • Robust Endurance for Continuous Recording : Supports up to 1,000 PE Cycles
  • Card Health Status Functionality for Easy Card Maintenance : In compatible cameras, a unique health monitor offers reporting capabilities to provide users and system installers valuable information, including the card’s endurance and capacity status, enabling predictive maintenance and taking the “guess work” out of when to service the card.[adrotate group=”2″]
  • High Performance for Next-Generation Video : Offers speeds of up to 80 MB/s sequential read and 50 MB/s sequential write and supports Speed Class 10 and UHS Speed Class 1.
  • Trusted Video Capture in Wide Range of Climates : Designed for use in temperatures ranging from -25°C to 85°C, it enables reliable video capture indoors and outdoors.
  • High Capacity to Capture and Preserve Video if Connection to Network Connection is Lost : Offered in capacities up to 64GB.



WD Purple microSD Card Price + Availability

The new WD Purple microSD card will be available in Malaysia by end April, at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of RM 99 for 32GB capacity and RM 159.00 for 64GB capacity. Here are some purchase links for your convenience :

  • 32 GB WD Purple microSD Card (WDD032G1P0A) : $27.88

These microSD cards are available in single and convenient 25-packs for surveillance system installers and integrators.

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The Latest Cyber Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures

Jason Wells was a military intelligence officer for 17 years, before going into the private sector. He is now the Asia Pacific CEO of QCC Global – the world’s largest company specialising in TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures). In this special presentation at the Kaspersky Lab Palaeontology of Cybersecurity Conference, he gave an overview of TSCM over the years before sharing the latest in Cyber TSCM, particularly with the upcoming 5G technology.

Don’t forget to check out the other Kaspersky Palaeontology of Cybersecurity presentations!


Cyber Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures

Like other members of QCC Global, Jason Wells is literally a poacher turned gamekeeper. He now helps organisations prevent their secrets from being leaked or intercepted by technical surveillance.

Here are the key takeaway points :

  • Physical keyloggers are still being used, because organisations ignore the risks.
  • Miniature GSM transmitters (smaller than a one Euro coin!) are now used to wirelessly transmit data over a third-party network.
  • Military-grade devices will use burst transmissions to avoid detection.
  • VOIP calls are possible to tap – as long as the device or line can be accessed, all conversations can be recorded or copied.
  • Light modulation or laser eavesdropping devices are now available to listen from a great distance.
  • WiFi light bulbs can be modified to pick up voices and transmit it to nearby devices via subtle modulation of the light wavelength or frequency.
  • A key concern, other than the typical eavesdropping of corporate offices, is backdoor access to Building Management Systems that are used in many modern buildings.
  • Public WiFi access points are a common source of “man-in-the-middle” attacks, where attackers set-up free access points that mimic actual public access points.
  • Bluetooth technology is a boon to surveillance devices because it is very low-powered. With Bluetooth Class 5, they now have a much longer range (400 m) and twice the speed, while drawing less power.[adrotate group=”2″]
  • Roughly 60% of the surveillance devices that QCC Global detects use cellular technology to transmit their data. The rest still use radio to transmit their data wirelessly.
  • Cellular technology gives an attacker great flexibility in areas of good coverage because he can dispense with additional requirements like a listening post, or rebroadcasters.
  • Using the cellular network also allows the listening device to hide amongst the many mobile devices nearby.
  • 5G technology will be a game-changer, offering new possibilities for technical surveillance.
  • With every 5G device always connected, they will make it much, much harder for counter surveillance companies like GCC Global to detect 5G listening devices.

Don’t forget to check out the other Kaspersky Palaeontology of Cybersecurity presentations!


The Presentation Slides

Here are Jason’s presentation slides on cyber technical surveillance counter-measures for your perusal :

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10TB WD Purple Helium-Filled Surveillance Drive Launched!

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a storage industry leader, today announced the availability of the 10TB WD Purple HDD, the newest member of its high-capacity hard drive line for surveillance applications.

With increased capacity and proven leading-edge technology, the 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDD is optimized for 24×7 video surveillance systems and up to 64 high-definition (HD) cameras in home and small business security environments.


The 10TB WD Purple

Optimized to withstand the demands of always-on DVR and NVR recording environments, the new 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) hard disk drives offer low power consumption, exclusive WD technologies and many advanced performance features including:

  • AllFrame 4K Technology – AllFrame 4K technology enhances ATA streaming support to help reduce video frame loss with proprietary cache policy management technology to improve overall data flow and playback. 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDDs include exclusive firmware enhancements that help protect against video pixilation and interruptions within a surveillance system.
  • HelioSeal Technology – Enabling higher storage capacity and lower power consumption, the 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDD uses the third generation of HelioSeal technology, which has been shipping for over three years and on over 12 million drives as of December 2016.
  • Scalable Surveillance Systems – Designed for 24×7 operations with support for multi-bay systems with an annualized workload rating of 180 TB/year and tarnish-resistant components, 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) drives are ready for use in demanding high-performance, high-definition small- or large-scale surveillance systems

Don’t forget to read our article on the WD Purple family of drives – Is Your Hard Disk Drive Optimised For CCTV Recording?

Engineered for Compatibility

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Built for easy integration into new or existing video surveillance systems, WD Purple hard drives are designed and tested to surveillance-class standards and are compatible with industry-leading chassis and chip-sets. Without a current industry standard, WD worked closely with surveillance partners to develop a proprietary benchmark to define and demonstrate performance in surveillance systems.


10TB WD Purple Price and Availability

The 10TB WD Purple (Lowest Price) HDDs are shipping now and available in Malaysia. With the new 10TB drive, the WD Purple surveillance-class line is available in capacities ranging from 1TB up to 10TB, all covered by a three-year limited warranty.

The suggested Retail Price (SRP) for the 3.5-inch 10TB WD Purple (WD100PURZ) hard disk drive is RM 2,099 / ~US$ 49910TB WD PurpleGet the lowest Price here!

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Is Your Hard Disk Drive Optimised For CCTV Recording?

Once the fearsome tool of a totalitarian state in George Orwell’s iconic novel – 1984, CCTV surveillance is not only ubiquitous, it is even considered essential. Forget Big Brother. Many modern homes and offices have CCTV systems for safety and security reasons.

The most common video surveillance systems are dedicated CCTV (closed-circuit television) systems. They combine video cameras with a display and a digital video recorder (DVR). Whether they are using good old analog video cameras, or the newer high-definition digital video cameras, all those video streams are written into hard disk drives.


Not Optimised For CCTV Recording

For many years, CCTV systems were built around hard disk drives used by desktop computers. While this worked, it was not an ideal situation because these desktop hard disk drives are :

  • NOT designed to withstand the harsher conditions inside a DVR.
  • NOT engineered to run 24/7 in an always-on condition
  • NOT optimised for the recording of multiple video streams

As a result, these desktop hard disk drives have a tendency to fail earlier. This not only means lost video surveillance footage, it also means a higher cost of ownership because these drives have to be replaced more frequently.

Even when they are working properly, the recorded video streams may suffer from quality problems like dropped frames or whole gaps in the video stream. After all, desktop hard disk drives lack support for ATA streaming that give proper surveillance hard disk drives the ability to record multiple video streams simultaneously.


Surveillance Hard Disk Drives

As we upgrade to high-definition digital video cameras, the quality problems with desktop-grade hard disk drives become more apparent. They drop even more frames because they are unable to keep up with the constant flow of high bit-rate video streams.

This negates the purpose of upgrading to high-definition cameras. What’s the point of recording high-resolution video if it means whole gaps in the video?

To counter that problem, as well as improve reliability in the high-temperature, always-on environment of the DVR, surveillance hard disk drives were developed. What do these drives offer?

  1. The ability to withstand the extreme heat fluctuations and vibration common in DVR enclosures.
  2. The ability to record the incoming video streams 24/7, without rest.
  3. The ability to record multiple video streams without dropped frames, or gaps in recorded footage.


WD Purple Surveillance Hard Disk Drives

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The WD Purple family of surveillance hard disk drives were unveiled in February 2014. Since then, Western Digital has steadily added new models to the family. They now offer WD Purple hard disk drives in capacities from as low as 500 GB all the way to 8 TB.

All WD Purple drives boast these key features :

  • Engineered specifically to handle the workload of always-on, 24/7 surveillance security systems
  • Performance prioritised for write operations to minimise dropped frames.
  • Toughened to withstand the high-temperature and vibration of a DVR
  • WD AllFrame technology improves ATA streaming to reduce frame loss, improve overall video playback and increase the number of drives supported by a single DVR
  • WD IntelliSeek technology keeps power consumption, noise level and vibration low
  • Three year limited warranty for peace of mind

Surveillance hard disk drives like the WD Purple drives are an essential component of the triad of reliable CCTV systems – high-quality cameras, reliable power supply and trustworthy storage. Make sure your CCTV system uses proper surveillance hard disk drives.

WD Purple drives are currently available at all computer retailers nationwide. For more information, check out the official WD Purple product page.

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This post was sponsored by Western Digital.

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How The Right Surveillance Storage Improves The System

When the first event music, “Video Killed the Radio Star” premiered on MTV in 1981, it started a video revolution. A lot has changed since then, but video’s relevance in our culture, has increased, and our lives and security have come to depend on it.

Market research firm IHS estimates that one surveillance camera has been installed for every eight people (about 40M) in the U.S. alone. Stats from 2014 certainly back that up – according to the IHS Video Surveillance Intelligence Service Market Insight report from August 2015, the U.S. was ranked as the second largest market for video surveillance equipment, worth $2.8 billion dollars.

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With our obsession over video and corresponding camera capabilities such as HD and 4K, it’s easy to miss an equally crucial component that can make or break the effectiveness of an entire surveillance system: storage. Unfortunately, many surveillance professionals are using the wrong drive.

Rather than being designed for continuous capture of HD or FHD video from multiple cameras, a drive that is not optimized for surveillance systems can drop frames, or even consume more power, generating more heat to create a major reliability issue. This could drastically reduce the life of a drive, adversely affecting the read and write operations in a surveillance system. These solution may cost the customer less upfront, but eventually could affect your business when performance, reliability and even your reputation.

The right surveillance storage solution offer high performance, efficiency and capacity that has been tested in harsh surveillance environments. But how to tell the difference?


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: What to Look For In Surveillance Storage

There are several specific things to look for when evaluating whether a drive has been designed with surveillance in mind:

  • Always on: A surveillance system works 24×7. If the storage drive hasn’t been designed for constant, never-ending read/write operations, it won’t be able to keep up.
  • Performance Reliability: Some drives, like WD’s Purple surveillance-class hard drive family, include special technology (called AllFrame in this case) that improves playback performance and works with ATA streaming to reduce errors and frame loss.

  • RAID-enabled: To increase peace-of-mind for your customer, you may also want to look for a drive with RAID or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disk capabilities. A drive with this capability can use two or more hard disks to create a safety net for failed hardware by ensuring that the image is still being captured even if one drive isn’t working. This lessens interruptions in productivity and decreases the chance of data loss.
  • Low power consumption: While “low power consumption” might not be first on your list of things to look for in a hard drive, the need for always-on capability makes this crucial. Having a drive that calculates the optimum seek speeds won’t generate as much heat, even in passively-cooled storage enclosures, making it more reliable and friendlier to your customer’s wallet.
  • High camera count support: A high number of cameras, an NVR system or a longer retention period will require higher storage use and an even greater need to ensure you have chosen a drive that will meet the customer’s needs. Look for one with up to 6 TB of capacity on a single drive.
  • High system bay count support: The right drive will include hardware vibration sensors to enable higher drive-count systems as well as higher system and hard drive workloads.
  • Extensive compatibility with cameras: Needless to say, the drive you select needs to work with the cameras you are planning to install. One that works with most of the different cameras you could install will make it even easier to keep the right drive on-hand, regardless of your current installation scenario.
  • Rugged exterior: In some cases the drive may need to live, and perform continuously in harsh environments. In this case, you’ll want one with tarnish-resistant PCBA protection.
  • Easily upgradable: In an ideal world, your customer occasionally asks to upgrade or expand their existing surveillance system. A drive that scales with a system when the need to expand arises and makes your job easier.

Considering the importance of storage in surveillance systems, you may also find it helpful to use a capacity calculator to help determine how much storage is needed for the length of time data is to be maintained for a particular surveillance system. Vendors like WD offer calculators and drive selection tools to help find the right drive and capacity that best suits your needs.


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