The Importance of Geotagging in BWV in Policing

"The Wolfcom 3rd Eye is more than just a Body Camera. It is a Multi-Purpose, Multi-Functional, Indispensable Law Enforcement tool that will assist officers in their everyday duties. "



Why geotagging video is ultra powerful.

Yesterday Alexander Hayes and I delivered a BWV workshop at the Police Technology conference in Melbourne, Australia. I began my presentation with a backdrop to the increasing convergence between location-based services and video.



Courtesy: Taser

Courtesy: Taser

"The TASER CAM™ law enforcement video recorder offers increased accountability - not just for police officers, but for the people they arrest. Without video, it can be the officer's word against the suspect's word. Now with the TASER CAM recorder, every potential TASER X26 deployment can be documented with full audio and camera video."

Censoring with Glass - Yes, Video Has Its Limitation Too

This morning while speaking with MG Michael we talked about the limitations of wearables.

Those who argue that they wear their video recorders 24x7 need to start qualifying their statements.

There were the embarrassing Google StreetView lessons learnt when Google first began its mission- people caught in the field-of-view from a public road using their "outside dunny (toilet)" while reading their newspaper, people caught drunk to oblivion on the front of their home lawn, bus drivers "peeing" by the side-walk 'behind' a bus while thinking no one was watching and much more... Here are some examples to trigger your memories. And here is how to get yourself removed if you found yourself in a compromising photo.

Source: Her.ie http://her.ie/story/nsfw-the-awkward-moment-when-google-street-view-catches-you-in-a-compromising-position-598014  Caption reads: The good news is that Google has since blurred out the image, so there’s no chance of the couple being identified by their pants.

Source: Her.ie http://her.ie/story/nsfw-the-awkward-moment-when-google-street-view-catches-you-in-a-compromising-position-598014

Caption reads: The good news is that Google has since blurred out the image, so there’s no chance of the couple being identified by their pants.

Now, it's really important to note that Google don't just use cars, they also have other form factors recording- e.g. bicycles, as depicted below.

Courtesy: New York Daily News

Courtesy: New York Daily News

Here are some 2009 images from Australia!

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

The images above are conservative as opposed to some I have chosen NOT to embed into this blogpost for fear of further privacy breach to the individuals concerned.


As I've said in a previous post on this site, introducing Digital Glass means that we are to some extent going beyond Google StreetCars, Google StreetBicycles and the like. We are wardriving on foot now with Digital Glass, sousveilling the streets now with mobile drones; these drones just happen to be voluntary human subjects wearing one or more cameras.

But what happens when people use the toilet and the record button is on their digital glass? What happens when people go to bed? Do they take off their glass? What happens when someone is disciplining their child about an incident- are they recording the wrongdoings of the child as they try to make them understand why their actions were inappropriate? What happens when people are having an argument, and things that should never be uttered come into the fore disclosing very personal details or behaviour that was irrational in speech? What happens when you learn the news that someone has died, and feel like your whole world has collapsed around you? What happens when you are visiting a sick person in hospital who is terminally ill, and they are reduced to skin and bones? Visiting a friend in jail? The list goes on and on. Surely the camera MUST be turned off.

In our discussion this morning, MG Michael deliberated on such events, that are of a highly personal and intimate nature. He has written previously about the need for privacy in such moments in life. This does not mean, as we have written in numerous articles, that one seeks for cameras to be turned off because they are doing something wrong or wish to commit a crime but because some things are just "no-go" zones for outside viewing.

Don't be fooled- cameras on people WILL not reduce crimes! Criminals will just get better at corruption, in its manual or digital form. The more digital the corruption, the greater the potential that the stakes are higher and the corruption is of a more sinister and gross form. And I'm not just talking corporate fraud here.

So "point of eye" (PoE) as Professor Steve Mann rightly calls it, inspired some additional thoughts in MG Michael about censorship, exclusion, deletion, information representation, which are all core concepts of the limitation of living in an uberveillance society. In fact, PoE can be the manner in which one decides to censor their field of view.

Consider the following simple scenario. A male goes to the toilet. As he goes about his business he does not look down while wearing a digital camera but he looks straight ahead. This is selective recording, in a way, a type of censorship. Even worse, while the male goes to wash his hands, he takes a look into the mirror, and the reflection records someone else going to the toilet with their crown jewels in full view.

By nature, our own PoE will capture ourselves in the best light, but the other person either deliberately or accidentally in the worst light. Of course, all this will depend on prior relationships. If they are family, likely we will record them in the best light, if they are friends much the same, if they are strangers we might be indifferent...

Taking the scenario further, body worn video recorders that will soon be worn by some police and citizens alike, may/may not take footage of a given incident, depending on the lifeworld of the wearer. The incident may be 100% in their field of view, but because their "point of eye" neglects to record it by the turn of their head, the evidence is not gathered and stored for further inspection. You see, digital glass does not have a 360 degree camera view, it is not a headband that has embedded cameras at the back of our head, side, looking up and down etc. The camera is STILL in the control of the wearer, and he or she can decide what they wish to gather or exclude. This has huge implications, and till now, has not been addressed by any other academic researcher to our knowledge.

Make no mistake, while this technology may limit the extent of complaints against police regarding brutality, the limitations of video will always exist. The PoE is in the control of the beholder who comes endowed with his/her own lifeworld- it is their subjective reality. This has a great impact on evidence gathering/direct evidence in a court of law, in how police will manage prosecutions and complaint handling, and how crowdsourcing will becoming increasingly important in the field of policing to corroborate stories. We will not be complacent in the future with just ONE field of view, but multiple, and even then we will never have omniscience.

Courtesy: JesusDiaz Gizmodo

Courtesy: JesusDiaz Gizmodo

Microchip Implants and Prisoner Monitoring

Here is an open petition to the Scottish Parliament from the Howard League in 2009. Below this petition is a paper by Professor Mike Nellis, Professor of Criminal and Community Justice, Glasgow School of Social Work, University of Strathclyde. I am embarrassed to say that I had not come across the work of Nellis till now, and only as a direct result of his book chapter published last year which I found while searching for the term uberveillance on another matter altogether. 

Nellis has written a book chapter titled: "Implant Technology and the Electronic Monitoring of Offenders: Old and New Questions about Compliance, Control and Legitimacy", in Legitimacy and Compliance in Criminal Justice edited by Adam Crawford and Anthea Hucklesby. See for example, books.google.com/books?isbn=0415671558.

Now who said these things were not possible? If we are writing petitions against implantation of prisoners, then we are getting close to instituting this practice. From wearable bracelets to implantables...

Inspiration for my prisoner tracking scenario in my TEDx talk, came from research I conducted with Kirsty Johnston in 2005. We set up an online survey with a pre-test | education | post-test structure. The results were very interesting. Of exactly 100 responses, the vast majority said they did not wish to be chipped for control, care on convenience solutions. But when it came to controlling prisoners using implants, it was obvious that that scenario seemed acceptable to most. Again, only 100 responses, and small-scale survey, and online, but it revealed some interesting preliminary findings.

More on that study here presented at ICMB 2007 by MG Michael. The full honours project is available here. For statistics on the acceptance of the tracking of crime suspects see p. 56 of the project.

Source: http://archive.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/petitions/petitionsubmissions/sub-09/09-PE1251C.pdf

Source: http://archive.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/petitions/petitionsubmissions/sub-09/09-PE1251C.pdf

Too close for comfort

Here is a photograph from my personal archives from 1998. While on a business trip to Taipei, Taiwan, I was fortunate to be able to celebrate the National day of the Republic of China/ Double Tenth Day.

During festivities near the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall a peaceful anti-missile protest attracted Taipei Police. The methodical way in which police arrived to the protest, and deployed staff with extra-long batons, caught my attention. No need for body worn video cameras back then by police, the widespread adoption of smart phones and social media were still a good 6-7  years away in most countries.

Courtesy: Katina Michael's personal archives

Courtesy: Katina Michael's personal archives

Stupidly, I got within 1 metre to take this photograph. I remember crouching down to get a good cascading view of all the police, and then realised I was a little too close for comfort.

Looking back I was young, naive, and could have found myself in hot water, although I found the Taiwanese people to be incredibly friendly and welcoming... There is a fine line between witness and provocation. People with cameras can sometimes overstep the mark.

Code Violation

"In addressing the audience with opening remarks on the workshop’s conception, I began with defining sousveillance and then went on to demonstrate its use. I could think of no better example of sousveillance-at-work than to show a short five minute clip taken by Mann himself in Downtown Toronto (Figure 23.10).
In this clip you will note that Steve is exercising his civil rights and pointing out to the police officer on duty that there is a risk of someone getting electrocuted because cables are exposed to pedestrians on the sidewalk. The officer on duty rejects being a subject of Mann’s visual recording. He stops Steve as he is nearing him and exclaims: “Sir, you cannot take a picture!” To this Steve questions: “Oh. Why not?” Again, the officer exhorts Steve to stop recording. To this Steve replies- “Ok, I photograph my whole life, I always have...” To this the officer says: “I don’t want to be a part of your life through a photograph. Can you erase that photo please?” Steve does not have a chance to reply at this point and again the officer interjects growing in impatience: “Did you take a picture of me?” Steve replies: “I record my life.” Again the officer extorts: “Did you take a picture of me?” To this Steve makes a correction: “I’m recording video.” The officer interjects several times: “It’s a simple question, did you take a picture of me? Answer the question, yes or no.” Steve admits to taking footage and the officer replies: “Okay, I need you to erase that.” Steve provocatively then says: “Okay, I’ll need to call my lawyer then...” The officer is disgruntled at this point and tells Steve to call his lawyer and to give him his number. The officer continues by insisting: “Do you understand the ramifications of what is going to happen here? Don’t you realise what can happen here?” Steve tells the officer to fill out an incident report about what happened."

Excerpt taken from Katina Michael & MG Michael commentary on "Wearable Computing by Steve Mann" published in Interaction-Design.org here

Courtesy: Steve Mann  Source: http://wearcam.org/password-66-450.htm

Courtesy: Steve Mann

Source: http://wearcam.org/password-66-450.htm

Shooting Back

"The City of Boston has agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit. Glik was arrested in 2007 on Boston Common for using his cell phone to record the arrest of another man. Police then arrested Glik, too, and charged him under the strict Massachusetts wiretapping statute. They eventually dropped the charges, but with the help of the Massachusetts ACLU, Glik filed a civil lawsuit against the city for false arrest."

Read more here.

Read about another case (Alvarez) here.

"Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who staked out the extreme position that openly recording police officers in public placed while they perform their duties is unprotected by the First Amendment, may have done more to hurt her case than to help it. The Seventh Circuit noted that Alvarez's position was based on a misreading of Potts v. City of Lafayette, and a misapplication of the "willing speaker" principle."

Compare proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security here.

Courtesy: Karen Blumberg

Courtesy: Karen Blumberg

Creative Omniscience


"...The key experiential question of Google Glass isn’t what it’s like to wear them, it’s what it’s like to be around someone else who’s wearing them."

Read more

Dashcams and Accidents

When I went to ISTAS12 in Singapore almost every other taxi I entered had a dashcam. Here is why.

"The most horrifying car crash ever caught on film? Dash camera captures moment Ferrari hits taxi at high speed killing three. Both drivers and a passenger died in the high-speed smash in Singapore."

Courtesy: YouTube

Courtesy: YouTube

"Police gave no official estimate as to how fast the Ferrari was moving, but the extremely high speed of the collision is plain to see from the video."

Source here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2147513/Dash-camera-captures-horrific-fatal-crash-rare-Ferrari-hurtles-taxi.htm

In Russia dashcams have also proliferated in protecting oneself while on the road. Note- dashcams will NOT save your life, but they might make life after an accident easier as you might have primary evidence in clearing yourself of being "at fault".

See this story.

Courtesy: DOD Product

Courtesy: DOD Product

"It’s not all the fault of the elements, though. Corruption is rampant in the Russian Federation, and that’s led most motorists to take matters into their own hands. It’s not uncommon for a driver to be pulled over by the notorious Russian Highway Patrol (GAI) and harassed into paying a bribe. Dash cams afford at least a little protection from baseless accusations.
Lax law enforcement has also made is easier for organized crime to make millions from insurance scams. It’s a straightforward racket — crashes can be staged, or already damaged cars presented as evidence of a crash that never even occurred. The perpetrators can certainly produce witnesses that corroborate their version of events."" 

The following video is of a real-life event. Thankfully no one was seriously injured to my knowledge which is the only reason I am presenting the recording here.

What Have We Become?

Google Glass: No longer just the stuff of science fiction: New wearable computer reminiscent of 2007 nove

Article by Pittis here for CBC News. 


Blogpost by "misfit" here:

"I could see how it would be cool, or even useful.
Not for me, thanks. I intentionally put away my phone when I notice I'm on it too much, and I'm not on it 1/3 as much as 90% of the people I see.
Personally, I don't think it's natural, or really beneficial for the mind to pollute it with techno-gunk every second. I love my technology, but I've noticed over the years a slight growing ADD tendancy - especially where deivces are concenred. 
If I catch myself in front of the T.V. and playing on my phone, sometimes I will shut them both off and read, or just sit for a moment and think and clear my thoughts.....remember when people did that? Now you'd be a weirdo.
No, you don't need to look at your phone everytime you're in a elevator to avoid interacting. No, you don't need to be on your phone while I'm having a conversation with you, or while we are out on a date. No, you don't need to whip out your phone when you are in a line-up for 2 minutes. No, you don't have to jump to your phone every time it vibrates, not right this second. No, you don't need to be textng while you're trying or pretending to work out at the gym. 
Have we got it into our heads that some catastrophic life event is going to pass us by if we are away from our phones and flatscreens for an hour? When was the last time you shut your phone off for a day? 
I can see that at 33 I'm already becoming an old man with outdated values. That's fine, each to their own...."