HP implementing surveillance technology for Auckland

October 21, 2014 - 

New Zealand’s Auckland Transport announced it has commissioned Hewlett-Packard Development Company to implement and install a multi-million dollar surveillance system for the region, according to a report by Stuff.co.nz.

The surveillance system will also have the ability to scan social media and news websites.

Labelled a “visionary Big Data” project, Auckland Transport selected HP “to drive groundbreaking future cities initiative”.

HP will collect data – including text, images, audio and real-time video — in Auckland using surveillance cameras and process it using HP cloud servers based in Palo Alto, California.

“The safety and well-being of our citizens is always our top priority and the Future Cities initiative is a big step in the right direction,” said Roger Jones, chief information officer at Auckland Transport. “Only HP could comprehensively deliver the custom solution, expertise and ecosystem at this scale to transform our vision into reality.”

The system will use data from a range of sources, including security and traffic management cameras, a network of road and environmental sensors, and real-time social media and news feeds, according to HP.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said there were currently five video systems and this move would consolidate things into one processing system.

“We are not installing new cameras, this is a back end system for the approximately 800 cameras we have access to covering intersections, railway and busway stations,” said a spokesperson for Auckland Transport. “The system will be used to monitor traffic flows, vandalism and safety. We will not be using any capability which identifies faces or number plates.”

Auckland Transport is currently in ongoing talks with the Privacy Commissioner and would not proceed until all protocols had been approved, said the spokesperson.

At the basis of the contract is Auckland Council’s memorandum of understanding, which provides draft “Surveillance Principles”.

The documents refer to live feeds and states that these should be trained on “specific crime and safety hot-spots,” traffic management areas and real-time cases that the police are investigating.

According to the principle, the system “should not be used for surveillance or monitoring of specific individuals (whether or not identifiable by name, and whether not facilitated by supporting technology) except in respect of specific criminal acts or organised crime or other reasonably suspected criminal behaviour (including terrorism) on the basis of such evidence or reasonable suspicion of criminal offending.”

Police are also instructed to deny data access to other agencies in New Zealand or internationally, with the exception of those agencies that comply with the terms of these surveillance principles and New Zealand laws.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.