New system could soon send alerts from surveillance cameras to smartphones

Categories Biometrics News  |  Surveillance

Government agencies may soon be able to send people personalized messages from public security cameras with a system developed by researchers at Purdue University.

The real-time, private human addressing end-to-end system, known as PHADE, uses motions patterns as an address code for communication, rather than a device’s IP or MAC address, which the system’s creators say preserves individual’s privacy.

Using the PHADE system, a camera broadcasts a packet built by linking a message to the address code, which mobile devices use to generate a second address code, and then deliver the message if the address codes match.

“Our technology enables public cameras to send customized messages to targets without any prior registration,” said He Wang, an assistant professor in the Purdue Department of Computer Science, who created the technology along with his PhD student, Siyuan Cao. “Our system serves as a bridge to connect surveillance cameras and people and protects targets’ privacy.”

City governments will be able to use the Purdue University public camera technology to send alerts to distracted pedestrians when cars are approaching.
City governments will be able to use the Purdue University public camera technology to send alerts to distracted pedestrians when cars are approaching.

The system preserves privacy by keeping the sensing data of user’s devices stored locally, and applying a blurring process to “fade” the raw features of people’s motion data. While PHADE’s built-in privacy protections may offer a degree of protection, a blog posted to GCN points out that the system has the potential to be highly intrusive, particularly if combined with other technologies such as facial recognition, which would moot the anonymizing steps it takes.

The announcement suggests applications such as providing information to visitors to a facility such as a museum about the exhibits they view, and for replacing traditional retail checkout procedures with phone technology.

“PHADE may also be used by government agencies to enhance public safety,” Cao said. “For example, the government can deploy cameras in high-crime or high-accident areas and warn specific users about potential threats, such as suspicious followers.”

The research appears in the June issue of Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT), and the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization is seeking partners to license the PHADE system.

HIS Markit predicts the global city surveillance market will grow at a 14.6 percent CAGR from 2016 to 2021, providing many potential sources for PHADE alerts.

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