Persistent Surveillance Systems wants to spend three years recording outdoor human movements in a major U.S. city, KMOX news radio reports.
McNutt, who runs Persistent Surveillance Systems, was inspired by his stint in the Air Force tracking Iraqi insurgents. He tested mass-surveillance technology over Compton, California, in 2012. In 2016, the company flew over Baltimore, feeding information to police for months (without telling city leaders or residents) while demonstrating how the technology works to the FBI and Secret Service.
There’s really no telling whether surveillance of this sort has already been conducted over your community as private and government entities experiment with it.
The technology is straight forward: A fixed-wing plane outfitted with high-resolution video cameras circles for hours on end, recording everything in large swaths of a city. One can later “rewind” the footage, zoom in anywhere, and see exactly where a person came from before or went after perpetrating a robbery or drive-by shooting … or visiting an AA meeting, a psychiatrist’s office, a gun store, an abortion provider, a battered-women’s shelter, or an HIV clinic. On the day of a protest, participants could be tracked back to their homes.
“Someday, most major developed cities in the world will live under the unblinking gaze of some form of wide-area surveillance.”
Author Arthur Holland Michel says, the sheer amount of data will make it impossible for humans in any city to examine everything that is captured on video. But efforts are under way to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to “understand” more. “If a camera that watches a whole city is smart enough to track and understand every target simultaneously,” he writes, “it really can be said to be all-seeing.”
Walmart stores are using AI cameras to monitor checkouts
Walmart’s early use of AI at its stores isn’t just for the sake of convenience. The retailer has confirmed to Business Insider that it’s using camera-based computer vision tech to deter theft and losses at its checkouts (including self-checkouts) in over 1,000 stores.
The camera systems started rolling out in Walmart stores as far back as two years ago under a program reportedly called ‘Missed Scan Detection’ internally.
While many stores have security cameras, few are using AI to study activity on this level. How long does Walmart preserve the data, and is there anything identifying? We’ve asked Walmart for comment, but it’s safe to say that many customers aren’t aware that AI is at work.