Surveillance Camera Retrofit

The surveillance camera retrofit is a video surveillance privacy protection device first proposed in March 2003.

sketch of retrofit
Sketch of the retrofit
The Retrofit allows the subversion of a conventional video camera by the addition of a privacy protecting device. The privacy protecting device is essentially a privacy camera (as proposed in Senior et al. 2003 a camera with privacy protection software that outputs images with privacy-intrusive features removed) coupled with a video screen. The Retrofit is mounted in front of any existing surveillance camera, and adjusted so that the image matches the image that would normally be acquired by the original camera.

Most of the time, the screen just relays the video of the scene, and the security guard or video analytics system is unaware of the intervention (in most surveillance video quality degradation would be hard to notice). However, according to the software running inside the Retrofit's processor, the video can be subtly altered, for instance blurring the faces slightly, or even altering them (as proposed by Newton et al.). More aggresively, parts of the scene could be blanked out, perhaps by superimposing an image of a parked lorry, or an umbrella over every person. The retrofit could crudely blank out faces, show a view onto a virtual world, send messages to the control room, or just transmit cable TV programs - the security guards might be entertained enough not to investigate what was wrong with their system.

[ Andrew Senior Home Page ]