This is a question many citizens are asking as more of this type of technology in the form of drones, smart cameras, body cams, and more become a permanent part of the arsenal used by law enforcement officers across the country. While many of these new devices are intended to make the job of working in law enforcement easier, the general public sees much of it as having serious potential to invade their privacy. What many fail to realize, is that the vast majority of this technology can also be used to protect them and keep them safer.
Enter the “Smart” Camera
One of the newest pieces of technology to be put into use in Delaware is the “Smart” camera. But, unlike most other cameras in use by law enforcement, the video captured by these cameras is fed directly into an AI (artificial intelligence) system that uses information collected such as license plate number or a face to provide officers on the scene with vital information while they are on patrol.
According to David Hinojosa (Coban Technologies the manufacture of the equipment), the new system is a lot like a dash cam on steroids. This system and the use of AI, in general, is one of the fastest growing trends in law enforcement. But at the same time, its use is being viewed with skepticism among those concerned with civil liberties and privacy out of rear the information could be used by LEOs for “profiling” and other nefarious uses.
Another company, Deep Science, is developing AI backed security camera systems for use in the retail industry. This technology can be used to alert law enforcement in the event of a fire, robberies, and many other events. This ability to monitor actions in real-time and provide instantaneous alerting can help those in charge of security be in a better position to do their jobs. Part of the problem is that far too many guards become bored with what they are watching and lose the ability to pick out important details.
While most CEOs don’t suffer from this type of problem, it exists instead in those who are responsible for watching the video that has been captured. Most people who spend time studying this type of video become ineffective in approximately 10 to 20 minutes, making them virtually ineffective. This is not a problem we can ever expect to have to do deal with when the video is being “examined” by AI.
Are There Privacy Issues or Are These Concerns Pointless?
There are huge privacy concerns when it comes to the use of “smart” cams and AI as a regular part of a police officer’s equipment. Since the system is designed to use facial recognition software, there are definite privacy concerns. This is where both state and federal agencies need to ensure they institute the right legal safeguards and procedures to protect the privacy of citizens who just happen to be captured in the video.
The use of AI in law enforcement is inevitable, but what its use does require is that every law enforcement agency assembles a set of rules intended to allow officers to make the most use of this technology while still protecting the privacy of the general public.