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Surveillance – India and the World

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Today the world is witnessing spectacular rise of technologies and technical gadgets, they are changing our everyday life in a way one could have never imagined. Smart gadgets are helping human race in almost every dynamic, from medical surgeries to 3-D print Rocket parts and one of these technology is CCTV or Video surveillance; it is one of those undermined technology which has great potential especially when coalesced with smart and advanced programs like machine learning. Indian Govt. needs to realise the mammoth potential of this gadget and how its best use can play a major role in enhancing security, education and development of India. While focusing on how surveillance system can be put to best use, demarcating of the one is really important as breaching someone’s personal space and using it for one’s good draws a very thin line.

According to the latest data released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development there are more than 4, 25,000 cameras currently installed in India which is almost equal to 0.1% of cameras currently active in China, while following the example of latter in terms of smart and advance surveillance technologies, India should not become draconian surveillance state like one.

Department with onus of accountability should be set up to avoid poor data handling which may lead to contravention of privacy, cyber stalking etc. The other challenge that should be countered is proper functioning, monitoring and maintenance of CCTV’s. There have been reports that “Sometimes police did not even know if a particular camera was working or not until they tried to access its recording to solve a crime”.

Crime and the Capital

Scuffle between AAP government and centre over CCTV cameras on several occasions have lead to nothing but disappointment for Delhi people. As per police records, Delhi sees one murder, six robberies, as many rapes, nine molestations, 19 snatchings, 126 vehicle thefts and 17 fatal road accidents every day, besides the ever present threat of terrorist attacks. Security of Capital’s citizen should be utmost priority of both Delhi and Centre Government. CCTV might not stop attacks or robberies but they surely plays prominent role in evidence collection, which can lead to miscreants and also mere presence of cameras around might create sense of fear among criminals. Steps taken by Delhi govt like providing subsidy to residents for the consumption of electricity in functioning of the CCTV cameras and promising installation of 1.4 lakhs CCTV cameras across the city will definitely make infamous capital a safer place.

The World

Nexus of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning with surveillance proved to be more than one could have ever thought. From Asia to North America, Virtuosi around the world are trying to implement this smart technology in every possible way. In France, schools are using smart facial recognition system to check if a student is paying attention, some schools even gave parents access to live stream of their children’s classroom; however this step invited some criticism and people mooted that relative privacy is what allows students the freedom to express themselves, make mistakes and inculcate creativity.

China, on other hand with more than 626 million surveillance cameras has the world’s largest surveillance network and is leading the world in terms of technology. While distancing from stringent laws like of China, India should inherit some of the technical advancements from the former. China is using artificial Intelligence in almost everything; even if one go to supermarket there is technology called ‘Smile to pay’, where to pay for goods one just have to stand in front of camera, Camera detects the face of the person even if the person is wearing a wig or a heavy makeup.

Furthermore, in terms of security there are smart security cameras which alert the nearest police station if they detect a person with criminal records. Such technologies should be welcomed and encouraged in India to make nation a better place.

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