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Smart CCTV Cameras Could Pose Privacy Issues

British researchers have engineered a new breed of CCTV cameras which can react to specific noises and rotate to capture them almost instantaneously to the headquarters.

Those "intelligent" CCTVs are capable of detecting the sound of breaking glass, shouting, grunts emitted by a boozed crowd or any other precursory auditive signs of trouble, all thanks to a software developed by the University of Portsmouth of institute of industrial research.

The application literally learns thanks to its Artificial intelligence algorithms developed in partnership with British CCTV company Neuron Systems; in addition they could even identify visual cues, such as when someone suddenly starts running or raises their arms.

According to the Guardian, the camera can turn to the source of the noise within 0.3 seconds, the same amount of time it would take for a human to react to the stimuli.

The three year research was headed by Dr David Brown who added that "The longer artificial intelligence is in the software the more it learns. Later versions will get cleverer as time goes on, perhaps eventually being able to identify specific words being said, or violent sounds."

This obviously could give rise to a number of privacy issues; councils are already using anti-terror laws to snoop on their members, so these cameras could potentially be used to spy on law-abiding citizens.

Furthermore, with crime rising even with one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK, one can argue that criminals will come up with ways to evade smart CCTVs.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.