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posted by martyb on Friday June 30 2017, @05:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Slightly-Smaller-Brother dept.

A small Victory in Hamilton, Ontario where the City has backed off on plans to start recording all of the various security and traffic cameras in the city; handing the video over to Microsoft for analysis. Local city hall watching site The Public Record pointed out that this plan would likely run afoul of Ontario's privacy legislation, and convinced the City not to go ahead with the plan.

The City announced in early June that it would begin transferring video to Microsoft for analysis.

Microsoft is working to build software which recognizes cars, bus, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians. Using the video, and crowd sourced analysis, Microsoft hoped to improve its software for detecting near collisions.

The City hoped to use the software to gain insight into intersections which could use design improvements to decrease the number and severity of collisions as part of its "Vision Zero" efforts.

Immediately upon learning the City would be recording video from the intersection cameras, The Public Record looked into the privacy implications of the recording.

The Privacy Commissioner replied "We encourage institutions to consult our publication, Guidelines for the Use of Video Surveillance (pdf), and our Video Surveillance (pdf)fact sheet, which outline important issues to consider when implementing video surveillance technologies and how to use them in ways that protect individual privacy. Since the City's project also seems to include 'analytics' of video data, you may also be interested in our publication, Big Data Guidelines (pdf), which addresses the issue of data analytics and privacy."

So, it appears that you can fight City Hall!


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30 2017, @06:49AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30 2017, @06:49AM (#533321)

    Find the cars.
    Find the roads.
    Find the storefronts.
    Find the street signs.

    Microsoft is working to build software which recognizes cars, bus, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians.

    Whelp, time to rethink reCAPTCHA.

    • (Score: 2) by lx on Friday June 30 2017, @08:09AM (1 child)

      by lx (1915) on Friday June 30 2017, @08:09AM (#533341)

      I thought the whole point of reCAPTCHA was training an AI to do this sort of thing, or was that merely an internet rumour?

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Friday June 30 2017, @09:13AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Friday June 30 2017, @09:13AM (#533356) Journal

        Soon our spamlords and AI will find each other to unleash a new torrent of spamfords.

    • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Friday June 30 2017, @04:44PM (1 child)

      by butthurt (6141) on Friday June 30 2017, @04:44PM (#533550) Journal

      I may be missing your point, but reCAPTCHA isn't Microsoft; it's Google.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by urza9814 on Friday June 30 2017, @05:14PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Friday June 30 2017, @05:14PM (#533564) Journal

        I may be missing your point, but reCAPTCHA isn't Microsoft; it's Google.

        Yes...so if you want to be a spammer, you can take that reCaptcha image from Google that asks to identify street signs, then hand that to the Microsoft algorithm which will identify the street signs and solve the captcha.

        Of course, when I first learned of reCaptcha back when they were only doing text, the idea was that they were giving you words that the OCR had trouble figuring out. They'd give two words back then though, one that the computer already knew, and one that it didn't. That way it could aggregate the results for words it didn't know to figure out what they were. Not sure that they're still doing this with the street signs, since they often only show one single image. But the original intention was specifically to use the cases that the OCR system couldn't already figure out, so they might be able to do something similar where they feed the street signs to Microsoft's algorithm (or their own -- I'm sure they have one too) and use the ones it doesn't understand as their captchas.

        Eventually the AI will get better until it *can* beat all the captchas (or do as well as a human) at which point they'll need to find something else. But that's not really a problem, it's the intended result.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30 2017, @12:04PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 30 2017, @12:04PM (#533384)

    If they where really trying to do what they say they would be using the traffic camera systems video which is both legal to record and publicly available, but they are long distance cameras designed to help monitor traffic flow not identify individual cars or people, Microsoft is up to all sorts of THING OF THE CHILDREN shenanigans up her and has a very close and possibky illegal relationship with the cops, this is certainly about biometrics and linking to criminal and and since it's Hamilton probably debt collection databases

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