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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday April 29 2015, @03:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-creepy-at-all dept.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning of a new surveillance technology to look out for alongside drones, automatic license plate readers, facial recognition, IMSI catchers (like Stingray), and Rapid DNA analyzers. It's Xerox's new and improved system for Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection, also known as Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection or Automated Vehicle Occupancy Verification:

For years, government agencies have chased technologies that would make it easier to ensure that vehicles in carpool lanes are actually carrying multiple passengers. Perhaps the only reason these systems haven't garnered much attention is that they haven't been particularly effective or accurate, as UC Berkeley researchers noted in a 2011 report.

Now, an agency in San Diego, Calif. believes it may have found the answer: the Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system developed by Xerox.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), a government umbrella group that develops transportation and public safety initiatives across the San Diego County region, estimates that 15% of drivers in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes aren't supposed to be there. After coming up short with earlier experimental projects, the agency is now testing a brand new technology to crack down on carpool-lane scofflaws on the I-15 freeway.

Documents obtained by CBS 8 reporter David Gotfredson show that Xerox's system uses two cameras to capture the front and side views of a car's interior. Then "video analytics" and "geometric algorithms" are used to detect whether the seats are occupied.

When the detection system's computer determines a driver is improperly traveling in the carpool lane, the cameras instantly send photos of the car's interior and its license plate to the California Highway Patrol.

In short: the technology is looking at your image, the image of the people you're with, your location, and your license plate. (SANDAG told CBS the systems will not be storing license plate data during the trial phase and the system will, at least for now, automatically redact images of drivers and passengers. Xerox's software, however, allows police the option of using a weaker form of redaction that can be reversed on request.)

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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Wednesday April 29 2015, @06:27PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <> on Wednesday April 29 2015, @06:27PM (#176767) Homepage Journal

    The correct term is "image processing" but "video analytics" notches up the stock price an increment or so.

    Last I heard was that "analytics" involved privacy-invasive customer tracking for purposes of more effective advertising, but hey that's OK people who buy stocks don't know analytics from Shinola.

    Back in the day, when Red Hat made a big splash on Wall Street, a friend pointed out that some other company with "Red" in its name enjoyed a significant stock price increase. He said that "investors thing Red Hat is the only place where you can get Linux from" and that they were too ignorant to actually figure out the full name of the company.

    Similarly with "geometric algorithms". The general public is just now becoming dimly aware that there is such a thing as an "algorithm". They don't know that algorithms have been finding least common denominators for thousands of years but they do know that algorithms are responsible for eliminating the world-wide threat of terrorism.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday April 29 2015, @07:21PM

    by takyon (881) <> on Wednesday April 29 2015, @07:21PM (#176793) Journal

    The point isn't the buzzwords, which any company will throw at you, it's that these systems are becoming more accurate.

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