Covert Surveillance Systems


Covert biometric surveillance systems are used to identify people without their knowledge. There are many possible applications of this technology, with the most prominent being related to law enforcement. Consider the following scenario.

A bomb has detonated at a busy train station during peak hour, causing scores of injuries and deaths. Within minutes, the authorities review CCTV footage from the station, and are able to obtain a facial image of an individual leaving a suspicious package at the bomb-site minutes before detonation. The suspect is recognized by police, and is known to have links with terrorist organizations. The police know that the suspect will go into hiding, and if they do not find him immediately, apprehending him will be very difficult. The clock is ticking. The police maintain an integrated system of surveillance cameras at public, high-traffic areas throughout the city, all of which are connected to a central facial recognition database. A photograph of the suspect is enrolled in the system. Almost immediately, the system raises alarms from a series of cameras on the other side of town, allowing police to track the suspect’s movement in real-time. Local police mobilize, and the suspect is apprehended 15 minutes after the detonation.

At the time of writing, wide-scale surveillance systems, as in the preceding scenario, are not technologically feasible. However, biometric systems have recently reached a level of performance where small-scale systems are possible, and larger systems may not be far off. Covert biometric surveillance is one of the most hyped, researched, and promising applications of biometric identification.


False Alarm Ground Truth Surveillance System False Alarm Rate Capture Image 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag US 2009

Personalised recommendations