As details emerge on the Boston bombing, the impact and use of surveillance technologies is coming into view. [Now, updated below with a list of manufacturer claims on how their products would have (ha ha) prevented or solved the bombings.]
The FBI says that one of the bombs was contained in a black backpack that looked like so:
Presumably, since no one suggests this is a suicide bombing, the bomber must have abandoned the bag outside.
Immediately, this raises the question of detecting the abandoned object, either through a person calling it in or an analytic system automatically detecting it. However, give the dense crowds and numbers of moving people, this would be very hard to do via computer.
The next question is the role of recorded video. Historically, this would have been whatever surveillance cameras were in place. However, a huge shift has occurred in the last 5 years. Now, literally everyone has cameras integrated into their phones and many people were recording images and videos before and during the incident. Given the sheer number of those cameras, their superior resolution to most deployed cameras, and the variety of angles they were taken at, those personal cameras could prove even more critical than public cameras.
There's been a debate about the 'crowdsourcing' of the investigation where people on the Internet are going through shared videos and images, looking for suspects. This image has gained the most attention:
This could simply be too guys hanging out, falsely accused on the Internet. Or it might be right, or there might be another lead identified by people on the Internet scanning through personal videos and images.
Questions: Any analytics that can help here? Either to detect beforehand or search? What about the role of traditional surveillance cameras vs. personal camera/phones?