No Silver Bullet for Terrorist Tracking

Author: John Honovich, Published on May 02, 2010

Every time a terrorist event or attempt happens, numerous vendors flood the market with claims that they can solve or prevent them. Preventing is pretty much an impossibility for video surveillance or analytic solutions. There is simply not enough unique characteristics of terrorists for a video system to detect prior to an explosion.

For this week's NYC terrorist attempt, review a surveillance video of the suspect below:

Also read about details on the difficulty of searching for video in Times Square.

Update: NYT is now reporting that the man in the video above how who puts down a bag briefly and and pulls off a shirt 'might not be connected to the failed bombing.'

Update: Suspect arrested - definitely not the guy in the video.

A more basic but misunderstood problem is the issue of quickly reviewing video and finding suspects. Doing so is hard logistically, if not technologically. 3 reasons:

  • Lack of standards amongst recorders: On any given street, there may be a dozen brands of recorders, none of which can be accessed by the same software. The police will have to connect to each one.
  • Lack of network access to recorders: Recorders in private businesses can almost never be accessed remotely. This requires the police going to each location.
  • Lack of controls to access recorders: Even if you had network access and the right viewing software, private businesses would be unlikely to provide total 24/7/375 access by the police. An agreement would have to be reached on when and with what permission these cameras could be accessed.

Can this be resolved in the near future? Unlikely.

'Standards' for recorders are in development but they are very early (see notes on PSIA and ONVIF recording). Even if they gain traction, it could take years before they are broadly adopted.

Network access can be achieved through opening up holes into internal networks. However, this is time consuming and is widely viewed as a poor Informational security practice. We are seeing a number of hosted/managed video providers enable 'plug n play' remote access but this is still very early (it could take a decade before such offerings are widely used).

With some cities are attempting to link private cameras, the technical barriers may it expensive and complex to do so, limiting its practical viability.

Addendum: High definition cameras are a technology that we do believe would help investigating terrorist events. It would address at all the issue of accessing video. However, it would help provide more details of suspects (the video above being a good example).

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Axis 2N Intercom Tested on Nov 08, 2018
Axis expanded its video intercom business buying Czech-based 2N in 2016. Despite competing against owner Axis' intercoms, 2N recently registered as...
Avigilon Opens Up Analytics And Cameras on Nov 06, 2018
Avigilon is opening up. The company historically famous for advocating its own end-to-end solutions and making it harder for 3rd parties to...
Directory of Access Control and Intrusion Startups on Oct 30, 2018
This directory catalogs access control and intrusion detection startups IPVM has found noteworthy. The directory is provided for your review to...
Contactless Access Credentials Guide on Oct 29, 2018
Contactless credentials are the most common component used in an access control system and while many look alike externally, important differences...
IP Camera Installation Tool Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Ideal, Hanwha, Triplett, Veracity on Oct 23, 2018
Setting up IP cameras has historically been challenging, with techs often precariously using a laptop on a ladder or lift. Some options for install...
Higher Power PoE 802.3bt Ratified, Impact on Security Products Examined on Oct 12, 2018
Power over Ethernet has become one of the most popular features of many video, access, and other security products. See our PoE for IP Video...
IACP 2018 Police Show Final Report on Oct 08, 2018
IPVM went to Orlando to cover the 2018 IACP conference, the country's largest police show (about as big as ASIS), examining the 700+...
Last Chance - October 2018 Camera Course on Oct 04, 2018
Today is the last day to register for the October 2018 Camera Course, register now. This is the only independent surveillance camera course,...
Evidence Of Hikvision's Involvement With Xinjiang IJOP And Re-Education Camps on Oct 02, 2018
IPVM reveals as-yet unreported details about Hikvision’s activities in Xinjiang - a region of China where massive human rights abuses are being...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Hikvision Silent on "Bad Architectural Practices" Cybersecurity Report on Nov 14, 2018
A 'significant vulnerability was found in Hikvision cameras' by VDOO, a startup cybersecurity specialist. Hikvision has fixed the specific...
French Government Threatens School with $1.7M Fine For “Excessive Video Surveillance” on Nov 14, 2018
The French government has notified a high-profile Paris coding academy that it risks a fine of up to 1.5 million euros (about $1.7m) if it...
Integrator Credit Card Alternative Divvy on Nov 13, 2018
Most security integrators are small businesses but large enough that they have various employees that need to be able to expense various charges as...
Directory of Video Intercoms on Nov 13, 2018
Video Intercoms, also known as Video Door-Phones or Video Entry Systems, have been growing in the past decade as more and more IP camera...
Beware Amazon Go Store Hype (Tested) on Nov 13, 2018
IPVM's trip to and testing of Amazon Go's San Francisco store shows a number of significant operational and economic issues that undermine the...
Magos Radar Company Profile on Nov 12, 2018
Magos America General Manager Yaron Zussman admits when he first came across Magos, he asked himself: "What's innovative about radar?" Be that as...
Genetec Privacy Protector Tested on Nov 12, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Privacy Protector into Security Center, an analytic which anonymizes individuals in cameras' fields of view...
Chinese Government Increases Hikvision Ownership on Nov 12, 2018
The Chinese government - Hikvision's controlling shareholder - is increasing its ownership of the video surveillance giant amid sharp stock price...
Axis: "No One Wants To Buy A Camera" on Nov 09, 2018
Axis has, in its own description, made a bold declaration: The industry is changing so rapidly that the following statement might seem bold but...
Video Surveillance Hard Drive Size Statistics 2018 on Nov 08, 2018
What is the most common hard drive size for video surveillance? 150+ integrators answered: What size hard drive do you most commonly use? What...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact