No Silver Bullet for Terrorist Tracking

By: 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

Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
China PRC Government New National Video Surveillance Standards on May 14, 2019
The People's Republic of China (PRC) government has released a new set of overarching standards for authorities to follow when they install video...
Access Control Request to Exit (RTE) Tutorial on May 13, 2019
For access controlled doors, especially those with maglocks, 'Request to Exit', or 'RTE' devices are required to override electrified locks to...
ADT's Top Dealer "The Defenders" Sued 20+ Times on May 07, 2019
ADT's largest authorized dealer, The Defenders, has been sued more than 20 times since 2012, IPVM has verified through analyzing legal...
Aegis AI Gun Detection Video Analytics Startup on May 07, 2019
Gun detection analytic startups are increasing as the promise of AI and the threats of active shooters grow.  One company, Aegis AI, is being led...
Ranking Manufacturer Favorability 2019 on May 06, 2019
24 manufacturer's favorability was ranked based on 170+ integrators feedback. Voting plus in-depth comments revealed insights on which brands were...
Verkada Cloud VMS/Cameras Tested on May 02, 2019
Verkada is arguably the most ambitious video surveillance startup in many years. The company is developing their own cameras, their own VMS, their...
Camera Configuration Manager Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision on May 01, 2019
Which camera manufacturer has the best management tool? We tested 6 manufacturers - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision to find...
Verkada Gets Million Dollar Memphis Spec on Apr 29, 2019
The US city, most famous in video surveillance for standardizing on Hikvision, has issued an RFQ for 962 Verkada cameras due Wednesday, May 1,...
Verkada Gets Half Billion Dollar Valuation on Apr 26, 2019
Last week, when we profiled Verkada (The Fastest Growing Video Surveillance Sales Organization Ever - Verkada), we predicted they would raise $40...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Inside Look Into Scam Market Research on May 17, 2019
Scam market research has exploded over the last few years becoming the most commonly cited 'statistics' for most industries, despite there clearly...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Trump Signs 'Huawei Ban' - Executive Order Targeting Foreign Adversary Technology on May 16, 2019
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting technology provided by 'foreign adversaries', in what is widely being called a...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
San Francisco Face Recognition Ban And Surveillance Regulation Details Examined on May 14, 2019
San Francisco passed the legislation 8-1 today. While the face recognition 'ban' has already received significant attention over the past few...
Security Fail: ASISNYC Auto Emails Passwords In Plain Text on May 14, 2019
ASIS NYC automatically emails a user with the password the user just entered, in plain text, when one registers for the site / event, as the...
Hikvision VP On Muslim Oppression on May 14, 2019
Hikvision has won tens of millions of dollars, at least, in direct contracts with the Chinese government that oppresses Muslims, including a forced...

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