Prominent Blowhard Attacks Video Surveillance

By: John Honovich, Published on Mar 02, 2010

Bruce Schneier's biases against surveillance cameras are clear, despite his lack of evidence. Schneier is an important public figure as he is one of the world's most cited people in security. While an undisputed scholar in cryptography, his historical rants against surveillance show little thought and analysis.

His most recent screed, featured on CNN, attacks surveillance cameras citing the Hamas assassination in Dubai. He boldly claims that the assasins, "make no effort to hide themselves from the cameras, sometimes seeming to stare directly into them. They obviously don't care that they're being recorded, and -- in fact -- the cameras didn't prevent the assassination, nor as far as we know have they helped as yet in identifying the killers."

First, faulting surveillance cameras to stop assassins is insane. Such people are willing to die and therefore will not be deterred by fear of future capture or having their picture taken. Only a small percentage of criminals have no fear of consequences. They are the most resistant to all forms of counter-measures but also the least common.

Secondly, those cameras in the hotel do not exist to stop assassins. Hotels use cameras for much more basic operational reasons such as checking on small disturbances, prostitution, drugs, employee misbehavior, etc. I am sure that hotel never designed the system to stop assassins nor would almost any hotel in the world. 

Third, the cameras provide indisputable evidence of the faces and appearances of the assassins which is important not only in tracking suspects but in eliminating doubt during trial.

Schneier goes on to argue that "the data are clear: CCTV cameras have minimal value in the fight against crime." To the contrary, as we investigated in our own more comprehensive analysis of studies, CCTV has proven value in public facilities for certain clearly defined roles. Secondly, the studies we examined were an average of 10 years old, reflecting far less powerful (and more expensive) technology than is available today.

Schneier dismisses the importance of private sector CCTV use: "Cameras aren't completely ineffective, of course ... sometimes it is cost-effective for a store to install cameras to catch shoplifters or a casino to install cameras to detect cheaters. But these are instances where there is a specific risk at a specific location." What Schneier misses is that the overwhelming majority of cameras are used by private sector organizations trying to deter, detect or solve specific incidents, including ironically the hotel in question in Dubai.

Thankfully the article received many negative comments from readers, reflecting a broader community that largely understands Schneier's criticisms are over the top.

1 report cite this report:

Is Terrorism not worth worrying about? on May 09, 2010
After the recent Times Square attempt, the number of public critiques against video surveillance and other anti-terrorist measures has increased....
Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

"He Is An Idiot!" Exclaims SIA Director John Mack on Mar 23, 2020
Here is another inside look into the "leaders" of the security industry. SIA director John Mack of Imperial Capital is angry at IPVM. Why? We...
Faked Coronavirus Fever Detection, Athena Used Hikvision; Responds - Selling NDAA Compliant Cameras, Pledging 50% Of Profits to Victims on Mar 24, 2020
US company, Athena Security, faked its coronavirus fever detection marketing, faked a customer, faked comments, and is now using Hikvision, IPVM...
Sunell Panda Cam Body Temperature Measurement Camera Tested on May 14, 2020
Sunell is far less well known than its gargantuan domestic competitors Dahua and Hikvision but the company's 'Panda Cam' is going head to head...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Hikvision Salespeople: We Don't Need A Blackbody on May 13, 2020
Dahua jumped out on its cross-town rival selling fever cameras but Hikvision salespeople are fighting back, arguing that, unlike Dahua, Hikvision...
Fever Cameras Are Medical Devices, Per The FDA, Dahua, Feevr, Hikvision, InVid Contrary Claims Are False on May 28, 2020
Fever cameras are medical devices, despite what euphemisms various sellers use. The US FDA clearly categorizes them as medical devices and...
Dahua, Hikvision, ZKTeco Face Mask Detection Shootout on Jun 19, 2020
Temperature tablets with face mask detection are one of the hottest trends in the current coronavirus driven market. But how well does face mask...
Colombia's President Promotes Bad Hikvision Fever Camera Setup on Jun 17, 2020
Colombia's President Iván Duque has promoted a haphazard Hikvision fever camera setup that violates international fever scanning standards and is...
China DVR/NVR Backdoor Discovered, Huawei Refutes on Feb 07, 2020
A backdoor was found in Chinese-produced DVRs and NVRs that secretly allowed access to the recorders. While it was first attributed to Huawei...
Don't Deceive. Lessons From Scott Schafer on Mar 20, 2020
Deception is bad. We can learn some important lessons from Scott Schafer, a key player in the problems of Pelco, Arecont, and SIA. Earlier...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Remove Dahua and Hikvision Equipment "Immediately" Or Else Banned From US Government Contracts on Jul 10, 2020
The US government has directed contractors to remove covered equipment, such as Dahua, Hikvision, and Huawei Hisilicon products, "immediately." If...
ZeroEyes Presents Firearm Detection Video Analytics on Jul 09, 2020
ZeroEyes presented its Firearm detection Video Analytics system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from ZeroEyes...
Directory of 162 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Jul 09, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers to help you see and research what options are available. There are...
Clinton Public View Monitor (PVM) Mask Detection Tested on Jul 09, 2020
Face mask detection, or more specifically not wearing one, is expanding amidst the pandemic. Clinton Electronics has added this capability to their...
These Florida Real Estate Agents Are Now Selling "SafeCheck USA" Temperature Detectors on Jul 09, 2020
The "Kakon Brothers", William and Nathan, are self-described "south Florida Power Agents specializing in Luxury Real Estate" who "have closed over...
Avigilon ACC Cloud Tested on Jul 08, 2020
Avigilon merged Blue and ACC, adding VSaaS features to its on-premise VMS, offering remote video and health monitoring that was previously limited...
Hikvision's India Dominance Faces Threat on Jul 08, 2020
While Hikvision has become a dominant video surveillance provider in India, recent tension between the governments of India and the PRC is...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020, with Congress members and activists speaking out against it while video...
Sperry West / Alibaba Tablet Temperature Measurement Tested on Jul 07, 2020
In April, we ordered a ~$500 temperature tablet from Alibaba. We set it to the side while doing 18 other temperature screening tests but, after...
Facial Recognition: Weak Sales, Anti Regulation, No Favorite, Says Security Integrators on Jul 07, 2020
While facial recognition has gained greater prominence, a new IPVM study of security systems integrators shows weak sales, opposition to...