Smile, Someone’s Watching

Seems like UM has decided to install a web of spy security cameras on campus.

IQinVision, market leader in high-performance HD megapixel IP cameras, today announced the University of Miami, Florida, has installed over 350 IQinVision megapixel cameras throughout its main campus in order to create a safer environment for students, staff, and visitors. The University of Miami is a private research university with more than 15,000 students.

The university had maintained video surveillance for a number of years, but as Jose Ruano, Executive Director of IT Security, explained, “Our challenge was that a university is very de-centralized. We had so many legacy analog systems, and we were looking to bring it all together into a unified system that we could manage in a centralized manner.” Campus Police are responsible for monitoring video and investigating any incidents, but as Ruano pointed out this was made very difficult by the many disparate systems.

In order to integrate all the different video systems into a single unified system, Ruano and colleague Steve Weatherly, Senior Security Engineer, knew the university needed to upgrade to IP. “It was much more economical to upgrade our cameras and run them over the IP network than laying coax,” recalled Weatherly

(via – Article – University of Miami installs over 350 megapixel cameras.)

I wonder whether the U. has thought this through carefully:

  • Are there rules about siting them so they cannot see into dorm rooms or offices? (This is particularly important for cameras that can be aimed or operated remotely)
  • Who has access to the feeds?
  • How long are the images stored?
  • Are there policies in place as to how to respond to subpoena requests? Will people captured in the images be given notice before their images are shared?

Any other issues I should put on my list before I go asking questions?

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3 Responses to Smile, Someone’s Watching

  1. Wow. I wouldn’t go to U of M with those cameras. You can get nabbed for smoking a joint?

    Everything is done in the name of “safety” and the people, like sheep, just accept these enormous changes in our society. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I hear of these cameras creeping into stores, roads, and now school campuses, I keep thinking of the book 1984. Some day people will look back and regret this frightened time when our freedom was abridged.

  2. Omar Salazar II says:

    Additional Questions:

    (1) MONITORING OR REFERENCE: Will the feeds be monitored on a continuous or random basis (bad), or will campus police refer to the footage (past footage) in the event of an incident only? Will the cameras be used (2) DETECTION OR INVESTIGATION: Will Campus police or other campus staff use the IQeye system as a means of detecting crime–where all are vulnerable to random surveillance? Or, will the IQeye system be used as an tool to investigate reported crime? Additionally, if in the course of investigating a crime, video footage reveals other “criminal” or “suspect” activity, what then?

    As a reference point, London has one of the world’s most sophisticated CCTV systems–where live feed is continuously monitored, but I’m not sure if it’s recorded (probably only in certain areas in order to lesson storage costs). It would be interesting to research the effect (positive and negative) this has had on police efficiency, crime prevention, and on privacy violation or abuse.

    The University most probably went with the 511 series [ ], where the camera angle are not manipulable remotely. If this is the case, this will partly negate the “can they look into dorm rooms or follow people around?” concern.

  3. I’d be interested in know where the images are stored, and what policies are in place to notify of a security breach or use the images.

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