This CCTV System Actually Edits People Out

You might think that the whole point of surveillance cameras was to, y'know, watch people. But what if we were actually edited out of the street scenes they show?


That's what San Francisco-based Prism Skylabs is doing, reports New Scientist. The idea is fairly simple, though not necessarily reassuring. You see, the company's tech, used in retail stores, provides such detail that it can be used to monitor minute details of how customers navigate shops, even detecting what products they pick up and how long they look at them.

Realizing that that in itself is pretty creepy, Prism Skylabs decided to let its customers "see those details but use privacy features to remove people from those images." In other words, the technology still provides the same analytical insight, but it also preserves the privacy of the people being filmed.

It works pretty well, as you can see in the video above, using a stationary background image to paint over more dynamic features like people and vehicles. Perhaps best, the cameras do it themselves, on the fly, meaning that the company only ever transmits footage with people removed.

It'a a wonderful idea, but it remains to be seen whether it will be embraced. We can hope. [New Scientist]



Click on the link near the beginning of the article. Read more at

How does it protect privacy? They're only talking about privacy by not being visible during transmission OVER THE INTERNET?? (Viewable only to authorized people ???????) I think it's just another snooping device for retailers. and they know customers will think the camera is for security. They don't need to know what I pick up or how long I hold it to find out what items I'm attracted to. It only matters what I buy. That proof is collected at the register. I worked in retail when a customer didn't have to wonder if anyone was working there. We had enough staff to service the customer needs and monitor activity. We could tell which items were picked up and looked at FREQUENTLY by how much work there was to straighten up the shelves. Plus we were on the spot to talk to the interested person and maybe SELL the item they had picked up. The reason for picking it up in the first place is to satisfy a brief curiosity, or simply read the label. Do we really need a camera to record that, and who did it?

They also talk about having it available for home use. It's simple. When you're home shut the camera off. No justifiable reason to have it on when you're home.

Enough is enough.