CMU Develops Surveillance System, Raises Security Issues

By Erdley, Debra | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 13, 2013 | Go to article overview

CMU Develops Surveillance System, Raises Security Issues


Erdley, Debra, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Civil libertarians warn there is a darker side to emerging technologies, such as a new multiple-camera computer monitoring program Carnegie Mellon University researchers developed to track patients in a nursing home.

CMU researchers who developed the "Marauder's Map" program to predict the health of multiple nursing home patients based on around- the-clock observation of their movements are preparing to present their findings at an international conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Portland, Ore.

While they concede their work may have implications for national security, and a CMU press release touted the use of such technologies "in airports, public facilities and other areas where security is a concern," researchers say their focus was the health of the elderly.

"This had to do with health research for individual patients to alert their caregivers to subtle changes that could indicate health issues. It was not meant to be a nefarious Big Brother, big government-type project," said research team leader Alexander Hauptmann, principal systems scientist in CMU's Computer Science Department.

Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said ultimately the system could pose serious implications for privacy and civil liberties. …

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