So how do we even begin to reclaim local control over police surveillance in a fragmented world? First, we need people to ask the most basic of questions about what surveillance technologies are being purchased with tax dollars and why. Questions of public safety require public comment and oversight. Second, we need to create a space to demand accountability from local leaders. At some point in the fiscal year, local officials should have to explain their technology purchases and policies to the community.
Abbas Hakimzadeh's jail cell was bleak. High walls, one sink and a window. Just enough light crept in to distinguish between morning and night. This was solitary confinement in Iran in 2009. The government was in the thick of the largest crackdown on political dissent since the 1979 revolution, jailing scores of protesters, intellectuals, and journalists.
Kimberly Krawczyk says she would do anything to keep her students safe. But one of the unconventional responses the local Broward County school district has said could stop another tragedy has left her deeply unnerved: an experimental artificial-intelligence system that would surveil her students closer than ever before. The South Florida school system, one of the largest in the country, said last month it would install a camera-software system called Avigilon that would allow security officials to track students based on their appearance: With one click, a guard could pull up video of everywhere else a student has been recorded on campus. The 145-camera system, which administrators said will be installed around the perimeters of the schools deemed "at highest risk," will also automatically alert a school-monitoring officer when it senses events "that seem out of the ordinary" and people "in places they are not supposed to be." The supercharged surveillance network has raised major questions for some students, parents and teachers, like Krawczyk, who voiced concerns about its accuracy, invasiveness and effectiveness.
A lawyer for the parents of a teenager who drowned during a high school swim class earlier this year said in a lawsuit that surveillance video appears to show the teacher looking at his cell phone while the teen drowned. Benjamin Curry, 15, drowned on May 8 at the San Ramon Valley High School swim class, an autopsy report said. Aaron Becker, the physical education teacher, was apparently having the students tread water, The East Bay Times reported in October. "I've learned from reviewing the video and having it enhanced that it appears that the instructor was looking at his cell phone while standing on a diving board when he should've been supervising the children," Andy Schwartz, the family's attorney, said, according to the Bay Area News Group. "If he was on his phone he probably was distracted. It's one of those unanswered questions that the Currys would like to have answered."
A zero-day vulnerability present in security cameras and surveillance equipment using Nuuo software is thought to impact hundreds of thousands of devices worldwide. Researchers from cybersecurity firm Tenable disclosed the bug, which has been assigned as CVE-2018-1149. The vulnerability cannot get much more serious, as it allows attackers to remotely execute code in the software, the researchers said in a security advisory on Monday. Nuuo, describing itself as a provider of "trusted video management" software, offers a range of video solutions for surveillance systems in industries including transport, banking, government, and residential areas. Dubbed "Peekaboo," the zero-day stack buffer overflow vulnerability, when exploited, allows threat actors to view and tamper with video surveillance recordings and feeds.