Additional thoughts on smart cameras and some security issues…

Great post on Linkedin about the ability today of cameras to connect. Nikon, Olympus, Sony and other cameras have the ability to connect to a smart phone or tablet now.

That ability to create a one to one connection is incredible. The next step and what I am calling for in a smart camera is the ability to share that connection with every smart device at an event. But not all the Nikons or JVC cameras at an event sharing with the other Nikon and JVC camera owners. Every single camera taking pictures able if the owner choosers, to share their images with everyone other person there.

Creating a mesh of camera’s that results in the maximum number of potential good pictures. Not one camera but 1000. Now this brings up all sorts of PII issues I know. That is why there is a specific rule, the owner of the camera has to agree first. All people who connect into the shared camera system have to agree to abide by the rules of copyright. The image of a person is in fact their property. (not the image taken, the actual picture of the person is their property).

The security risk in this is you turn on image sharing and then you don’t turn it off. At work you are attending a meeting and decide to take a picture of the whiteboard. Now that image of a great corporate idea is freely available to anyone. Or worse someone can intentionally Blu-Jack your phone and force image sharing on. So we need sensors that tell us sharing is on. Audio, video and other sharing would automatically light an LED that is separate from the device preferably in the room. Perhaps installed in every conference room a single set of LED’s that light up and notify you upon entering the room if your sharing is on.

I can’t tell you how many times over the course of the last 10 years I’ve entered a meeting as the ONLY PERSON not carrying a laptop. If you are taking your laptop to a meeting I better see NOTES of what was said after the meeting. Or you better be looking things up to speed the end to discussions. If you are simply there with a laptop checking your mail, shame on you. (PS, laptops and tablets now often come with front and back cameras. It isn’t hard to write malware that turns the camera on).

Effectively the security required for the idea is only allowing image sharing for a time period. When you turn it on, it prompts you (how long) and then at some point during that period prompts you again (how long). It would be annoying but it would allow for personal privacy and reduce the accidental sharing of imaging.

Smart cameras would be more than simply enabling sharing. The advantage of a  camera over a cellular phone for enable this? You turn cameras off. Sometimes they stay off for days at a time. Sometimes they aren’t on for a month. That is the risk of image sharing on a cellular phone. Which by the by, you can do today without the user knowing it. A point and shoot and a DSLR would have additional security that exists (camera off) and could be added (see my CPS blogs on removable security solutions for CPS devices).

You can create a shared image from a number of devices today. (Photosynth and other solutions do this automatically from a number of sources). The authorities do this frequently to recreate a scene. Eventually as VR expands you will do this to recreate a moment in Virtual Reality, you can replay a sporting event from every angle possible. Is it a catch?

A Smart Camera would be able to switch into VR mode and out as you needed. Combining the best features of stand alone cameras (mounted and never moving) portable phone cameras (shaky but always on) and point and shoot functionality into a single device that allows you to interact with it intelligently.

Smart Cameras are coming!