Eye in the sky. It is a great song by Alan Parsons. It comes from his release as part of the Alan Parson’s project. I am the eye in the sky is the line in the song. It is a haunting song, not because of anything that happened while I was listening to the song, rather because of the words and how true they ring now. There are eyes in the sky.
Everywhere, in fact, looking at you’re a larger and larger percentage of your day, every day. Of the 12 billion (which I think is low) deployed IoT devices today a chunk of them (may 20% give or take a couple of points) are cameras of some form or another. The average home today probably has one camera deployed. Some homes have more than one deployed. But if we do the math there are between 3 and 3.5 billion cameras deployed in the world today. Personally, I know of 26 cameras on my way to Arlington Virginia from Maryland. That is not counting any cameras I pass in my neighborhood, only traffic, red light and speed cameras that I pass.
I won’t argue the issue that I think is huge here. That being who owns my image. I won’t even mention the responsibility of authorities to remove the faces of innocent people when showing crimes to Juries or when investigating events. Both of those are arguments I’ve had before, and ones that require action but not the point of today’s thinking.
Rather today I am interested and intrigued by the changed in cameras in the past 24 months. HD is nice but not necessary for security cameras. 360 is nice and adds value for security cameras, but most are mounted in ways that 180-degree visibility is enough. No today I am interested in the reality of deploying cameras.
You have two real options for cameras. The first is a wired system. The risk of wires is that they can be cut unless the cameras are mounted way above ground in hard to reach places. Then someone can shoot the camera out, but in so doing they announce their intent to do wrong. At the very least they can be arrested for discharging a firearm inside the city and destroying public or private property. The other option is wireless.
Wireless presents many changes and issues, however, as well. The easy one is I can overload your home network and therefore your home security, or your business network and your business security system fairly quickly. Cameras that are wired don’t get overloaded, they pass their data to the system and as long as you don’t mount them at ground level you really haven’t as much risk. The quick and dirty solution is to knock down the cameras but the risk there is being seen.
The reality of cameras is the numbers. I mentioned early on in this piece that I know of 26 cameras between my house and where I go when I have to go to the office. 26 are the cameras I know. I am pretty sure there are much more I don’t know about. Every single ATM you pass has a camera pointing outward. It isn’t the best camera but it is a camera. There are many buildings that have entrance camera and side cameras as well. Many traffic cameras are mounted on poles and waiting for you. Red-light cameras monitor people turning on red, but they show more field of view than that.
As I said, there are roughly 3 billion (give or take a few) cameras deployed. There are some cities in the world where there are probably cameras way more often than you realize (New York, Washington DC, London, Paris etc). Each of them watching not just for their deployed issue (red lights, traffic) but also watching.
Plus you can, per Alan Parson’s put an eye in the sky. There is a song from the 70’s that while I didn’t like the song I am going to borrow a couple of lines. The song was about trucking and was called Convoy. They talk about a bunch of trucks breaking speed limits etc. One of the lines in the song is a “bird in the air.” Which is slang for a police person in a helicopter watching?
As I said, 26 cameras that I have counted in the 28 miles from my house to Arlington Virginia.
Images today provided by Dr. Hans O Andersen (and not by the eye in the sky).
Someone may actually be watching you. You aren’t paranoid, your just driving.