Overview of Edge Surveillance Practices at Protests

In an interesting talk, Kurt Opsahl enumerates various commonly used surveillance practices deployed at protests and large gatherings . While this may not seem directly related to HPC, it is none the less important to have a vague understanding of collectible data at the edge and resulting in real-time and post-mortem analysis capabilities using HPC technologies. From a societal perspective, the dilemma is finding a balance between ensuring public safety while minimizing chilling effects that may infringe on rights for political activism.

A none exhaustive list of mentioned technologies is:

  • Body-Cams (+Facial Recognition, +Body Language)
  • (Mobile) Biometric Device
  • Automatic Number Plate Readers (ANPRs)
  • Watchtowers (Cameras + Audio, sometimes Thermal Imaging)
  • Stingray/IMSI Catchers (documented use in some authoritarian regimes but little indication of official use in the US or Europe, devices are small and easily obfuscated thus it is hard to recognize their deployment).
  • Aerial Surveillance (drones, planes, helicopters)
  • Police Observation Devices (surveillance sensors)
  • Smart Street Lights
Opsahl, K. (2020, December 28). Spot the Surveillance. https://media.ccc.de/v/rc3-11406-spot_the_surveillance
Kayser-Bril, N. (2020, June 18). At least 11 police forces use face recognition in the EU, AlgorithmWatch reveals. AlgorithmWatch. https://algorithmwatch.org/en/story/face-recognition-police-europe/

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