A New Age of Humane Treatment: How Technology Can Change Prisons

Corporations all over New Zealand are increasingly becoming more high-tech as a way to increase productivity while cutting costs. That’s where companies like BlueJeans enter the picture, with their video conferencing equipment, making it possible to hold meetings across a variety of platforms. But today’s high-tech world also makes it possible for prisons to treat its inmates more humanely.

The concept of humane treatment has been at the forefront of the New Zealand prison system since it is believed that by treating prisoners with care and respect as well as giving them the means to integrate themselves back into society, this can help to prevent them from walking back down a criminal path. It is based on the concept of humane treatment in action that one of the current debates within the New Zealand government has been to implement new technological methods into the way in which prisoners are dealt with. This is due to the need for both rehabilitation as well as lowering the overall cost of management in today’s prison system.

Fewer Guards and Fewer Walls

One of the first proposed changes for the New Zealand prison system is the implementation of RFID prisoner tracking which would enable the prison guards to monitor the movements of prisons throughout the facility. Basically, as explained by Computerworld.co.nz, the system utilizes medical grade RFID chips which will be placed into prisoners as a means of tracking their movement throughout the prison which would result in a faster and more efficient method of prisoner tracking. The Identity Chip, a small innocuous device no bigger than a grain of rice, can be surgically inserted within the skin of a prisoner enabling a safe and efficient way for prison staff to access the personal history of prisoners as well as track their movements within the jail without having to track them via CCTV cameras and prison personnel.

The RFID system can also limit the ability of prisoners to enter particular areas of the prison by keying the RFID frequency emitted by the chips to the door locks which helps to minimize instances where prisoners inadvertently get a hold of the keys to a restricted area of the prison. Through the implementation of a prisoner tracking system, the New Zealand government will be able to save significant amounts of money on the cost of prison operations. This in turn could go towards improving the conditions within prisons such as better access to medical care and more productive activities (i.e. classes so that inmates can learn skills which they can apply outside of prison). It is expected that once the tracking system has been successfully implemented, this will result in altered operations for local prison systems towards more efficient and effective prison management without having to scale up personnel.

Changing Prisoner Visits

Aside from using RFID tags on prisoners, another change that has been implemented over the past few years has been the use of video conferencing in order to create a means by which families and friends can stay in touch with their loved ones that have been incarcerated in prison. Globalmed.com explains that this program was implemented as a means of enabling prisoners to maintain ties with their family members and friends outside of prison. Medscape.com states that by maintaining these ties and having the prisoners know that they have people missing them and waiting for them outside the prison that this can aide in their rehabilitation. Such a notion does have a lot of promise since it is thought that one of the reasons why criminals go back to being criminals after their prison time is over is because they believe that there is nothing more for them in society. If they can see that there are people that love them and are missing them, it is likely that rehabilitative measures are going to be more successful due to the desire of a prisoner to continue to maintain such bonds.

Creating Access to Online Courses

Another possible change that may be underway in the New Zealand prison system is the potential for prisoners to have access to online lessons. This can range from enabling them to finish high school or even earn a certificate for a particular skill such as plumbing, construction, etc. The point of this system is help prisoners integrate better into society once they are out of prison.

Conclusion

Through the implementation of an RFID prisoner tracking system, the job of the support staff will be that much easier since they will be able to immediately monitor and restrict the movement of prisoners throughout the facility. By knowing where all prisoners are at all times, this helps to reduce the need for a block by block examination of the entire facilities of the prison and makes their job safer since they do not need to be among the general prison population to conduct a daily headcount of the prisoners. Aside from this, the use of video conferencing also aides in helping prisoners realize the need to become a positive part of society through proper rehabilitation and potentially even taking some of the prison sponsored courses so that they will be able to have some means of earning a livelihood once they are out of jail.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Explosion Caught on CCTV

Samsung hasn’t had the best luck with their phones lately, at least not when we’re looking at them from a fire hazard point-of-view. It isn’t that long time ago that we heard about the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 that combusted while the owner was asleep, and now it seems the next one has blown up – and this time the whole thing was caught on CCTV as the Galaxy S3 exploded.

When we hear a story like this, it is usual due to the use of cheap third party chargers. But this time it wasn’t connected to anything when it spontaneously exploded. It is currently unknown if the battery used was the original, as it is too badly burned on the photos to recognize – but it’s my personal bet that it wasn’t the original.

The phone was just laying there on a shelf when it suddenly exploded, and since the whole thing happened in the Krung Thai Bank, it was caught on the security CCTV cameras. Lucky for everyone, there wasn’t any major damage to anything else and no one was in direct proximity of the device when it exploded.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-RYT2EbaR0

When looking at the video of the explosion and imagining someone having it in their pockets at the time, this could however have ended a lot worse.

Thanks to Coconuts Bangkok for providing us with this information

UK Police Trials The World’s Fastest Face Recognition System

Britain is dubbed the most watched country in the world, with over 6 million CCTV cameras watching everything that moves. This is why the London police aims to further improve its CCTV network use by adding body-worn cameras to help identify ‘criminal activities’ faster.

The new technology is said to still undergo some trials in London, having Leicestershire police already confirming that it has become the first police force in the UK to test NEC’s NeoFace face recognition software in hopes that it will “transform the way criminals are tracked down”. NeoFace aims to identify faces by analysing “dozens” of facial figures from digital images captured by the CCTV system or body cameras and comparing them to the 90,000 photos stored in the Leicestershire Police database.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfFl6w3vRTw[/youtube]

NeoFace is said to have its strength present in processing power, being able to analyse the figures in a matter of seconds compared to manually searching for possible matches (which is said to take hours to do). While the new tech is just debuting in the UK, it is said to have proven invaluable in the US. Chicago Police Department has stated that the system helped them sort through 4.5 million booking photos in order to find evidence and convict a suspected armed robber.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Watch Dogs Browser App Brings the Hacking Experience into Your Browser

Everyone who has played Ubisoft’s latest hacking game title, Watch Dogs, knows about what Aiden Pearce, the main character in the game, has in his smartphone. For those who do not know, his smartphone is basically a mobile NSA tracking and hacking ‘supercomputer’, having the power to disable traffic lights, fiddle with bridges, smartphones, power lines and even the city’s grid.

Although in the real world you cannot do all of this with just a smartphone, Ubisoft has apparently made a ‘light’ version (without all the hacking features of course) of the app, which is available in your browser. Real world data from cities such as Berlin, Paris and even London can be displayed and accessed via the Watch_Dogs WeAreData browser app, displaying publicly accessible location-based data.

The application in question appears to display where mobile phones are, show and read tweets from the locations they were triggered, link CCTV feeds, traffic lights and more. It is said that each city displays a host of data, including transportation, network nodes, city infrastructure such as ATMs and public toilets, social media data from Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Flickr, all displayed with location data and positioned accordingly.

Though this seems as an incredible tool, it has its limitation. All data gathered by the app is said to come from sources which gave their consent on sharing location information. There is no information or data from unauthorized sources from, let’s say, the government. Nonetheless, it is fun to click around and see how the connected world is and looks like daily, and even spy on ‘unsuspected’ victims who post location tags and/or pictures all around these cities. Anyone interested in looking at one of the three available cities can go on the Watch_Dogs WeAreData website here.

Thank you Cult of Mac for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Cult of Mac

Compro TN4230 Outdoor PoE IP Camera Review

Introduction


Security cameras that run over a standard IP network are becoming more of a common place in the home and in a commercial environment, partly due to their ease of setup and the seamless integration in to an existing backbone, but also the ease of scaling the system up to the levels that we find in our supermarkets [for example] where tens, if not hundreds of cameras are connected in to a single environment. The additional benefit of utilising IP cameras though is the ability to connect into the system from a remote location and use it as though you are on the site itself. This is not where the selling points end though; power delivery to the cameras is another factor that has to be taken into account and with so many cameras in some instances being required, or the position where they required not the convenient for the purpose of mains power, the capacity to power the cameras directly from the network switch and through a single cable with the data to the camera, makes the speed of installation and the ease of expansion much quicker and easier.

Over the cameras that we’ve looked at previously, the TN4230 that we have here today is capable of being powered via PoE (Power over Ethernet) and additionally it is IP66 rated, meaning that it is suitable for installation outside, where exposure to the elements will test its resistance against whatever the weather can throw at it – just as well I’m in the UK for this part of the review seeing as our weather patterns change on a near daily basis. Alongside the option to connect the camera through an Ethernet cable, the TN4230 does allow for analogue connections to be made through a BNC interface with a mic-in and audio-out supplied through two 3.5mm ports. A digital relay output and RS-485 terminal further add to the feature set, allowing the camera to be connected to an existing security system where required and a power terminal is on hand for situations where PoE is not available.

To compliment the various connectivity options, the TN4230 boasts a 1600 x 1200 UXGA 2MP sensor, which although not 1080p, is near enough HD quality and along side infra-red low-light operation we also find 4GB of on-board storage available through a microSD card, two-way audio and even a heater to keep the camera warm during cooler periods. At this point I’ll note that whilst cooler operation is better for computer hardware, in an external environment, cooler temperatures bring moisture which is not the best companion inside an electrical device. Cloud access through Compro’s C4Home mobile app and desktop management through the included ComproView software make light work of checking up to see if everything is as it should be with the capacity to send out alerts via email when pre-defined events occur; such as motion detection. All this for around £260 may seem expensive but as we are about to find out, a hands on look around the camera may justify the price point.

Inside the box alongside the camera, we don’t get a whole lot as far as accessories go. Aside from a quick setup guide and a set of terminal headers for connecting the relay trigger, external power and RS-485 output, there’s little more than the camera to be found. Alongside the camera, Compro have sent us their BM-100 wall mounting kit as we will obviously need to get this up and fitted for testing outdoors.

Netgear VueZone VZSX2800 Wireless Surveillance Camera Kit Review

Introduction


If I was to go out onto the street and ask people what they thought surveillance was, I’d imagine a high percentage of those asked would answer with CCTV or constant video recordings for security. Now for the most part, this is what surveillance is however there are other applications for remote cameras, where the surveillance is not necessarily for security. Take lorries and HGV’s for example, most of them today have a surveillance system built into the cab with a camera situated on the rear of the vehicle so that the driver can easily see what is behind him, whilst in other situations, cameras are used for monitoring wildlife and animals to save them from the disruption of a person being present in the area.

Another area of use for remote cameras could be for monitoring a baby or young child in their bedroom once they have gone up to bed. Baby monitors are a highly popular product with today’s generation of parents with new borns and infants, with the piece of mind factor there for users to see that their child is safe and well. Now whilst there are dozens of applications for cameras and monitoring applications, the biggest use for them is we all know in today’s world is security. With dozens of different types of cameras and numerous environments that they are built to work in, choosing a product that is suited for your needs and user level is a somewhat daunting task and consequently home security is a rather empty market in respect to commercial use.

Netgear’s VueZone camera system that I’m looking at today is designed specifically for the consumer market. With such a wide variety of situations where cameras could be of an assistance, the totally wire-free system and the ability to record in low light conditions makes this system ideal for the home user, where the speed of installation and simplicity to operate and maintain is far more important than what it is at the commercial level.

Packed into the box, Netgear have packed in a lot of kit and alongside the key components that the system needs to operate, the VZSX2800 bundle has two cameras, one of which is able to record video at night though the use if an infra-red light. Besides the cameras we get four semi-circular magnetic mounts for the two cameras (to allow quick and simple changes in areas covered), screws and rawlplugs for fitting the camera mounts and infra-red lamp where necessary and a quick setup guide to get you up and running in no time. Netgear quote that this system should take no time at all to get setup and running, so let’s have a look and see if things are just as simple as they say they are.