Visual privacy

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Visual Privacy is the relationship between collection and dissemination of visual information, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal issues surrounding them. In particular, large-scale camera networks have created increasing interest in understanding the advantages and disadvantages of such deployments. It is estimated that over 4 Million Cameras Deployed in the UK.[1] Due to increasing security concerns, camera networks have continued to proliferate across other countries such as the United States. While the impact of such systems continues to be evaluated, in parallel, tools for controlling how these camera networks are used and modifications to the images or video sent to end-users have been explored.


To combat surveillance, a number of different technologies have been suggested.

Forms of Visual Data[edit]

Visual Privacy is often typically applied to particular technologies including


Many different forms of technologies are explored to preserve privacy while providing information collected from camera networks:

  • Respectful Cameras is a solution that automatically obscures the faces of observed people in video by overlaying a colored dot over the face of the individual. This technology tracks colored markers, worn by individuals, and then infers the location of a face by an offset from the marker.[2]
  • Google Streetview uses automatic face-detection to blur all faces in the city of Manhattan.
  • Eptascape has a product which provides automatic people tracking and provides privacy-enabled surveillance.


  1. ^ McCahill, M. and Norris, C. 2004, From cameras to control rooms: the mediation of the image by cctv operatives, CCTV and Social Control: The politics and practice of video surveillance-European and global perspectives, 2004
  2. ^ Respectful Cameras: Detecting Visual Markers in Real-Time to Address Privacy Concerns. Jeremy Schiff, Marci Meingast, Deirdre K. Mulligan, Shankar Sastry, and Ken Goldberg. International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). San Diego, California. October 2007.

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