Glasgow, Scotland is slated to become the first “smart city” in the United Kingdom after receiving a £24 million grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which will result in wonderful benefits like facial recognition for the city’s network of surveillance cameras.
Some of the initiatives sound a bit like other “smart city” programs, like the plans for the pilot program in San Francisco, especially in the quite troubling surveillance aspect. That being said, the surveillance in San Francisco goes far beyond the plans for the “smart” streetlight program even into the realm of so-called pre-crime.
Glasgow beat out 30 other cities in the UK to win the host what the TSB calls the “Future Cities Demonstrator.”
According to a TSB press release, “The Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator aims to address some of the city’s most pressing energy and health needs. For example, developing systems to help tackle fuel poverty and to look at long-standing health issues such as low life expectancy.”
However, it is clear that one of the major focuses is “improved crime prevention [and] a reduction in anti-social behavior.”
Indeed, as a recent BBC article notes, “Better use of CCTV camera technology will feed back to control centers, with the aim of preventing and reducing anti-social behavior.”
The BBC also notes that the city’s CCTV cameras will be linked to the traffic management unit in order to identify traffic incidents more quickly.
“It will use analytical software and security cameras to help identify and prevent crime in the city,” the BBC adds.
The system will be capable of “[i]mproved crime prevention and detection of crime as well as helping to reduce anti-social behavior incidents through the improved use of camera technology and the integration of data” according to the Glasgow City Council website.
The interesting aspect of that is the fact that analytical software will be used along with cameras to help prevent crime. One can only assume that some kind of technology similar to the pre-crime systems – formally known as “behavior recognition” or “behavioral suspect detection” – deployed in America will be used.
Additionally, according to Councilor Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, it will also be used for tax collection.
“By linking everything from foot and vehicle traffic to council tax collection and hospital waiting lists we can ensure we are being as innovative and smart to meet the continued challenges of a modern and future city life,” Matheson said.
According to the BBC, other cities in the UK including Birmingham, Sunderland and London will be deploying similar technology in the near future.
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