Secon 2019, Security Exhibition and Conference

Having just come back from SECON in Seoul, Korea, which is Asia’s largest Security Exhibition and Conference, I was able to experience the security vision from the Asian perspective. The Exhibition area was divided into a number of sections but, from the very beginning, it was clear that vision and camera related security aspects are extremely important in Asia.

Surveillance systems: how Big Brother is watching

There were sections of the exhibition related to IT Security, Big Data, and ICS Security, but as many of us know, we humans like to watch. There were camera systems related to human behavior recognition, others reading micro expressions, some collecting pictures of the faces of everyone passing by, and other ones focusing on area surveillance solutions where enormous amounts of data are analyzed every second to detect any danger or misbehavior. There were camera systems that were due to be installed on drone boats tasked with patrolling coast areas, as well as companies providing data analysis systems which can collect all that data in one place and provide us with almost any kind of result we require.

Simply said, the Asians like watching, seeing, and knowing.

The Conference took place along with the Exhibition. And here again, most things presented by representatives of eastern part of Asia were much more video surveillance oriented. Ideas presented on the conference show that everything can be controlled – employees entering the office can be checked to see whether they are in a good mood, and people coming to a restaurant can be watched to see if they left the place happier than when they were entering. In addition to this we can check if the temperature of the food served to them was correct and if the waiter was kind enough. We can add to this the kind of music played during their stay along with the light color and brightness. All of this information could give us the full picture of the situation and allow us to tune these parameters (including the cook and waiters) to reach the stage when we could say: “Yes, now our restaurant is almost perfect”
Almost perfect? – one could ask. Yes, almost, because we can always go one step further and build the database of our key customers, check what they like the most, the spices they prefer, the drinks they admire, and which waiter they like to talk to and tip the highest, … you name it – the sky is the limit.

This was just one example. We can make such analysis and dedicated solutions almost everywhere, and the cheaper those solutions will be, the more such solutions we will have. We will be measured, we will be scored, we will be controlled. They say we will not, but can we believe them?

Recently in China millions of people were banned from using public transport because, according to the measuring system which is already in place there, they did not get a high enough score. This resulted in them being moved to the lower category of citizens and losing some of their rights.

On my way back from the SECON exhibition hall to the platform of the metro station (approximately a 700m walk), I passed around 40 cameras. At least 20 of them recorded me very clearly, another 10 recorded me walking but didn’t register my face, and the last 10 cameras were ready to spy on me just in case I changed my route. It looks like “the system” liked the way I walked because they still let me enter the metro and go back to my hotel.

So, mind what you’re doing and thinking about as Big Brother keeps watching – it’s all for your safety.

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