Axxon Public Surveillance
by Sue Basko
A company called AXXONSOFT LIMITED, of Limassol, Cyprus, sells public surveillance software called Intellect and Smart. The Intellect software has several variations for its place of use, including Intellect ATM, Intellect POS (point of sale), Intellect Railway, Intellect Auto and Intellect Face. Axxon claims to have 60% of the Russian market and to be #1 in the European market. Axxonsoft has offices in Moscow, Russia; Barcelona, Spain; Wiesbaden, Germany; in the Sofia region of Bulgaria; Singapore; India; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico; and in Great Falls, Virginia, USA, with Joel Moss as principal at the U.S. location.
The Intellect software coordinates analog and digital cameras in public locations, scans the images, and sends out alerts for various activities. It also recognizes faces and license plate numbers.
|Axxon Intellect ad lists what the surveillance software detects.|
Axxon claims the software detects such things as abandoned packages, loitering, and entering a restricted zone. The software captures the images in a database and the user can search and match other similar objects/ people/ actions. (Image is from Axxon product brochure.)
|Ad for Axxon Intellect Auto software explains what it does.|
Axxon has software that sees and records license plates. There is also a traffic control module. None of it sounds like it will speed up traffic that is in a jam or gridlock. (Image is from Axxon product brochure.)
|Ad for Axxon Intellect Face software explains its facial recognition software.|
Axxon software does facial recognition. It captures facial images into a database and then matches that with other images in the database. "People identified regardless of facial hair, hairstyle, eyewear, aging.." (Image is from Axxon product brochure.)
Analysis and Commentary: Just one example of why such software is bad for the community: Recently, Chicago's public transit, called CTA, purchased many new train cars for its "el" system. These cars were tested two years ago and I had the misfortune of riding on one. I immediately wrote a letter to the CTA, and this letter was published in the Chicago Tribune. The train cars have seats facing the center aisle. This is extremely uncomfortable and unfriendly, and seems to be done for the sole purpose of making the riders identifiable by the cameras mounted in the ceiling. These cameras are no doubt connected to this Axxon software or something just like it.
The CTA ordered hundreds of such train cars, which last for 40 years. The cars are now being installed on the train lines and they are nearly universally loathed. The people of Chicago are being forced to be uncomfortable and unhappy each time they ride the CTA, so that their faces can be subjected to facial recognition. The long line of seating is so unfriendly to families, anyone with a package, anyone wanting any sort of privacy/dignity. The seats pose a health hazard because they open people up to being sneezed on by all the others sitting and standing, nearly on top of one another. In case of a train crash, all the people on the long seats are likely to be flung about the car, and/or to pile up and crush one another, as well as having all those standing falling on top of them.
All this misery to satisfy someone's fetish for surveilling people in public? This must be the reason for ordering these train cars, because they are so unpleasant and so unfriendly to riders that there is no other reason possible. At the same time, the CTA claims it wants to lure more riders. That is what is right for our environment and cities. Trains should be made more comfortable and satisfying, not less so. Such train cars are chosen to help form a complete surveillance state -- and this should not be tolerated by citizens.