Surveillance and observation: The all-seeing eyes of big brother

Peter Lehr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As the marauding attacks of Mumbai and Paris or the various recent vehicle attacks in Nice, Berlin, London and Barcelona demonstrate, many terrorists select ‘soft targets’ in the shape of unprotected locations where a crowd usually can be expected. But even if they are bound for hard targets, terrorists are likely to move through public space. In order to heighten the security of such public spaces as well, and in order to prevent an impending attack from taking place, surveillance and observation devices could serve as an early-warning system enabling us to initiate counter-measures. Currently, CCTV systems as well as ‘Smart’ CCTV systems offer us this opportunity – which is why in this chapter, I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such systems, to then take a critical look at Augmented Reality (Mixed Reality) as an up-and-coming tool in the fight against terrorism (and criminality in general). Some Chinese police forces for example already make use of ‘smart glasses’ in order to identify suspects just by looking at them. I conclude this chapter with some critical remarks on this ‘Minority Report’-style policing of the (near) future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameAdvanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications
ISSN (Print)1613-5113
ISSN (Electronic)2363-9466


  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
  • CCTV
  • Smart CCTV
  • Smart CCTV and biometrics
  • Smart glasses
  • Surveillance drones
  • Virtual Reality


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