The brave new world is here. There are cameras everywhere, and it’s not working out too well.

CBS 17 News reports:

Thousands of pictures of Duke University​ students captured for Chinese artificial intelligence research

Pictures of about 2,000 Duke University students are in a recently-deleted database whose users included Chinese military academies.

A Duke vice president tells CBS 17 the university removed data from its website on April 25 which include thousands of images taken of people at the Duke Chapel Quad on March 14, 2014. The photos were part of a computer science doctoral student Ergys Ristani’s research into tracking movements of multiple people with multiple cameras.

As part of Ristani’s publication process for his Duke Multi-Target, Multi-Camera (MTMC) project, the data sets and images were posted on the university’s website and made available to other researchers.

“The study had been approved to capture images of individuals in a defined indoor space, and the resulting data was supposed to be available to other researchers only upon request, not through an open website,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke University Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations.

Rather than record people indoors, as approved by the Institutional Review Board, Ristani’s surveillance included eight cameras mounted around a high-traffic quadrangle near the university’s chapel and Page Auditorium. Signs posted in the area provided notice of the surveillance.

Each camera captured nearly 90 minutes of video. The footage supported studies of software with person recognition technology, and the inter-connected cameras allowed researchers to test trackers from one zone to the next.

“The data were then placed on a public website. As a result of this significant deviation from the approved protocol, the public website was taken down on April 25, 2019, and there are no plans to reopen it,” Schoenfeld said.


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