May 17, 2004

The Panda Cam

Panda cam sign

I took a trip to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on Saturday and ran across an interesting approach to privacy in an area with sensors. In this case it was the panda exhibit at the National Zoo which has a panda cam which enables viewers on the Internet to see the pandas in real-time. You can see it here. In addition to the images, they also record sound.

Since the pandas are very close to the public when they are in their enclosure, visitor's images and voices are easily captured by the cameras and broadcast to the world. The zoo decided that the appropriate way to deal with this situation is to allow everyone to be recorded, and to inform them that they are under survellience.

On the one hand this is better than you usually get with survellience cameras, but on the other hand it's not at all clear where the cameras are in the exhibit, where the microphones are, or what the recording quality is. When I checked the website from home I was more bothered by the audio than the video since the video was primarily focussed on the pandas, but the audio picked up whatever.

I think that they should get rid of the audio and make it much more clear where the camera is located.

Posted by djp3 at May 17, 2004 7:19 AM | TrackBack (0)
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