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City CCTV cameras lack key security features

By Sanjoy Ray
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GUWAHATI, June 17 - In what has the potential to put the life and property of Guwahatians at risk, the 290 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in 91 strategic locations of the capital city for its effective surveillance have been found to be lacking in key security features.

This, according to sources at the Assam Police headquarters here, may well take the lid off a major scam as nearly one crore rupees have already been spent on the key security project, which was envisaged � post October 30, 2008 serial blasts � for improving artificial intelligence of security forces.

Significantly, the surveillance cameras were supplied and installed by a Germany-based company which, according to sources, no longer exists.

An enquiry conducted by a technical committee into the installation of CCTVs in its report has clearly suggested that the cameras were installed by a firm named �Levelone Communications� sans some quintessential technical and security features, which may cost the investigating agency in crisis time or any law and order situation.

The report of the technical committee, which was submitted to the police headquarters a few months back, also suggested that the firm has deliberately tried to compromise with the quality of the surveillance.

�For instance, although the firm was meant to provide a server made by IBM, it did not do so. Same was the case with the UPS as the firm installed another one instead of what it had assured,� sources revealed.

Most importantly, the aspect concerning network redundancy (uptime) and symmetric norm were also compromised with, which may prove costly from the security point of view. Moreover, discrepancies were detected in laying of the cameras as well,� sources stated.

Moreover, sources at the Assam Police headquarters confide that it was still not clear why a firm, which was already blacklisted by the Haryana Government way back in 2013 after which a criminal case too was also registered against Babu Joseph, the owner of the firm, was awarded the contract.

�The contract (supply order) of the project worth Rs 10,16,75,000 under the Assam Police Intelligent Surveillance System (APISS) for Guwahati was awarded in September, 2011 with an undertaking that it would be completed within six months. However, it took them more than five years to get the work done. The work stands in violation of the agreement thereby compromising the security aspect of Guwahati,� sources said.

Questions are also being asked as to why and how the goof-up escaped the eyes of Amtron, which was responsible for the project implementation. It has also cast aspersions on the credentials of those who had approved the project meant for covering the strategic locations with storage facilities for future analysis and viewing of past and vital information.

The report of the technical committee was prepared by then Joint Commissioner of Police (Guwahati) Satyen Gogoi, senior technical director, NIC, Diganta Barman, Superintendent of Police Chittaranjan Ojha, additional Superintendent of Police Biraj Das, then ADCP (admin) Sanjeev Saikia and Ramen Hazarika of Amtron.

No action has been initiated against the firm or its owner by the Assam Police till the time of filing this report.

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City CCTV cameras lack key security features

GUWAHATI, June 17 - In what has the potential to put the life and property of Guwahatians at risk, the 290 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in 91 strategic locations of the capital city for its effective surveillance have been found to be lacking in key security features.

This, according to sources at the Assam Police headquarters here, may well take the lid off a major scam as nearly one crore rupees have already been spent on the key security project, which was envisaged � post October 30, 2008 serial blasts � for improving artificial intelligence of security forces.

Significantly, the surveillance cameras were supplied and installed by a Germany-based company which, according to sources, no longer exists.

An enquiry conducted by a technical committee into the installation of CCTVs in its report has clearly suggested that the cameras were installed by a firm named �Levelone Communications� sans some quintessential technical and security features, which may cost the investigating agency in crisis time or any law and order situation.

The report of the technical committee, which was submitted to the police headquarters a few months back, also suggested that the firm has deliberately tried to compromise with the quality of the surveillance.

�For instance, although the firm was meant to provide a server made by IBM, it did not do so. Same was the case with the UPS as the firm installed another one instead of what it had assured,� sources revealed.

Most importantly, the aspect concerning network redundancy (uptime) and symmetric norm were also compromised with, which may prove costly from the security point of view. Moreover, discrepancies were detected in laying of the cameras as well,� sources stated.

Moreover, sources at the Assam Police headquarters confide that it was still not clear why a firm, which was already blacklisted by the Haryana Government way back in 2013 after which a criminal case too was also registered against Babu Joseph, the owner of the firm, was awarded the contract.

�The contract (supply order) of the project worth Rs 10,16,75,000 under the Assam Police Intelligent Surveillance System (APISS) for Guwahati was awarded in September, 2011 with an undertaking that it would be completed within six months. However, it took them more than five years to get the work done. The work stands in violation of the agreement thereby compromising the security aspect of Guwahati,� sources said.

Questions are also being asked as to why and how the goof-up escaped the eyes of Amtron, which was responsible for the project implementation. It has also cast aspersions on the credentials of those who had approved the project meant for covering the strategic locations with storage facilities for future analysis and viewing of past and vital information.

The report of the technical committee was prepared by then Joint Commissioner of Police (Guwahati) Satyen Gogoi, senior technical director, NIC, Diganta Barman, Superintendent of Police Chittaranjan Ojha, additional Superintendent of Police Biraj Das, then ADCP (admin) Sanjeev Saikia and Ramen Hazarika of Amtron.

No action has been initiated against the firm or its owner by the Assam Police till the time of filing this report.