There has recently been much discussion, in the news media, about the new era of piracy in which we find ourselves -not the digital ‘piracy’ invented by greedy media moguls but the real thing -complete with AK47s and speedboats. (According to the BBC, piracy cost the world $60 – 70m in 2008, so I’m not clear why this is even seen as an important issue, given that banking costs the world this amount every few minutes).
The pirates’ modus operandi is to board vessels without warning and hold their crew and cargo for ransom.
Today’s invention is a way to provide the crew with more notice of an attack. Each ship travelling in a region subject to piracy (maybe a few hundred vessels) would be equipped with a set of cameras capturing both visual spectrum and infra red images. These would constantly scan the ship’s surroundings and beam images to a webpage for the ship in question.
These pages would be displayed 24/7 on screens in prominent locations…(perhaps in railway stations and supermarkets, where large numbers of people have nothing better to do than watch displays as they wait).
This crowdsourced vigilance would result in mobile phone calls to a displayed number in the event that enough people detected some suspicious behaviour and acted to warn the ship in question. Prizes for accurate warnings might be offered.