HP Autonomy Has Been Quietly Making Moves, Getting Creepier

HP announced today that it’s splitting into two companies to separate PCs and enterprise services. Part of the latter division is Autonomy, the Big Data company HP bought in 2012. It was a rocky and perhaps even regrettable acquisition for HP, but now Autonomy seems to be quietly gearing up.

HP Autonomy’s YouTube channel posts new videos a few times a month (though they have only a few hundred views each), and the division puts out fairly regular press releases for things like sponsoring hackathons and partnering on Auckland, New Zealand’s Future Cities initiative. But at the same time, the division has clearly been moving forward with developing large-scale surveillance systems.

By taking advantage of Autonomy’s previous work in Big Data management and analysis, HP Surveillance can now identify the license plate numbers and physical features of cars, comb CCTV footage to show only moments where an action of interest is happening (like a vehicle passing a certain landmark), and perform facial recognition in large crowds.

The video above (spotted by Emergent Futures) shows demos of these features and also displays HP Autonomy’s surveillance suite interface. From a security perspective it’s reassuring to know that law enforcement can spot illegal activity or track a getaway car more easily, but given revelations about worldwide government surveillance in the last few years, it seems a little tone deaf to call the ad “HP Surveillance demo.” But maybe that’s just me.