A peer-to-peer surveillance architecture comprising a plurality of independent nodes for capturing, analyzing, storing, and viewing surveillance information is disclosed. The surveillance architecture has no central controller or single point of failure because of the peer to peer or independent relationship between its nodes. Generally, surveillance information of various types is captured by one or more capture nodes and transmitted to or one or more viewing, content storage, or server nodes for display, analysis, storage, or a combination thereof. Server nodes may provide authentication services to validate user or device credentials prior to granting access to surveillance information. In one or more embodiments, specialized video compression hardware is provided to allow high quality video surveillance information to be transmitted across low bandwidth connections. Compression may also be performed on other types of surveillance information.