A few months ago I wrote a blog for UK-based Ifsec Global website on the future of CCTV and the media. I based it on an RNCOS research report released in April that said the global CCTV market will grow at a compound annual rate of around 14 percent from 2013 to 2017, with network IP emerging as the leading technology.
Among other things, more cameras mean more footage. And as Ely Maspero, product line manager for VMS solutions at March Networksexplained to us at Veridin, domestic laws vary on how long footage must be stored.
Italian laws require companies to keep the video archive for no more than 48 hours, and that can be extended to seven days for some specific deployments, such as banks. North American storage requirements are longer — upwards of 30 to 60 days — whereas Middle Eastern requirements can be as much as 120 days.
Ely’s thoughts raise very important questions about domestic privacy laws and public perceptions of CCTV technology.
For example, what’s the correlation between the presence of CCTV cameras in a country and people’s acceptance of this sort of surveillance?
And what do members of the public really know about CCTV?
Several academics at the University of Toronto are probing this issue in a study titled “‘I’ll Be Watching You’: What do Canadians Know About Video Surveillance and Privacy?” They are asking questions like these:
1.What do Canadians know about their visual information privacy rights?
3.What information do people need?
In Canada, private-sector use of video surveillance is governed by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. This legislation is intended to outline the privacy obligations and responsibilities of private-sector organizations engaging in covert video surveillance.
This recent research is leads to important questions about the use of CCTV footage by the media.
As we saw in the Boston Marathon bombing, news outlets frequently run with images and videos sent in via social media, as well as CCTV images provided by police forces.
This is a positive trend on the whole, in my opinion. But it runs the risk of broadcasting CCTV images (which can sometimes be quite gruesome) without any explanation or context, leading to misinformation.
All of this speaks to a big opportunity for our industry.
Security professionals have a voice to be heard in these news stories. We can help explain the role of security and security technology to the general audience with credible perspectives from credible professionals.
In other words, by providing expertise, experience, and balance, we can fill voids that reflect poorly on our industry (when and where they exist) in public discussions.
That leads me back to privacy laws and raises one last question.
What impact will the rapidly increasing use of social media (of all forms) have on privacy laws as they pertain to security generally and CCTV more specifically?
We all have a stake in answering these questions.