Some reflections on iLegal 2009
November 2009, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
The 2009 iLegal conference highlighted a number of legal issues in the use of CCTV. However, it is clear that many of the issues are not simple legal questions but are related to issues of CCTV best practice, respect for privacy, and labour relations.
The law around telecommunications is evolving rapidly and is going have a major impact in the next 12 months, but for the moment we should mainly be concerned about getting the basics right, including specification of systems, installation, management, technical developments, and labour and human rights. While end users and installers are concerned about the operations they are involved in, it is also clear that the police and justice systems also need input to facilitate processes involving CCTV.
A general and repeated trend across all presentations at iLegal 2009 is that systems have to produce video material that is useful for evidence purposes. While this is not new and has been highlighted in the UK National CCTV Strategy, Mick Neville made the point that many cameras do not suit their assigned purpose of gathering information. Director De Klerk emphasised that this is just as much of an issue in South Africa as the UK. Put simply, in many cases people expect cameras to do everything and they end up doing nothing. The need for users to clearly define a purpose for cameras and then ensure the cameras are capable of carrying this out is still one of the central challenges in CCTV implementation.
The role of proactive surveillance was highlighted as a critical component in successful detection. Combined with intelligence information, this can be a powerful method to detect criminals and take them off the streets or factory floors. It also aligns the camera usage and views with the evidence needs if an operator is using a camera effectively. Where proactive surveillance does not deliver, however, the conference inputs highlighted the potential of a dedicated and focused identification process using CCTV video. This can substantially increase the potential for follow up arrests with the involvement of police. Either way, the lesson that comes out of this is that CCTV needs to be actively managed to produce results.
Mick Neville identified the fascination with technology as opposed to getting the human element right. No matter what kind of system you have, the operator is still the most important part of your system. Identifying the right people and giving the right kind of training in detection will make the difference between systems that work and those that do not. For me, a critical aspect of CCTV is the potential for detection. It is pointless if one has a highly expensive smoothly performing system that does not deliver detection of incidents. Indeed, this kind of lack of delivery has the potential to severely damage the reputation of CCTV and expenditure on it as expectations are not lived up to.
The fact that retrieving evidence from systems is critical once it is obtained came through repeatedly. A strong recommendation was to ensure that a designated person who knows the system has the sole responsibility to implement this retrieval of data. The importance of procedure in this process was emphasised to maintain the reliability of the evidence – the trail of evidence handling needs to be clearly and accurately documented to assist with successful prosecution. Having a system that is capable of providing a format that would facilitate easy viewing of the file for investigation, and in court, was identified a number of times as being critical.
Clinton Vigne took this even further when highlighting that taking equipment to show the relevant evidence to court can further ease the presentation of evidence to relevant parties. Companies tend to think their responsibilities are over when they deliver the evidence in some electronic form to the police. They may need to reconsider this, as conditions both here and the UK show that the capacity to effectively play such evidence in court is often severely restricted. If a CCTV system is purchased, one needs to ensure that the system can deliver a manageable display of evidence from the site to the court if you are going to be successful.
The role of investigations is likely to be an increasing one with CCTV. This goes beyond investigators using CCTV footage to get some facts. Investigators in South Africa are increasingly going to have to collect, arrange, and deliver a package of reliable and credible evidence to police to ensure effective prosecution. The more they can do this, the greater likelihood of a successful prosecution.
It is clear that in the near future, organisations are going to pay more attention to the administration and control of CCTV. Having a clear CCTV policy, code of conduct, CCTV use in employee agreements, and having procedures drawn up and in place to regulate the behaviour and actions of operators are all likely to be more demanding. Maintaining procedural integrity to safeguard evidence is one aspect of this. However, these code and procedural guidelines will also assist in limiting the liability of the organisation to potential issues regarding CCTV.
The ongoing development of technology is also going to raise a number of crucial issues. As security becomes increasingly linked to IT and telecommunication sectors the legislation from those areas will impact on CCTV practice. There is also an increasing move to remote surveillance functions. More recently I have had discussions with a company based in India which wants to provide a remote surveillance function to companies based in the UK. Another company is setting up arrangements where volunteers from around the world can view live streaming video footage on the Internet for clients in the UK, with the benefits of a bonus for detection being provided.
Where do these kinds of developments leave the legal responsibility for evidence? One thing is clear, the legal environment affecting CCTV is only going to become more complex.
Dr Craig Donald is a human factors specialist in security and CCTV. He is a director of Leaderware which provides instruments for the selection of CCTV operators, X-ray screeners and other security personnel in major operations around the world. He also runs CCTV Surveillance Skills and Body Language, and Advanced Surveillance Body Language courses for CCTV operators, supervisors and managers internationally, and consults on CCTV management. He can be contacted on +27 (0)11 787 7811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
||+27 11 787 7811
||+27 11 886 6815
- Are IP cameras vulnerable to cyber attacks?
September 2017, Graphic Image Technologies, Cyber Security, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently on the rise and with the expansion of digitisation, the separation between physical security and network security is no longer clear.
- Deepening the value of surveillance
September 2017, Hikvision South Africa, Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Cyber Security
Deep Learning has swept through the IT industry, bringing benefits and better classifications to a number of applications. Now it’s changing security as well.
- Bringing comprehensive security to estates
September 2017, Elvey, Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Products
Elvey cemented its involvement and presence in the residential estate market at this year’s Hi-Tech Security Solutions’ Residential Estate Security Conference.
- Why moving to IP is the best move
September 2017, MiRO Distribution, Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, IT infrastructure
Advances in technology offer residential estates and home owners access to the latest in security technology without having to pay a fortune for hardware, installation costs or complex cable runs.
- Robust and reliable
September 2017, Forbatt SA, Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Products
In the ever-changing and harsh conditions in which our security professionals operate it is critical to align oneself with body-worn cameras built for its purpose.
- Cameras don’t equal surveillance
September 2017, D-Link Africa, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Products
When you purchase new cameras for your office or factory, you may be tempted to think that you are well on your way to securing your space, but cameras are just one pixel in the picture of security.
- Advances in video analytics
September 2017, Avigilon, Bosch Security Systems, Reditron, Cathexis Technologies, This Week's Editor's Pick, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, Residential Estate (Industry)
Analytics technologies are continually advancing to not only alert to potential threats, but also to reduce the occurrence of false alarms.
- Enhancing estate control rooms
September 2017, Cathexis Technologies, Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Integrated security systems require that all aspects of the security system work seamlessly together, while being managed by the heart of the system, which is the control room.
- Surveillance on the move
September 2017, Doculam, Forbatt SA, Vantage MDT, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions, Residential Estate (Industry)
Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked a few body-worn camera vendors for their insights into whether these devices are suitable for estate security.
- Thermal buffer zone
September 2017, Secu-Systems, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Residential Estate (Industry)
The thermal fence system provides automated perimeter surveillance, intrusion detection, and alert capabilities for any perimeter security application.
- Securing the perimeter at Chapman’s Bay Estate
September 2017, Axis Communications SA, Residential Estate (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
Axis Communications’ thermal cameras make life hot for criminals trying to breach the estate’s perimeter, while providing visual verification of on-site personnel.
- Simple but secure home security
September 2017, Panasonic South Africa, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions
Panasonic’s Home Network System provides a broad range of security measures for your home, and that’s just one aspect of what it offers.