The challenges of bodycam system implementation part 1: Security
Organisations and industries across the world have adopted bodycam systems to address their specific challenges: safety, evidence, communication and accountability being just a few. As with any adoption of technology, challenges are present in terms of security, cost, employee and public support, organisation, as well as best practices. In part 1 we dive into the need-to-know security topics when considering or implementing a bodycam system.
How secure are bodycam systems?
Bodycams generally record or livestream sensitive footage and data, which are protected by privacy and data laws. Recorded data on employees and citizens must not fall into the wrong hands. It is always necessary for due diligence to distinguish which systems and providers do not (fully) protect your sensitive bodycam data.
With new bodycam capabilities such as livestreaming, questions arise as to how secure they are, as well as who can see, manage and influence bodycam livestreams. The necessary answers to these questions can assure employees, and the public, about the protection of their data and right to privacy.
Encryption is key
Whether livestreaming or recording bodycams are necessary, end-to-end AES encryption is the gold standard and an absolute must. AES encryption is the highest and most complex type of encryption available, used by militaries and secret services across the world. Bodycam systems that have AES (256) encryption are fully secure, even in the unlikely event of a full breach of your organisation’s systems. This level of bodycam data encryption has never been broken, and simple calculations show it would take all the people of the world owning 10 computers doing a billion calculations a second 77 septillion years to test 50% of the key possibilities.
While there are cheaper bodycam systems without this level of complete security, for any organisation wanting to truly protect their sensitive bodycam data, AES encryption is key!
The cloud VS on-premise data management and storage, what is best for your organisation?
If your organisational regulations or national laws require on-site control, there are bodycam providers able to set up everything needed, at your local offices. This offers the benefit of complete control of both the systems and bodycam data. The benefits of having the Video Management Software (VMS) and data storage on your organisation’s hardware can however, quickly be outweighed by the costs. You will need advanced, often expensive hardware set up in order to meet the processing and storage demands of modern technology. There will also be a need for dedicated IT staff to manage these systems. The alternative is cloud-based operations.
When considering whether to choose cloud-based software and data storage, often mentioned concerns are access, safety of data, and costs.
When it comes to cybersecurity, leading cloud providers have made tremendous progress in recent years due to investment in sophisticated security capabilities. Cloud storage from the right provider is safer still when an organisation doesn’t have the budget to install, and staff, the latest hardware systems. With additional beneficial options such as:
- localised servers for cloud storage in your country or region
- increased speeds, capabilities and collaboration options
- secure access from any connected device, anywhere in the world
- the green sustainability factor
Furthermore many countries, for example all E.U. members, need to adhere to the principles of digital sovereignty. This means that at all times, an organisation needs to be the only one that can access sensitive data. This becomes risky when using cloud solutions providers not located in areas with similar laws, as the Schremms II case very clearly concluded.
To ensure digital sovereignty, one should demand that the video management software is provided, supported and maintained from within the EEA/EU. Providers outside of the E.U. can, and often do, have invasive national laws to deal with, which can force companies to open their systems to outside authorities.
Cloud storage may just be the best option for most organisations. When choosing, always make sure that the bodycam system provider has the right options to flexibly adjust to your organisational requirements.
Bodycam data retention periods
Retention time settings control how long sensitive bodycam data can be stored on an organisation’s servers. Often countries have specific laws on how long bodycam footage or metadata can be stored without a valid reason, such as prosecution. To ensure that an organisation complies with local laws, it is good to select a provider that has automatic retention settings within the Video Management System. Not only does this save time and effort, it will ensure compliance to the strict laws concerning the storage of citizens’ data.
Access: who can access bodycam data and why?
The sensitive nature of bodycam footage and metadata requires optimal restrictions in terms of access. For most countries, it is a legal requirement to restrict access to only those authorised. Various settings and functions often need to be restricted to multiple levels of managers, employees and IT staff. This helps ensure data is safe and inaccessible, meaning data storage laws as well as privacy regulations are upheld. With livestreaming bodycams, it is also necessary to manage the visibility of livestreams, who can access them and where any recordings will be stored.
It is prudent to find bodycam VMS software that has this embedded. It saves valuable time and effort, as well as offering an easy way to set up the rights of employees to view, manage and share bodycam footage.
System activity logging, essential or not?
In order to be sure of how the bodycam VMS is used, by who and for what purpose, it is necessary for the system to have proper logging of all (trans)actions. With a complete record, it will always be possible to trace any irregularities, and record exactly how bodycam data is managed by staff. This prevents challenges in terms of the legal validity of evidence or unauthorised activity by employees.
To make sure that bodycam evidence is allowed in proceedings, system logging is an essential must.
Security questions related to bodycam systems stem from valid and necessary concerns. Every organisation has their own specific needs, regulations and laws to address before implementation. Finding the right fit for yours, requires flexible adjustment on the part of any potential bodycam system provider, just like the need for fully secure systems set up according to your specific needs.
Also read part 2!
Here ZEPCAM provides a useful overview of benefits, arguments and research that, when communicated properly, will increase acceptance and support from employees, customers and the public.
All individuals affected by, or interacting with bodycam systems need to be aware of all the factors, in order to fully support their presence on the street and at work. Clear communication of the benefits and challenges is necessary for widespread acceptance and support.
The challenges of bodycam system implementation part 2: Acceptance and support
A proper communcation strategy is crucial for widespread acceptance and support. Find out more >