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UK updates its surveillance toolkit for smaller businesses

Categories Biometrics News  |  Surveillance
UK updates its surveillance toolkit for smaller businesses

Are you a UK small-business owner? Are you biometric curious? Want to do surveillance right?

The government has you covered. It has updated its toolkit for buyers of surveillance camera systems.

First published in 2018, the toolkit was created to help steer owners of small to medium-sized businesses through a five-step process, from assessing the need for cameras to standards and certification through installation.

Underpinning the how-to, however, is how to make this addition ethically.

Some of the information is very basic and yet probably will prevent some citizens from making avoidable mistakes. For instance, cameras should be set up in a way that a customer entering the premises is not silhouetted and unrecognizable.

More advanced tips include the use of file compression.

Where the document will find near-universal appreciation is the discussion about identifying and assessing the risks of operating surveillance systems — a topic executives at many large firms have neglected. That advice notes technical requirements for four common categories of confirmation, and points out two more, with larger image sizes for the ‘Inspect’ category that is usually only required, the guidance says, when facial recognition is implemented.

Further down the line, the document walks the reader through data protection, starting with how to create an impact assessment statement.

It is at about this point that more than a few entrepreneurs will begin feeling like this is overkill for a smaller firm. But if anything has become clear in the last few years, a growing number of people are rankled by what they feel is too much surveillance.

And if that is not convincing, the United Kingdom has codified data protection obligations, which are spelled out in the toolkit.

Again, a topic many business owners may not consider is how to collect information that can be used as evidence following a crime.

The toolkit wraps up with a feature that is easily worth having read the document: a glossary. Surveillance is one task where guessing or ignoring will come back to haunt. Unscrupulous vendors thrive on the glazed eyes of a pigeon, or, rather, an unskilled buyer.

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