When it comes to surveillance and privacy, individual views can vary drastically. While some may see surveillance as a violation of privacy, others may see it as a necessity in terms of safety. Then there are individuals who fall somewhere in between on the spectrum, basing their views on circumstance and perceived benefit.
According a recent Pew Research Center study, which surveyed 461 adult participants, plus nine online focus groups of 80 participants, it seems that most Americans would sacrifice their privacy in certain situations based on whether the outcome would be advantageous to them.
The participants were given proposed scenarios where some sort of surveillance or privacy was pushed for a supposed benefit. For example, one scenario posed was that of workplace surveillance. After a string of workplace thefts, the business was to install security cameras with facial recognition technology to identify the thieves, as well as use footage to measure employee attendance and performance. A majority of the participants found this acceptable (54%), some disagreed (24%), and others said ‘it depends’ (21%).
Another scenario was related to loyalty cards for retail stores. These cards would track purchases for special discounts. Almost half of the participants found it acceptable (47%) while almost a third found it unacceptable (32%). When it came to a “smart thermostat” that would monitor movements within the home, most participants found it unacceptable (55%) than acceptable (27%).
As you can tell, the less personal the surveillance, the more acceptable it seems to be perceived. However, most are still wary about disclosing personal information, and even more concerned about what happens to their information thereafter. The threat of spam, targeted ads, and the potential for data breaches, as we have seen lately, makes most hesitant to let their guard down.
All in all, the consensus when it comes to surveillance and privacy matters is “it depends.” Based on an individual’s trust of the company or business and his/her perception of risk and benefit, the person will decide whether or not it’s worth it. This type of conditional acceptance shows that it can be hard to predict whether certain surveillance measures will be tolerated.
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Dash cams are gaining in popularity and it could be beneficial to install one in your vehicle. There have been a handful of viral videos that originated from dash cam footage, but what exactly is a dash cam?
Dash cams are designed to capture the view from your front windshield, back windshield, or the interior of your car. You may use more than one camera depending on what you would like to monitor. Dash cams, or dashboard cameras, are most often installed on your dashboard or your windshield using a suction cup.
How Are They Used?
The most obvious reason for installing a dash cam is to have hard evidence in case of a car crash. Dash cam footage can help to determine who is at fault. This can help to expedite insurance claims processing or even help police in filing charges.
‘Crash-for-cash’ insurance scams can attribute to more people installing dash cams. This is when scammers slam on their brakes in front of innocent drivers and try to claim money from that driver’s insurance. The reasoning behind this is that in these cases, the driver behind is usually assumed to be at fault.
While most places allow dash cams, others have strict rules for their use. For example, you won’t see dash cams in Austria as they are forbidden, and the use of dash cams in Switzerland is strongly discouraged. In Germany, however, dash cam footage is allowed to be used for personal reasons or as evidence in a court of law.
What To Look For
So you have made the decision and you want to invest in a dash cam. You can find forward-facing or rear-facing cameras, along with combination packs and ‘duo cams’. Be aware that ‘duo cams’ monitor the interior of the car, which is helpful for taxi companies, rather than out the back. Once you decide what type of dash cam you need, you can start thinking about specs.
As with nearly all cameras, you want the one with the best picture quality for a reasonable price. When it comes to insurance claims, you will want to be able to read the license plates of every vehicle in question.
And unless you only plan on driving while the sun is out, your dash cam should feature day and night vision, which most, if not all, possess. Aside from this, you will want to look for a polarized lens which helps to resist glare from sun during the daytime and from other cars and lights during the night.
You should also be conscious about prioritizing video storage so that you don’t lose vital evidence. Most dash cams record on a loop, but some have technology that senses a sudden change in g-force (which may be caused by an impact) and will prevent that footage from being lost.
Your dash cam video footage should also be easily accessible, whether it can be viewed on the device itself, through a mobile app, TV, or computer. Companion apps can be helpful as you are able to access and manage your dash cam remotely and easily.
While it seems like common sense, it is worth mentioning that your mounting equipment should be of top quality to ensure secure mounting.
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If you haven’t already, it might be time to upgrade from analog security cameras to an IP security camera system. IP security cameras are easier to use and connect to your home network. Your surveillance feed is more readily available and can be accessed remotely, and your storage space can easily be expanded or adjusted based on your individual needs.
While there are many benefits of upgrading, IP cameras can be more vulnerable to hackers. The good news is that these issues can be combated with smart security measures. Here are some things to consider to protect your IP surveillance feed.
Keep your firmware up-to-date. Manufacturers are always watching for any system or security vulnerabilities. When one is found, they work hard to address the issue and inform their customers of the necessary firmware update. Pay close attention to these notifications so that your system is secure. Checking your camera manufacturer’s website can also help, in case you don’t receive, or happen to overlook, any notifications.
Keep Cameras Local
Plain and simple – if you don’t want your feed to end up on the Internet, don’t connect your cameras to the Internet. Keep your cameras on a local network with non-routable IP addresses (ex. 192.168.0.5 or something similar). Though, even with this measure, your cameras could still be exposed by software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the Internet. Be sure to visit your camera manufacturer’s website to learn how to set them up in local-only mode.
Any password can be better than no password at all. Most cameras do not have password protection for video feeds set on default. After you install and set up your cameras, be sure add password protection to secure your feed. Create a username and strong password, and make sure you change it periodically to increase security.
Do your cameras come with default usernames and passwords? Change them immediately after setup and installation. This is the easiest way for hackers, or anyone, to gain access to your feed.
When it comes to wireless cameras, the only network you should connect it to is a WPA2-encrypted wireless network. Encryption adds protection and will keep hackers away.
Think about the placement of your cameras. Only place cameras in areas inside your home that you are comfortable with being monitored. No matter how secure your system is, there is a chance a new vulnerability has not been found yet and you could become the victim. Remember, when in doubt, leave the camera out.
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As we ease into the New Year, there are several technology trends to watch. The Internet of Things has been on the radar for some time now, and more and more devices are becoming connected.
In terms of security, network IP cameras are nothing new. However, the influence of IoT and other technologies is having an interesting impact on security and surveillance. Here’s what we can expect, or hope for, in 2016.
As mentioned, the IoT devices remain in the spotlight. In terms of security, IoT-based systems will need to provide easy installation and maintenance, while catering to the specific needs of the user.
With an IoT-based security system, you may be able to incorporate other unrelated devices for an all-encompassing system. Combine your video surveillance with things like smoke detectors, gas sensors, or access control panels to monitor your home or property. Also, the IoT will enable video surveillance to expand its applications far beyond loss prevention. For example, your network IP cameras can be used to analyze traffic patterns and crowd behaviors in real-time.
However, as we continue to connect and share video and data over our networks, we must also think about reinforcing our network and cyber security.
Security as a Service
The Cloud is making its mark and will begin to play a more important role in security and surveillance. Not only can businesses utilize Security as a Service, where systems are managed remotely, but the Cloud offers more secure and cost-effective data storage. Archived video and data can be stored longer while being easily accessible as necessary.
Thanks to security cameras and surveillance, video is becoming the fastest growing type of data. Aside from security purposes, surveillance video can be used for business intelligence. We can expect to see improvements for video management systems (VMS) to search and filter big data for relevant footage or information.
Going wireless has played a significant role in our everyday lives already (ex. mobile phones and Wi-Fi). The same convenience has been applied to security systems, as whole security networks can be managed remotely through mobile phone and devices. Complicated software on stationary PCs is no longer necessary, making it easier for businesses to employ a more affordable and convenient security solution.
We want everything to look sharp and clear, which is why technology continues to improve megapixel resolutions and technology. Some existing trends include the 4K ultra HD, which offers four times the resolution of HDTV 1080p. While analog CCTV cameras may work for some, most others will be attracted to the new and improved technologies and devices.
In the coming year, we will also see an increased use of video analytics, for both security and business use. Video surveillance will expand its repertoire, becoming useful for more industries such as advertising and marketing.
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