The Responsible Approach
Print Issue: September 2019
It has been said that power and responsibility go hand-in-hand. In a world where technology and surveillance are now universal, it is our obligation as a global video management software (VMS) provider to help set the agenda for secure and responsible video technology use.
In 2017, Milestone Systems joined more than 150 representatives from technology companies around the world to author and sign the Copenhagen Letter. The letter is a declaration that calls on tech companies of all types to put people first—rather than business and profit—when designing and using technology.
At Milestone, we live by the values outlined in the Copenhagen Letter, and we want our global community of partners and customers to do the same.
“It is time to take responsibility for the world we are creating,” the letter explains. “Time to put humans before business. Time to replace the empty rhetoric of ‘building a better world’ with a commitment to real action.”
The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enacted in 2018, has dramatically reshaped the way data is handled across every business sector. The regulation gives all EU citizens greater control over their personal data and how it is used. The United States and other regions are considering—and in some cases implementing—similar regulations. The Australian Privacy Act is already in force, as well.
Ensuring compliance with the GDPR and similar data privacy laws requires high organizational maturity, with careful planning and preparation of the video surveillance system, including the policies and procedures regulating how it is used.
To help system integrators and end users design, implement, and operate video surveillance systems that are compliant with such privacy regulations, manufacturers can provide privacy guides, best practices, and training resources to build privacy awareness.
Strong cybersecurity resilience is the foundation for keeping data safe. The first applies to the protection of computer systems from theft and damage to hardware, software, or information, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services provided. This affects the protection of personal data and the privacy of individuals.
To prove our commitment to privacy protection, Milestone updated our End User License Agreement to contain language based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Copenhagen Letter—combined with our own interpretations. We are prepared to refuse customers who might use our VMS technology irresponsibly. We don’t want our software abused. If that happens, we are prepared to disable the license.
We are taking these steps to take accountability for what we do, who we are, and how we want the world to be. In today’s hyperconnected, super-data-driven environment, all organizations must take responsibility to protect their users and customers, and society at large.
We encourage everyone in the security and surveillance industry to join us in helping to build a secure and ethical community. The Copenhagen Letter sums it up best, and you should sign if you agree: “We are a community that exerts great influence—we must protect and nurture the potential to do good.”
Bjørn Skou Eilertsen is chief technology officer at Milestone Systems.
©️ 2019 Bjørn Skou Eilertsen, CTO, Milestone Systems.