Surveillance push back

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03/24/2008
There's been a lot of talk in the industry about using IP video systems and access control for more than just security: business efficiency, HR, marketing efforts, etc. It makes a lot of sense. If you could know what all of your employees were doing when they were in the building, you'd have a better idea of how to run your business. And why shouldn't an integrator sell against that natural insecurity most business owners have? Well, there are hurdles to overcome. Here's a classic "Big Brother" op-ed out of Canada. The central message is a warning to workers that they'd better watch their backs (or the heating grates, anyway) for spying employers. As in: "What's the mood?" he asks. "It's terrible, like Big Brother watching over your shoulder all the time. Oh, boo-hoo. I highlight this sort of thing because the security industry needs to be aware of this mentality, and develop arguments and sales tactics to assuage such fears, but I have to admit I find it silly that this sort of thing persists. What is so bad about your employer knowing what you're doing during work hours? It's inexplicable. Like baseball players who are against steroids testing. In this article, readers are warned that there may be a GPS unit in your company car, so don't go to the bar at 3 p.m. Seriously? Because otherwise, going to the bar at 3 p.m. would be a good idea and totally acceptable business practice? I hate working for the man. If only I could drink all day and get paid to do it like people in an ideal world would get to do. I'm pretty sure that's what Thomas More's Utopia was like, actually, a place where you could just get drunk, walk around in your underpants, and play online poker all day. That would be sweet, wouldn't it? That people want to be worker bees, completely untied from a company's success, cultivating an us-against-the-bossman mentality, may be human nature, and I get that human nature isn't necessarily rational, but it's frustrating nonetheless. Anyway, back to that message-is-important thing: "The next thing will probably be a fingerprint reader to log into computer systems [instead of using a password]," says David Fraser, a privacy lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Halifax. "You can see how a lot of these technologies are really convenient. But a lot of people would say, 'I don't want anybody to have my thumbprint.' " Good thing Craig Silverman interviewed a privacy lawyer who doesn't know what he's talking about. That's wicked helpful (to use a Maine expression). Um, I'm thinking the fingerprint reader used to log onto the network is the current thing, considering there are about a 100 million laptops and computers out there that already have this functionality. And, thanks to companies like Privaris, there's no reason for anyone to store anyone's fingerprint. Isn't that awesome Mr. Privacy Lawyer? Or does that maybe mean fewer billable hours? Hard to say. Clearly, mainstream education is going to be important in the growth of the industry.