Do you know where your surveillance equipment is made? Where is your data being held? If your tech supports the ethical usage of surveillance? If not, you should read this blog. It provides a checklist of what to look out for in your procurement processes.

Ask where your equipment is made

In a recent poll of UK local councils, over a quarter of respondents didn’t know who the manufacturer of their CCTV cameras was. Around two-fifths admitted their technology had been supplied by companies linked to ethical or security concerns.

Amendments to the Procurement Bill, and the Government’s commitment to removing surveillance equipment linked to countries deemed a risk to national security (reflecting provisions made in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), make it vital that organisations do know where specific equipment (and comprising components) are made.

Whether you use a security consultant for procurement or work directly with a supplier, request that proof of equipment origin is supplied as part of the contract.

Keep control of cloud-based data

If you manage surveillance footage which features staff or members of the public, you are responsible for handling what is classified as personal data. And that means you have a responsibility to keep that data secure.

This throws up a particularly interesting question for users of cloud-based solutions. How can you be sure data is secure when you don’t know where it’s held?  

It’s easy to think of cloud storage as ethereal when in reality, information is held in very physical data centres. While not specifically covered by legislation such as NDAA and the UK’s Procurement Bill, the implications are the same. For data governance, your solution provider should give you the ability to choose the country in which your cloud-based data is stored.

Choose tech that prioritises privacy and transparency

Data privacy compliance isn’t optional, and requirements continue to evolve. But when it comes to surveillance, safeguarding privacy is also an ethical best practice.

With this in mind, look for surveillance solutions that prioritise and simplify this, with features such as permission-based functionality access (meaning only employees of a certain level can access recorded footage) and automatic facial redaction.

Similarly, look to procure surveillance solutions that deliver user transparency, with built-in audit trail functionality showing every action taken by every operator. This will allow you to review and train your staff (using historical data) in line with ethical protocols.

Check your supplier’s ‘Modern Slavery’ stance

Between January and March 2023, the number of potential victims of modern slavery referred to the British Home Office (Interior Ministry) rose by more than a quarter compared to the same quarter in 2022. This is not an issue that is disappearing.

While procurement offices will be familiar with examining statements on Modern Slavery, this process has never been more important, especially with the increasing globalisation of supply chains.

Always ensure your surveillance equipment supplier has a current statement detailing ongoing risk assessments and preventative measures.