“Time for the industry to step up” as security camera users turn away from unethical brands

April 11, 2023

A new study commissioned by Hanwha Techwin shows how much users care that the video cameras available to them are produced by a reputable manufacturer and used responsibly.

Almost three quarters (73%) of European security managers believe it is important to source their cameras from manufacturers that support the responsible use of security technology, while almost 9 in 10 (89%) German security managers believe that surveillance technology, such as video cameras, should be used responsibly.

The survey of more than 600 security managers from medium to large organisations in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Italy was conducted by Research Without Barriers in December 2022 for South Korean video provider Hanwha Techwin.

“Just as we’ve seen in consumer technology markets, commercial video camera users are looking for more than low cost: they want to partner with brands that put responsible use, data security and ethical manufacturing at their core,” says Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing at Hanwha Techwin Europe.

European authorities have warned of the risks associated with using video surveillance equipment from certain manufacturers, fearing that the technology poses a security risk and that the cameras are being used in unethical ways. In 2021, the EU Parliament voted to remove one manufacturer’s cameras from parliament buildings due to repeated allegations of unethical use of that manufacturer’s cameras.

Possibly in response to these fears, the study found that more than one in two German security managers (51%) believe that legislation similar to the USA’s NDAA (National Defense Authorisation Act), which restricts the sale and use of certain manufacturers’ video technology, will eventually become law in Germany. In fact, one in two (50%) German security managers would support the introduction of a version of the NDAA in their country.

The study also shows that more than one in two (52 %) German security officers are able to distinguish between security vendors and manufacturers when it comes to the ethical use of surveillance technology. This seems to undermine any attempts by rogue brands to downplay the security threats and unethical use of their cameras.

“As in other technology sectors, there is a breath of fresh air in the video surveillance industry,” says Guterman. “Our research clearly shows that while developments such as AI at the edge of the system are making video camera systems more powerful, users want to balance the greater insight and control they gain from this technology with the assurance that it is being used and delivered in a responsible way.”

Reflecting on the strong sentiment expressed by security managers in the survey, Guterman calls on the industry as a whole to meet users’ demands: “The growth of the European security industry – and the successful expansion of video technology beyond typical security applications to achieve greater business efficiencies – depends on manufacturers and installers alike putting users’ demands for responsible use at the heart of everything they do. It is time for the industry to step forward.

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