The initials GDPR have become synonymous with the need for companies within the European Union to provide consumers greater transparency and better control over their personal data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has also increased awareness of privacy concerns around the world.

It’s not the only factor highlighting a need for greater privacy – high-profile privacy breaches by companies such as Facebook are also driving the trend. But GDPR’s global impact cannot be denied.

In fact, no company should assume that the need to address “GDPR-style” requirements is limited to the EU. As awareness has extended to the four corners of the globe, it has emboldened a new wave of laws and regulations that physical security companies ignore at their own peril. GDPR has increased awareness of privacy concerns around the world, and encouraged other areas to take notice

GDPR also regulates how and if data about EU citizens can be transferred outside EU member states’ borders; the receiving country should have equal or better data protection laws in place. This factor also expands the potential impact of GDPR globally.  

California's Consumer Privacy Act 2020

California, which has the world’s fifth largest economy, passed a law this year that some have called “GDPR Lite.” The law gives the state’s 40 million residents the right to view private data held by companies, to correct it, to request that it be deleted and to keep it from being sold to third parties. California’s Consumer Privacy Act takes effect in 2020 and could be amended in the interim.

The California law was passed quickly – and unanimously – by the state Assembly and Senate and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown when it became clear that a ballot initiative was being organized to address the issue of privacy. In California, initiatives can be placed on the ballot by collecting signatures to require a direct vote by the electorate. Once passed, ballot initiatives are difficult to amend, requiring a two-thirds vote of state lawmakers. By passing the law, California’s legislature averted a proposed privacy initiative on the fall ballot.  GDPR also regulates how and if data about EU citizens can be transferred outside EU member states’ borders

There are differences in the California law and the European Union’s GDPR. For example, the California law only applies to companies that have annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million, that hold data on more than 50,000 people or that derive more than 50% of their annual revenues from the sale of personal information. Therefore, most small businesses are immune to the law’s requirements. However, the existence of the California law is a harbinger of more regulations to come, on the state or federal level.  

In another development related to the physical security industry, California has passed an Information Privacy: Connected Devices bill that requires electronics manufacturers to equip Internet of Things devices with “reasonable” security features – no more passwords such as “admin,” “password,” or “1234.”

data protection California physical security
California’s Consumer Privacy Act is modeled under the General Data Protection Act 

Expanding The Definition Of Personal Information 

Other states are also getting involved. All 50 U.S. states have enacted breach notification laws requiring businesses to notify consumers if personal information is compromised. For example, Alabama’s new law, passed in June, applies to “unauthorized acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information in electronic form.” Many state laws are expanding the definitions of personal information and increasing cybersecurity requirements as they relate to that information. Globally, rapidly growing adoption of data protection laws is often modeled on regulations such as GDPR

The problem with a “patchwork” of state requirements is the possibility that businesses may be caught unaware when state laws have different specific requirements addressing the same general mandate. At the federal level, there have been calls for a data breach notification bill that would provide a single set of rules for organizations to follow.  

In general, privacy is seen differently in the U.S. than in the E.U., due in part to history and a U.S. commitment to the First Amendment. The U.S. also tends to address privacy rights based on the category of information being considered; i.e., HIPAA requirements cover health information and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act regulates financial information.

Globally, rapidly growing adoption of data protection laws is often modeled on regulations such as GDPR or on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. According to the United National Conference on Trade and Development, more than 100 countries around the world now have data protection legislation in place.

Protecting And Managing Data

All 50 U.S. states have enacted breach notification laws requiring businesses to notify consumers if personal information is compromisedWhen you consider the impact GDPR has had on the physical security market, the possible new hurdles can boggle the mind as additional privacy requirements take hold in the U.S and around the world. Challenges range from worries about management of access control and video surveillance data to concerns about biometrics. The success of new technologies using artificial intelligence (AI) depend on access to large data sets, so ensuring that data is protected and managed correctly is paramount.

The genie is out of the bottle. GDPR may be driving the first wave of privacy concerns, but there is much more to come. Anyone who dismissed GDPR as a “European” factor is missing an opportunity to address issues proactively and to ensure optimum management of data privacy and transparency in the future.

Download PDF version

Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SecurityInformed.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SecurityInformed's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

How Organizations Can Secure User Credentials From Data Breaches And Password Hacks
How Organizations Can Secure User Credentials From Data Breaches And Password Hacks

In the age of massive data breaches, phishing attacks and password hacks, user credentials are increasingly unsafe. So how can organizations secure accounts without making life more difficult for users? Marc Vanmaele, CEO of TrustBuilder, explains. User credentials give us a sense of security. Users select their password, it's personal and memorable to them, and it's likely that it includes special characters and numbers for added security. Sadly, this sense is most likely false. If it's anything like the 5.4 billion user IDs on haveibeenpwned.com, their login has already been compromised. If it's not listed, it could be soon. Recent estimates state that 8 million more credentials are compromised every day. Ensuring Safe Access Data breaches, ransomware and phishing campaigns are increasingly easy to pull off. Cyber criminals can easily find the tools they need on Google with little to no technical knowledge. Breached passwords are readily available to cyber criminals on the internet. Those that haven’t been breached can also be guessed, phished or cracked using one of the many “brute-force” tools available on the internet. It's becoming clear that login credentials are no longer enough to secure your users' accounts. Meanwhile, organizations have a responsibility and an ever-stricter legal obligation to protect their users’ sensitive data. This makes ensuring safe access to the services they need challenging, particularly when trying to provide a user experience that won’t cause frustration – or worse, lose your customers’ interest. After GDPR was implemented across the European Union, organizations could face a fine of up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover  Importance Of Data Protection So how can businesses ensure their users can safely and simply access the services they need while keeping intruders out, and why is it so important to strike that balance? After GDPR was implemented across the European Union, organizations could face a fine of up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher, should they seriously fail to comply with their data protection obligations. This alone was enough to prompt many organizations to get serious about their user’s security. Still, not every business followed suit. Cloud Security Risks Breaches were most commonly identified in organizations using cloud computing or where staff use personal devices According to a recent survey conducted at Infosecurity Europe, more than a quarter of organizations did not feel ready to comply with GDPR in August 2018 – three months after the compliance deadline. Meanwhile, according to the UK Government’s 2018 Cyber Security Breaches survey, 45% of businesses reported breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. According to the report, logins are less secure when accessing services in the cloud where they aren't protected by enterprise firewalls and security systems. Moreover, breaches were most commonly identified in organizations using cloud computing or where staff use personal devices (known as BYOD). According to the survey, 61% of UK organizations use cloud-based services. The figure is higher in banking and finance (74%), IT and communications (81%) and education (75%). Additionally, 45% of businesses have BYOD. This indicates a precarious situation. The majority of businesses hold personal data on users electronically and may be placing users at risk if their IT environments are not adequately protected. Hackers have developed a wide range of tools to crack passwords, and these are readily available within a couple of clicks on a search engine Hacking Methodology In a recent exposé on LifeHacker, Internet standards expert John Pozadzides revealed multiple methods hackers use to bypass even the most secure passwords. According to John’s revelations, 20% of passwords are simple enough to guess using easily accessible information. But that doesn’t leave the remaining 80% safe. Hackers have developed a wide range of tools to crack passwords, and these are readily available within a couple of clicks on a search engine. Brute force attacks are one of the easiest methods, but criminals also use increasingly sophisticated phishing campaigns to fool users into handing over their passwords. Users expect organizations to protect their passwords and keep intruders out of their accounts Once a threat actor has access to one password, they can easily gain access to multiple accounts. This is because, according to Mashable, 87% of users aged 18-30 and 81% of users aged 31+ reuse the same passwords across multiple accounts. It’s becoming clear that passwords are no longer enough to keep online accounts secure. Securing Data With Simplicity Users expect organizations to protect their passwords and keep intruders out of their accounts. As a result of a data breach, companies will of course suffer financial losses through fines and remediation costs. Beyond the immediate financial repercussions, however, the reputational damage can be seriously costly. A recent Gemalto study showed that 44% of consumers would leave their bank in the event of a security breach, and 38% would switch to a competitor offering a better service. Simplicity is equally important, however. For example, if it’s not delivered in ecommerce, one in three customers will abandon their purchase – as a recent report by Magnetic North revealed. If a login process is confusing, staff may be tempted to help themselves access the information they need by slipping out of secure habits. They may write their passwords down, share them with other members of staff, and may be more susceptible to social engineering attacks. So how do organizations strike the right balance? For many, Identity and Access Management solutions help to deliver secure access across the entire estate. It’s important though that these enable simplicity for the organization, as well as users. Organizations need an IAM solution that will adapt to both of these factors, providing them with the ability to apply tough access policies when and where they are needed and prioritising swift access where it’s safe to do so Flexible IAM While IAM is highly recommended, organizations should seek solutions that offer the flexibility to define their own balance between a seamless end-user journey and the need for a high level of identity assurance. organizations’ identity management requirements will change over time. So too will their IT environments. organizations need an IAM solution that will adapt to both of these factors, providing them with the ability to apply tough access policies when and where they are needed and prioritising swift access where it’s safe to do so. Importantly, the best solutions will be those that enable this flexibility without spending significant time and resource each time adaptations need to be made. Those that do will provide the best return on investment for organizations looking to keep intruders at bay, while enabling users to log in safely and simply.

Top Ten Security Industry Expert Panel Discussions From 2018
Top Ten Security Industry Expert Panel Discussions From 2018

The security marketplace is talking about a lot of different subjects. Our website’s Expert Panel Roundtable discussions in 2018 reflected some of the “hot topics” in the industry.  The very most-clicked-on Expert Panel Roundtable discussion in 2018 was about privacy issues and GDPR’s impact on physical security systems. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of roundtable discussions included obstacles to adoption of mobile credentials, what’s new “on the edge,” and the value of physical security data. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2018, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2018 (including the quotable panelists named and linked below). 1. How do privacy issues and GDPR impact physical security systems? "GDPR specifically restricts the capture and use of EU residents’ personal data and is in direct conflict with the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to track individual activities. The challenge for manufacturers will be to design solutions capable of capturing valuable information for security or business intelligence purposes while simultaneously anonymizing retained data.” - Peter Strom, March Networks 2. What are the security challenges of the hospitality market? "The primary challenge the hospitality industry faces is the fine balance between the delivery of exceptional customer service and maintaining a safe and secure environment. The industry sees a range of threats, including theft, terrorism and natural disasters, and more modern risks, such as those related to cybersecurity, liability and compliance." - Jumbi Edulbehram, Oncam 3. Where is it inappropriate to install video cameras? "The most obvious examples would be in bathrooms or bedrooms, but the more interesting cases are those that are not so obvious – such as religious institutions like a church or a mosque. An increase in the boldness of would-be thieves has led to a recent rise in surveillance outside of houses of worship." - Stuart Rawling, Pelco by Schneider Electric 4. What technology will impact security most in the rest of 2018? "The hottest trend we are currently seeing in 2018 is the continued adoption of intelligent devices and automation into the security framework. We have embraced a model where our software and hardware components continually get smarter and easier for security and IT teams to manage and deploy." - Stuart Tucker, AMAG Technology 5. What are the obstacles to adoption of mobile credentials for access control? "Mobile credentials have been slow to take off because legacy readers traditionally did not have Bluetooth or NFC capacity. However, upgrade kits will soon be available from some access control vendors, and customers will be able to easily upgrade their readers." - Derek Arcuri, Genetec 6. What’s new “on the edge” of security and video surveillance systems? "As more powerful in-camera chipsets are developed, edge devices are capable of even more powerful analytics that can inform operators in real-time of events requiring attention. Part of this significant evolution is from a form of artificial intelligence (AI) called deep learning." - Paul Kong, Hanwha Techwin America 7. Are integrators and end users overwhelmed by too many choices? "Being proactive in tracking new developments and networking with like-minded professionals are critical. Find out what your colleagues are using or testing, and get their feedback on what is working well, especially if their organization is similar to yours. Join local groups, attend industry conferences, and connect on social media to compare notes on emerging technologies." - Brandon Reich, Pivot3 8. What role does social media play in promoting security? "Social media can help us reduce false police dispatches by drawing in a personal circle of people that can validate an alarm, whether it be a neighbour looking out their window to see what’s going on, or a family member that knows your travel plans and is taking care of your house." - Wayne Jared, 3xLOGIC 9. How should your security company measure total cost of ownership (TCO)? “When looking at TCO you need to consider the obvious initial capital cost – compared to alternatives – and also the operational costs across the lifespan of the systems, across one, three and five years. On top of this, though, security can add additional value through integration.” - John Davies, TDSi 10. What is the value of physical security data? "While active protection is the primary job of a security system, the data generated by today’s networked solutions can provide a wealth of intelligence to help organisations optimize both their security strategies and their business operations.” - Mark Perkins, Boon Edam

Adapting Servers For IP Video Surveillance Systems: Why Manufacturers Struggle
Adapting Servers For IP Video Surveillance Systems: Why Manufacturers Struggle

Security integrators are often tasked with a multitude of responsibilities which could include a variety of installation, integration or design tasks made up of sprinkler systems, fire alarms, access control, HVAC, video surveillance systems and networks; and then pile on maintenance, training and analytics. Traditionally, most security integrators have installation backgrounds but are now expected to be IT savvy, too. Even the most proficient IT professionals may not fully grasp the complexity of adapting computer servers for use with video systems. It’s not the area of expertise of security integrators as the complexities between IT data and video data are significant. Therefore, security integrators depend on system builders to provide solutions to meet the needs of video systems expertly and with few hassles. It’s a simple enough ask, but not so easy to deliver. Tom Larson, Chief Technology Officer, BCDVideo, lists some of the challenges: The Gap Between Reality And Customer Expectations End users should expect a security integrator to provide services and a wide product line to ensure the right equipment for any size job Sometimes there is a gap between what a security integrator expects from a video surveillance solution (in terms of validation testing, dependability, technical support) and the performance of available choices, especially in the case of low-cost or generic equipment. Extra service and support are needed to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, some manufacturers entering the market have failed to deliver, and integrators (and their end user customers) have paid a price. The Network Is Often Overlooked Security integrators should pay special attention to engineering the network and calculating the bandwidth and storage needed for video projects, especially given how technology evolves so quickly. Security is an appliance-driven business, and integrators who just want to add another server to expand storage or functionality without configuring the network run the risk of i/o bottlenecks and other system failures. End users should expect a security integrator to provide services and a wide product line to ensure the right equipment for any size job. Unfortunately, traditional IT resellers are often married to a singular solution limiting their knowledge of a good fit for the job. Buying a video server based on a low price aggravates the problem, as “Frankensteined” or generic servers tend to generate additional costs over time Servers Are Mistakenly Considered A One-Time Expense One mistake purchasing agents make and security integrators have a hard time quantifying is viewing video storage as a capital expense (as one more component of a security system) rather than considering ongoing operating expenses. Buying a video server based on a low price aggravates the problem. “Frankensteined” or generic servers tend to generate additional costs over time, such as firmware or supply chain issues, and some systems builders have failed to provide support to offset those costs. In fact, the high costs over time of supporting inexpensive servers have been unsustainable for some system builders, who have left integrators and end users holding the bag, and in some cases, the liability. Adapting To Sustainable Strategies “Systems builders to the video surveillance market must adapt and invest to meet the demands of security integrators’ expectations, and they need a business model that enables them to provide a substantial level of support and commitment,” says Larson. “Working with high-quality manufacturers and providing tried-and-tested, certified equipment upfront ensures manageable costs over the life of the system. Products that are fully tested and contain no firmware bugs ensure smoother installations. By providing adequate technical support to the security integrator and managing IT variables over the life of the system, the systems builder makes it possible for a security integrator to specify and install a video server as easily as any other system component.” Keeping IT professionals on staff to deal with server issues is cost-prohibitive for security integrators Taking a longer-term view and considering total cost of ownership is a more sustainable strategy for integrators, says Larson. Investing upfront in a higher-quality server is rewarded by dependability and lower service costs over the life of the system. And the lower costs of supporting a higher-quality server create a more sustainable business model for the integrator, thus ensuring the integrator and end user will have ongoing support. Adapting Server Technology To Video Applications Security integrators deliver a different skill set than IT integrators, who tend to be more hands-on in terms of updating firmware and providing maintenance. Keeping IT professionals on staff to deal with server issues is cost-prohibitive for security integrators, who therefore depend on systems builders to provide that expertise. They develop a long-term relationship with a systems builder they can depend on to meet their needs for each job. Larson says the best scenario for a security integrator is a combination of a high-quality server systems builder that understands the specific needs of the security integrator market. Adapting server technology to video applications requires knowledge of both disciplines. Dependable technology adapted to the needs of the video channel ensures successful installations and happy, long-term customers.