Wednesday, November 14, 2007

DHS to conduct a workshop on CCTV, Security and Privacy

Yesterday DHS announced that the DHS Privacy Office will be conducting a public workshop entitled: CCTV: Developing Privacy Best Practices. The two day workshop will be conducted on 17th and 18th of December in Arlington, VA. People wanting detailed information should contact DHS at


While DHS is conducting this workshop primarily to look at how the government can best employ closed circuit television systems to protect the public while at the same time protecting privacy, there are issues that will affect any chemical facility that includes CCTV systems in their security plan. One area particularly noted in the DHS notice in the Federal Register was: “What measures are necessary to protect privacy and civil liberties when governments have the ability to link into privately owned CCTV networks or have access to images and footage that such networks have captured?” (page 63919)


Some other points that must be considered when setting up a CCTV security system deal with the expectation of privacy. Do employees have to be specifically notified that they will be under periodic surveillance while at work? What expectation of privacy do people other than employees (contractors, vendors, visitors, delivery and pick-up drivers for example) have when on the property? If company CCTV systems can image off-site areas, then what responsibility does the company have to protect the privacy of off-site personnel?


Probably only the largest chemical facilities will find actual attendance at this work shop to be worth while, it would behoove any facility that will use CCTV systems (and that should probably include all facilities notified that they have been designated a high risk facility by DHS) to check up on the Privacy Office Workshop Webpage after this work shop is completed. DHS will post a written transcript of the workshop as well as copies of all comments submitted ahead of time.

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