“Time for the industry to step up”, as security camera users turn their backs on unethical brands

New research commissioned by Hanwha Vision reveals how strongly users feel that the video cameras available to them are produced by a reputable manufacturer and are used responsibly.

surveillance technology

Nearly three-quarters of (73%) European Security Managers believe it is important to source their cameras from manufacturers that uphold the responsible use of security technology, while more than 8 in 10 (81%) of UK security managers believe that surveillance technology, such as video cameras, should be used responsibly.

The survey of over 600 Security Managers from medium to large organisations in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France was conducted by Research Without Barriers for South Korean video provider Hanwha Vision in December 2022.

“Just as we have 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 manufacture at their core,” says Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing of Hanwha Vision Europe.

UK authorities have warned of the risks associated with using certain manufacturers’ video surveillance equipment over fears that the technology presents a security risk and claims that the cameras have been used unethically. Fraser Sampson, the UK biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner, recently described the use of certain manufacturers’ video cameras in UK infrastructure as “digital asbestos”, while government departments have been banned from using equipment produced by certain companies at sensitive sites across the UK.

Perhaps recognising these fears, the research found that nearly 4 in 10 (39%) of UK security managers expect legislation similar to the USA’s NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), which restricts the sale and use of certain manufacturers’ video technology, will become law in their own country at some point. Indeed, nearly one-third (31%) of UK security managers would actually support a version of the NDAA becoming law in their own country.

The research also reveals that nearly 1 in 2 (47%) of UK security managers are able to differentiate between security suppliers and manufacturers from their position on the ethical use of surveillance technology. This would seem to undermine any attempts by disreputable brands to downplay the security threats and unethical use associated with their cameras.

“Like other technology sectors, a wind of change is blowing through the video surveillance industry,” Guterman says. “As our research clearly shows, while developments such as AI at the edge make video camera systems more powerful, users want to balance the greater insights and control they gain from this technology with reassurance that it is used and supplied in a responsible way.”

Commenting on the strength of feeling that Security Managers expressed in the research, Guterman calls on the industry as a whole to meet users’ requirements: “The growth of the European security industry – and the successful extension of video technology beyond typical security applications to deliver wider business efficiencies – relies on manufacturers and installers alike embracing users’ demands that they put responsible use at the heart of what they do. It’s time for the industry to step up.”

Full details of the research can be found here