Data Privacy Requires a Security Response

GDPR affords EU residents more control over personal information

Recent hacks into databases of some of the world’s biggest corporations and government organizations put the personal information of billions of people at risk. Data intended to remain private is showing up for sale on the internet, privacy has become a worldwide concern, and citizens are losing faith in the way their data is collected, stored and protected.

The European Union took a big step last year to ease its citizen’s concerns with the enaction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). EU residents now have much more control over their personal information. The GDPR requires they know what data is being collected, how it is being used and how they can opt in, not out, of a company’s database.

What constitutes personal data? That’s broadly defined to include just about anything that could be used to identify a person, including name, home and email addresses, birthdate, driver license number, gender, race, political affiliations and much more.

Although the GDPR specifically applies to nations within the EU, it has worldwide implications. Any organization, no matter where it’s based, that collects data gathered from an EU citizen must comply with the regulation. Failure to do so can result in penalties of up to €20 million or 4 percent of a company’s annual global revenue.

The European privacy movement has sparked a worldwide response. In the U.S., more than 10 states have enacted tougher regulations to protect its citizens’ personal data. Perhaps the most GDPR-like will take effect on January 1 in California. Online sites will be required to conspicuously post a “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link. Parental consent will be required before selling data about a child under the age of 13.

The security industry was not a prime target of the GDPR, but it will feel an impact in the way organizations collect and use video surveillance and access control data. In the EU, video is considered to be personal data belonging to those captured in live or recorded images. By its nature, access control requires personal information from employees and vendors in return for a pass to enter facilities.

Organizations must have clearly defined goals for its security functions. That means being ready to explain camera placements, what images they expect to capture, and how the video will be used, stored and shared. How video will be shared may be the most critical component.

Strict cybersecurity controls are required to ensure securityrelated data can be viewed only by authorized personnel that may include corporate staff, law enforcement or even a hosted or managed service provider or central monitoring station.

It is obvious passwords protecting data can be hacked. They can also be shared.

Adding a card reader or keypad to a workstation provides a second layer of security. Yet there’s no guarantee the person using the card or entering a Personal Identification Number (PIN) has been authorized to do so.

This is where biometrics can play an important role in securing databases. Passwords, cards and PINs can be hacked, shared or stolen; a biometric identifier cannot. Biometrics offer a way for our industry to meet security goals for the protection of data while also restoring public confidence.

Biometrics involve the measurement of physical characteristics, something only the owner can possess. The most commonly used biometrics include iris patterns, fingerprints and facial recognition. Combining biometric and access readers or a keypad at the PC creates true two-factor authentication. Passwords can be eliminated while the database remains accessible only to authorized users.

The use of biometric technologies is now commonplace worldwide. You see them embedded in smartphones, at border crossings and in use for time and attendance, national ID cards, voter registration and more. Biometric readers can also authenticate consumers registering for websites or making purchases on the internet.

Among the major biometric technologies, iris recognition is widely considered the most accurate. No two people, even identical twins, have the same iris patterns. The technology works with people wearing glasses, contact lenses and safety goggles. It’s not affected by grease, dirt or scars as are fingerprint readers. Iris technology works with very large databases where facial recognition has been shown to be less effective.

GDPR and its goals have arrived with the simple concept that citizens have a right to know the information being collected about them, how it is used and be provided with an easy way to delete their data at any time.

The security industry should see GDPR and efforts at the state level in the U.S. as driving positive changes and eliminating inefficient data protection efforts. At the same time, we need to employ tools readily available to restore citizens’ sense of privacy whether they are completing an online transaction or engaging with a security system. A failure to act now may result in a more severe backlash that could negatively impact how we protect people and their personal data.

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Security Today.

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • ResponderLink

    ResponderLink

    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an Alarm.com company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3

  • Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden Door Controls is pleased to announce that, in response to soaring customer demand, it has expanded its range of ValueWave™ no-touch switches to include a narrow (slimline) version with manual override. This override button is designed to provide additional assurance that the request to exit switch will open a door, even if the no-touch sensor fails to operate. This new slimline switch also features a heavy gauge stainless steel faceplate, a red/green illuminated light ring, and is IP65 rated, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. ValueWave™ no-touch switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high traffic applications. In addition to this narrow version, the CM-221 & CM-222 Series switches are available in a range of other models with single and double gang heavy-gauge stainless steel faceplates and include illuminated light rings. 3

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3