The British Standards Institution (BSI), the business standards company, has launched a new standard for body-worn video. With body-worn video cameras now widely adopted by councils and police services across the UK, and in response to concerns over data security and privacy, the new British Standard (BS 8593:2017 Code of Practice for the Deployment and Use of Body-Worn Video) has been developed in conjunction with security and privacy groups including the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police Service and Big Brother Watch*.
The British Standard delivers a common framework designed to boost public trust in the understanding of where and when body-worn video can be used. The voluntary standard provides technical and operational recommendations for the appropriate and proportionate deployment and use of such video.
The new British Standard was drawn up to address a gap in guidance due to the differences between the use of CCTV and body-worn video, and also with a view to avoiding any repeat of the privacy concerns associated with the widespread roll-out of CCTV. The UK is widely believed to be the most surveilled state in the world.
BS 8593:2017 covers planning and operational recommendations, outlining the need for body-worn video’s deployment to be based on legitimate reasons, particularly in terms of undertaking a privacy impact assessment.
Anne Hayes, head of market development for governance and resilience at the BSI, explained: “During the development of BS 8593, it was agreed that public confidence in the operation and management of body-worn video was and is critical. Balancing safety, security and privacy matters is a central concern. The involvement of both security and privacy groups shows that British Standards can deliver industry consensus by aligning agendas to the public benefit. Body-worn video has an advantage as a security device in terms of providing the end user with a sense of protection. It’s a second pair of ‘eyes and ears’ should something go wrong.”
Tony Porter QPM LLB, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, added: “I’m delighted to support the new British Standard and acknowledge the excellent work which has been undertaken to deliver it in such short timescales. As the use of body-worn cameras proliferates, they become more and more ingrained as an intrusive capability in the daily lives of citizens. The important and fundamental balance of preserving the rights of citizens while keeping our communities safe and secure is at the heart of the Home Secretary’s Surveillance Camera Code of Practice which I regulate. The principles within that Code are at the very heart of the new British Standard and I commend its introduction.”
Examples of the legitimate deployment of body-worn video cameras can include:
*Safeguarding employee safety and security where a given end user of body-worn video may be at risk of physical or verbal attack or is otherwise working in a hazardous environment
*As a deterrent if the device wearer is involved in policing or controlling an environment which people could try to disrupt
*Evidence capture if the body-worn video user is involved in a role where they might witness or investigate criminal activity, and where capturing visual or audio evidence could assist with future legal proceedings
*Promoting transparency where device wearers (such as bailiffs or parking wardens) regularly encounter complaints
*Capturing data to use in process improvement or training such as identifying learning opportunities
Device recommendations such as functionality, weight, image quality and encryption are all covered in the new British Standard. A separate clause focuses on data management and security including data integrity, audit trails, storage and sharing redaction.
Training for device wearers and data handlers as well as general operator guidance is provided in the British Standard, along with a dedicated clause covering monitoring, escalation and response as agreed with the system owners.
The British Standard is applicable to body-worn video users and system owners as well as the suppliers and procurers of solutions. Examples of where body-worn video systems might be used include by the Emergency Services and for taxi marshalling, warden schemes, security guarding, parking enforcement and door supervision.
*Organisations involved in the development of BS 8593: Association of Security Consultants, Big Brother Watch, the British Security Industry Association, the Home Office, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Metropolitan Police Service, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the National Security Inspectorate, the Security Industry Authority, the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board and Transport for London. In an individual capacity, IndigoVision, Edesix and SoloProtect were also involved