Integrators Can Play a Key Role in Fending Off Privacy Concerns

WASHINGTON — With the release of its Privacy Framework last month, the Security Industry Association (SIA) has in effect issued a clarion call to industry stakeholders to join efforts in stemming government privacy policies that threaten the use of electronic security technologies.

More than two years in the making, the document consists of a 12-item guideline for SIA members to use in educating end users and policymakers how privacy challenges associated with video surveillance, biometrics, radio frequency identification (RFID) and other solutions are being met.

As SIA begins to solicit its membership to actively implement the framework, systems integrators are especially being looked to as vital in the drive to communicate best practices and how privacy issues are addressed, says Kathleen Carroll, director of government relations for HID Global.

“The problem is if you don’t think about security and privacy before you design and deploy the system, you are going to have issues,” says Carroll, who chairs the SIA working group responsible for drafting the initial framework.

Carroll cites a law passed by Rhode Island policymakers in January that bans the use of all RFID technologies in K-12 schools as an example of how an overreaching law negatively impacts the industry. And in the end prevents the delivery of state-of-the-art security systems to end users.

“If an integrator wants to design an access control solution that uses radio frequency technology, the legislation is so broadly written it outright bans anything that communicates via radio waves,” she says. “If there is an outcome to [releasing the privacy framework] it would be to get the dealers and integrators involved at the state level.”

Carroll, who is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), has been involved in defeating similar legislation in other states. She says as business owners, dealers and integrators are uniquely positioned to educate their elected officials and express concerns about policies onerous to their operations.

“What is really effective in fighting these laws is to have folks who do business in those states go before the legislators and say, ‘Look, if you pass this bill it is going to adversely affect my ability to do business in this state.’ That is ultimately the most effective weapon we have in fighting this legislation,” she says.

In fact, Carroll’s working group comprised representatives from about a dozen SIA member companies, the majority of which were systems integrators.

Working group member Jim Gingo, president of TransTech Systems Inc., a national distributor of access control systems that operates a small integration division, says he was heartened by the integrators who eagerly signed up to help draft the framework.

“The bottom line is we want the government to understand that the security industry is aware that these are highly sensitive issues. Privacy rights are at the forefront of our society,” Gingo says. “It is better to take a proactive stand and show that you are working to resolve these public concerns and actively participating to be ahead of the curve.”

For SIA members that adopt the guidelines, the association has created a Privacy Framework logo that companies can use on Web sites and marketing materials, signifying their commitment to solving privacy issues. SIA is also making plans to reach out to other trade associations to seek endorsement of the guidelines.

“This is not a one-hit wonder,” says Don Erickson, SIA Director of Government Relations. “We are definitely going to promote this to a wider audience.”

While only SIA members can be issued the special logo, all industry stakeholders are encouraged to adopt the guidelines, which are available at 

“You don’t have to be a SIA member to espouse these principles and help fight [uninformed] regulations,” Gingo says. “We are firing a shot over the bow and saying ‘OK, before you regulate this, we are addressing it.’”


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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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