Today, closed-circuit television (CCTV) is being used in several different ways to promote safety in the work environment and improve productivity.
With technological advances and increased competition in the retail market, it's now typical for surveillance systems usually contain two components:
- Physical in-store equipment such as cameras, and
- Access to a cloud-based solution that allows data analytics, unrestricted storage, and remote access through computer and smartphone devices.
Given these features, CCTV plays an indispensable role in modern retail outlets today. Here are a few key areas CCTV plays to help retailers:
- Loss prevention CCTV surveillance plays an essential role in avoiding losses in all retail stores, no matter what size. CCTV enables you to track and capture any suspicious activity or individual in your store in real-time. Best of all, in many cases, video surveillance used during off-hours will notify you of any attempts to break into your business immediately.
- Evidence collection In many cases, video surveillance footage can be entered into evidence in a legal proceeding. Whether you're concerned about shoplifters or misconduct among staff, video footage can help you make your case and protect your property.
- Fraud prevention Employee theft is a crucial concern for the retail industry. According to the 2018 National Retail Security Survey, the average dollar loss per dishonest employee is roughly $1,264.00. The use of CCTV monitoring may dissuade workers from participating in fraud, given the legal liabilities they face.
- Supervision Through CCTV, managers can track staff performance and verify that their employees are providing excellent customer service. Additionally, video footage can be analyzed to see how consumers are interacting with the retail space and staff. Over time, this data can be used to figure out ways to schedule additional staff members during busy periods of the year.
- Cheaper longer-term storage Many CCTV systems now make it much easier for an employer to store footage over time. Older forms of technology once made it expensive to store footage over time. Now, with cloud-based storage, employers can upload their footage in a secure environment that they can easily access.
- Remote control and access The latest CCTV monitoring systems enable remote monitoring of live security footage. From anywhere in the country, it is now possible to access a video, whether you're using a computer, tabler, or smartphone.
Privacy Law and its Relationship to CCTV
American private industry retailers have to comply with various forms of regulation. Throughout the 20th century, the statutory "right to privacy" evolved, but this right is generally considered among legal scholars to only protect against federal intrusion. Consequently, there are a number of federal laws that are designed to protect the personal data of individuals or involve cybersecurity. These laws include the Privacy Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. They are enforced by many different governmental entities, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Health and Human Services Department (HHS).
However, no single federal statute controls the gathering and use of personal data by users comprehensively. In pursuit of a more comprehensive data protection system, California and the European Union (EU)–have recently enacted privacy laws that regulate virtually all types of personal data within their territories.
While federal legislation does not explicitly address the use of surveillance cameras, the interpretation of 'personal information' is wide enough to incorporate individual images and video footage. This means that a company needs not to know the name or details of an individual-it is enough that the individual can be identified from the images or video recordings. Practically speaking, this implies that CCTV footage recording involves collecting substantial amounts of personal data, and this prompts precise obligations under the Privacy Act to collect, use, and disclose that information.
How Retailers Can Comply With Privacy Laws
There are many important steps retailers can take to ensure that their CCTV systems and policies are complying with state and federal privacy laws. Here are a few of the critical actions retailers can take:
- Ensuring relationships with the surveillance software provider guarantees consistency with the Privacy Act (including where data is stored, redaction of the faces of minors and civilians, and the rights of access according to the Freedom of Information Act); and
- When video data is retained, ensure that you take every appropriate step to protect personal information from abuse, intrusion, and destruction, as well as from unauthorized access, alteration or dissemination, and maintain the information lifecycle.