Good find! Insert NSA joke here...
Here's an interesting excerpt:
"[The Police Chief] laid the blame on Safe Life Security, the Manalapan company that installed the surveillance system.
"The vendor that originally installed the cameras has taken full responsibility for the error and has acknowledged that he was explicitly told by members of this administration to disable the audio microphones in all other areas of the police department with the exception of the cell block area upon installation," Bryan said."
So the real explanation is that the system recorded audio by default, and did so for months until someone noticed? Really? Sounds fishy that it would take that long to realize. Is no one ever using the system. Carlton, it would be interesting to see if Safe Life Security has a response.
IPVMU Certified | 12/16/13 11:41pm
I haven't come across any VMS that records audio by default. That's an interesting default option. If the integrator failed to follow directions, then that is their responsibility. But end users really should test systems themselves, just to be prudent. Especially if there are regulatory concerns.
This appears to be icing on the cake for the Edison, NJ police department. This same department has been embroiled in controversy fror the past year and the editorial board of the Star-Ledger has called for the state attorney to step in and take control.
It strains credulity to believe that the department failed to notice the system was recording audio for 11 months.
The law enforcement officials said the company’s technicians were seen inside headquarters late last week, disabling the microphones camera by camera.
if they had integrated mics, how exactly would they disable them camera by camera?
if they were external how didn't they know about them?
Surely they don't mean law enforcement saw technicians clicking a enable audio checkbox one by one...
Maybe they gouge out the diaphram with a star wrench...
Also interesting is of all the 'violated' parties, the police themselves are by far the most vocal!
Why the uproar about what police officers saying to other police officers in a police station during working hours?
I bet they wouldn't like the PoleCam!
Chesapeake & Midlantic
First, how many cameras with integrated mics exist? Not that many, and most of those suck. You've got the Mobotix, a couple of Axis models, a couple of Vivotek models, a very few ACTi models, and a couple of Bosch models. All the rest is consumer grade stuff. Carlton, can you use your super sleuthing skills to find out what model camera they used? Maybe see if they put this job out to bid, see if we can guess based on the specs. I certainly wouldn't want to imply that the integrator installed Louroe boxes and wired them into the line in audio input of the camera. Dear me, no.
Second, and more importantly: I am extremely disapointed the story was not illustrated by a full shot of the Edison Municipal Building, which is by far the very ugliest building in New Jersey and possibly the northeast United States. It's a poured concrete monstrosity in the Brutalist style, and looks like it was designed by Mecha Stalin as the headquarters of the Secret Police in some far future distopia. I always avert my eyes when I drive past it.
I have actually run into this. Milestone will allow and record audio by default (using the wizard). The instance I'm thinking about, it was an install with several IQEye Alliance-Minidome cameras, which have built in microphones which work pretty well. The server did not have speakers, nor did the client they were using to review footage. We didn't realize the audio was there until I remoted into the server with my laptop which had speakers on it (and audio pass-through enabled). I can believe accidentally recording audio and not knowing about it for quite some time.
Since everyone has avoided the 'blame' word so far, I think it would be interesting to see what people think?
I vote 100% integrator responsibility, though I'm sure lots will assign at least some culpability to the customer. IMO, it doesn't matter if the customer is a PD or a factory, it is the responsibility of the surveillance vendor to do their best to protect their customers from any litigation which might arise from use of that vendors' products.
Audio laws are very specific - and very different - depending on the location of the customer's site. While the alleged victim will most certainly sue the customer (as they should), the customer will always do their best to deflect it right into the integrators lap (as they should).
I think it is possible that the Police requested audio recording capability in the Cellblock, in conformance with NJ DOC regs, but either specified no audio recording elsewhere, or dropped the ball with the other cameras in the specification. The integrator should have been aware of the differing requirements within different areas of the Police. In many NJ Police Departments the Dispatchers are the ones watching the live video feeds. I guarantee that the Police Department did not want audio recording capability within range of Internal Affairs or Supervisory Officers desks due to the nature of the conversations that would take place in those areas. Unless they enjoy union and legal problems would they want them in the non-cellblock areas. If the specification was at fault it might not be a bad idea to see where it originated. I know alot of Police Departments "borrow" bid specifications and from each other. This specification may have left footprints in other towns.
Was there a spec, was there a consultant, did they do a walk-thru after the install? There are a lot of questions to be asked and answered proir to placing blame.
We recently did a baseball stadium and there is a police precinct in the stadium where we installed a small ONSSI system with over a dozen cameras. Once the police moved in there were only 3 cameras left all the other common area cameras were "missing" and unaccounted for.