How Can I Display A Privacy Mask To An Operator But Not An Administrator?

I have an application where the end user wants to hide parts of a scene to operators but wants to allow administrators to see the whole scene, unobscured.

Can I use privacy masks to do this? How do I set this up?

Probably can't do this camera side, since you need at least 1 video feed with no masks applied for the view the admins get.

You'd need a VMS that has some kind of variable masking feature. I'm not aware of any, but it might exist.

Other option would be to have a VMS that supports masking and run two instances of it. So that the camera feed is getting recorded twice. Operators get logins to the one with masks, admins get logged into the one without.

B, good points, agreed.

The main questions now are (1) what VMS is A using? and (2) what, if any, VMSes support role based masking / unmasking?

[ Disclosure : User works for Aimetis ]


You can do this with Aimetis Symphony, you have the Option to do a Static or a Dynamic Privacy Mask and this is tied to our User Management where you can set up who is allowed to see Video with and without the Mask.



Sascha, good to know, thanks!

(I work for Samsung)

Samsung Security Manager (SSM) Software v.1.30 has privacy masks that can be applied to any camera, and then based upon user group assignment, the privacy masks can be applied for live and/or playback video. There is also a backup mask function, in case you need to export video with a privacy mask embedded. The backup mask is dynamic based upon time, so if a person is moving through a scene, you can enter a time range for each mask to apply.

The Panasonic WV-ASM970 video management software has privacy masks for live and search video.

Milestone supports privacy masking that can be removed by an administrator when exporting video. It is not removable in live viewing.


Listening to the responses makes one thing clear:

Server-side privacy masking is really only that: obscuring, i.e. a meta data driven, dynamic overlay which is applied during graphic rendering, but without any actual systemic loss of visual data.

As opposed to camera side privacy masking which removes the information permanently.

And it makes sense; to do otherwise would require a costly decode and re-encode of the stream, an ugly proposition that VMSes try to avoid.

I wonder if there are any privacy implications, since even if never viewed, the recording itself is a violation. Consider a covert camera near a dressing room/rest room with VMS privacy masking enabled. Still recording everything...

I wonder if there are any privacy implications, since even if never viewed, the recording itself is a violation.

Theoretically if there are privacy concerns then you'd need/want non-removable masking. The OP's case sounds more like you want to hide basic sensitive (but not legally restricted) data from operators.

One example that comes to mind might be in a setting where employees login to a system (eg: retail POS). Many times these days you have cameras with enough resolution to read currency denominations, if the FOV is covering the keyboard of the POS system as well it's possible you could shoulder-surf via CCTV and see an employees login info being entered into the POS system.

This is a good example (IMO) of a problem that doesn't neccessarily have a "best" solution (meaning implemented camera-side or server-side), but is more of a scenario-based solution.

The OP's case sounds more like you want to hide basic sensitive (but not legally restricted) data from operators.

Yes, agree. I was speaking to the general case of masking, since one might consider camera and server side implementations to be the same when in fact they are materially different.

I don't mean to imply that the OP has any reason to be concerned about them in this case.

Thank you for your input. I am using Axis Camera Station. Does this work with Axis Camera Station?

There is no mention of privacy masking in the ACS manual. My guess is that since ACS is made for Axis cameras, and Axis cameras generally support privacy masking on their own, that they did not see a need to build it in to the recorder.

Contact Axis to be sure.

Digivod VMS has a server based privacy protection module which doesn't destroy video content.

With a Geutebruck VMS you can take privacy masking one step further, in that you can "pixelate" all or part of the live video view. The "partial" pixelation can be applied to static zones and/or to objects that move within the live feed. Imagine a person in a prison cell that has to be monitored without impeding privacy. An administrator can set pixelation of only the moving parts of the live feed so that a guard can view the outlines and broad features / activities of an inmate - without impeding on their privacy. Especially great for overcoming cross-gender monitoring issues. And of course an administrator can view full images in high quality and without any masking at all.