Subscriber Discussion

Loopholes To Get Around Licensing?

Many have moved from labelling security systems as just "security", and are promoting the benefits of having overall situational awareness and monitoring of your work place or home environment. But could this be use as a "loophole" for unlicensed installers to install video and other traditional security systems, since most states require a license to install security systems. But do you need a license to install, say for instance, a video system for someone who claims they just want to monitor workplace safety and productivity, and supposedly not for security?

Could I, as an unlicensed installer, install a video system legally as long as I don't put anywhere on the paperwork it's a security system, but instead label it something like "Supervisory monitoring tool"?

BTW, we are licensed. This is a hypothetical question.

I suppose one would have to defer to their jurisdiction's definition of "security system". AFAIK, here in BC, alarms and fire systems, which can be considered "life safety" systems, do require a license, while things like CCTV and access controls are not and do not. I say "AFAIK" because I don't know the specific law, I just know I've been working in the industry almost 10 years and nobody has ever required me to get such a license, while I DO know that proper certification is required for alarm systems... so take that info with a grain of salt.

The term "security" itself is pretty nebulous in this context - whose security are we talking about? Do cameras really make one "secutre"? As we've seen in another thread, cameras that are recorded but not monitored live don't really enhance anyone's safety. And as you note, there are plenty of uses for video surveillance that don't include "security". Loss prevention is a big one, as is "supervisory monitoring tool" (of people, or of equipment, as discussed in a few other threads), situational awareness, etc.

Again, you'd probably have to defer to your specific jurisdiction's definition of "security". When I search BC's laws, the only relevant hits under "security" (relevant meaning, not related to securities trading or other uses of the word) have to do with the Security Services Act, which specifically deals with security personnel (guards, etc.). Searching "CCTV" returns no hits; "surveillance" only brings up laws regarding privacy, and gaming (and even then, it refers to "surveillance services" only, no specific mention of surveillance by camera). Nothing immediately obvious relating the surveillance SYSTEMS.

Matt, As I read, I agree, but this is a real loophole. IT Companies all over the place with no experience in security have jumped on the bandwagon and started selling this scenario. Both Residential and Commercial

Now not just trunkslammers who know someone or someone knows some one who knows them. Friends with Friends helping out Friends. I pay about 800.00 / year for my licenses, Friends don't pay a thing.

Now with the cheap easy, plug & play systems , anyone can do it, systems out there, you don't need licensed, bonded, contractors, just friends who have worked for some company that installs.

Untill a catastrophe happens this will not change unfortunately.

I know IT Companies I used to subcontract with , now they do it inhouse with their own loophole guys. Proprietary systems still protect thier company people. Dmp, Bosch, C-Cure, lynle, Siemens,Adt ,Brinks, and the like

The interesting thing I find about "Licensing" with regards to Camera Systems is that being licensed implies to the End-User that one is "QUALIFIED" to install these systems. With that being said, since IP Camera Systems are becoming the standard, are Alarm Contractors or Structured Cabling/IT Contractors more "QUALIFIED" to install the system and its infrastructure? I have never heard of an Alarm Licensing Exam that covers the topics of Networking and Standards Compliance with regards to structured cabling. I have also spoken to numerous manufactures of IP Cameras and VMS products and all of them agree that the majority of thier Tech Support Calls are related to network deployment issues.

Chad, good point. I do suspect that many end users equate licensing with competency. However, from the state licensing I have seen it typically is more about safety and liability (i.e., this person either knows enough or is vetted enough not to blow up your building).

John, the safety and liability piece is true. However, both alarm contractors and structured cabling contractors are licensed for this purpose. With the convergence of security products and the network, the security industry needs to take a more proactive approach to implementing best practices and standards. Look at what ASIS is doing compared to BICSI. BICSI is proactively adding training and courses on security (CCTV & Access Control) as well as creating the ESS Credential to ensure that structured cabling contractors are prepared. What is ASIS doing? ASIS has their Standards & Guidelines…when is the last time you saw an RFP hit the street that required the awarded contractor to have a PSP on staff? I am starting to see RFPs for CCTV Systems that require an RCDD on staff as well as ITS Certified Installers.

Just FYI- Licensing is just for the Business to have an accountability structure and someone to hold responsible .

Whole lot more to this: Legal, Training, Safety, Backgrounds

Qualifications are another point, usually I find that 20% of the installers are truly qualified, they are usually cross trained from other fields. Outsourced labor, just cheap temps for the install.

IT usually has a lot of great installers, some great qualified individuals , but as far as the business end of it goes, they know nothing. Kept in the dark on a lot of subject matters.

Getting a certification just allows you to be hired, not qualified. Also there are different categories of qualification's. No one is (supreme) in these categories, as with the marketplace where it's employee's are subjective to available work.

We see a lot of companies, only allow so much, the positon in the company.

New laws create the standards for the changes in the process.

Nicet,Factory Certs,Apprecticeships,organizations which certify that you have knowledge & experiece .

Ca. has State Testing to verify your knowledge after you get experience in the field.

The 4,6,8,12 Rule of Experience, Apprenticeship, journeyman, senior journeyman, Master. No one Simply Test & get's on board. The Hardest Challenge today is getting Both on board. Experience, Knowledge, Background, Training

How about this scenario.....

A phone tehcnician person not licensed to do security installations in their state installs a video surveillance system for a customer under the premise of "situational awareness".

Something bad happens, doesn't matter what, and the phone tech get's named in a lawsuit for damages.

The phone tech's genersal liabilty insurance company looks at the case and goes "wait a minute, the phone tech told us his/her business was installing and servicing phone systems, not installing camera systems, which we think is security and they're not licensed to do, so we're not going to cover anything."

I think it could happen.

Lous , been in many court's over law suit's that had nothing to do with our company or what we did or did not do .

Attorneys just love lawsuit's ( CA. Law Up to 10 years after the fact )

Been in facility's where we were installing , left the facility and got blamed for phone system's failure's when we did not toucn the system.

Also moved a phone system, old system , worked fine , 30-45 days later system crashed , but because we touched system we were blamed for crash .

So proper documentation , protocol , format is critical when dealing with others products or facilities .

Detail Counts

The industry Rule is ( You Touch , You Take Responsibility for )

Also we carry extreme amounts of insurances , licenses, certifications for others and protect against liability's of others .

I hear what you're saying Chris, but what I'm saying is if a company or small buisness person goes outside the stated purpose of their business, like in my example where a phone technician installs video surveillance system and something happens, say the recording feature fails while an theft occurs or someone get's mugged while the camera is looking in another direction, whatever it may be, doesn't the phone tech face a greater than usual risk of not being covered by their liability insurance for matters pertaining to the video system because it has nothing to do with servicing and installing phones?

It's one thing if the phone tech works on the phone system and an hour after they leave the video system fails and the customer tries to blame the phone tech for somehow messing with it. My exmaple is someone specifically working on a video system when it's not in their stated purpose of business and one would not reasonably expect it to be.

Its about Exposure & Liability, Competant Qualified Technician , Authorization to complete work

If the tech works for you , he is covered under your insurance . and if you are authorized by the owner to work on it, than it is a issue of what was to be done, did you complete it to the owners expectation and whos at fault, did the owner authorize you to complete the work .

Was there neglegence involved , was there willful neglegence , was there gross neglgence involved .

Did you or your employee have foreknowledge , knowledge of the defect .

Was there documentation of the defect or documentation of the repair , who was notified of the defeciency or repairs to be made . Did the owner s authorize the work .

Most dont even think about the ramification of what s being done or liabilitys involved .

Insurance companys look to figure out how not to Pay.

Attorneys look to figure how to tie up in court and increase the figures . Liability

Its not a simple world anymore .