Video Retention Standards - Need Industry Clearinghouse

By: Severin Sorensen, Published on Dec 27, 2008

Beyond CODECS, a need exists for video standards of care, as a supermarket court case below demonstrates.

The rules and regulations concerning retention of video information electronically captured by CCTV and IP video recording systems varies internationally by geography and industry usage.

What is lawful to capture in one jurisdiction for live viewing may not be lawful to store in the same location, or might be restricted in terms of the number of days stored, or use of the video, but the same video might be viewed internationally and stored lawfully in another country.  These nuisances of law should be explored before individuals or firms suffer the plight of paving the legal trail of woes for non-compliance of home laws

Beyond country of origin issues, there are industry domain issues. Banks, retailers, power plants, law enforcement, hospitals and other industry domains all have their industry-specific standards, or if not official standards, rules of thumb wherewith the industry seems to abide if not by rule, by convention.

From time to time however, the government executive branches or judicial courts jump in to set or refine standards where none have been met or maintained.  The question arises -- it is better to set the standards, or let standards happen to you?  I think most would agree that being proactive and involved in standards making and monitoring is imperative to preserve commerce and common sense.

Consider the case forwarded recently to the ASIS Physical Security Council [link no longer available] by member Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III, who found this testy jewel nested in the legal archives dealing with stored electronic data that all should be aware of -- Bright v. United Corp., 2008 WL 2971769 (V.I. July 22, 2008).

Here is a key excerpt:

"The supermarket’s manager testified that he examined the footage of plaintiff’s fall immediately after being notified of her fall, and the video failed to show anything visible on the floor at the time of the fall.  Concluding that plaintiff "probably tripped on herself," the manager testified that he elected not to review or copy any of the footage prior to or after the fall.  He also testified that the store had no set procedure for retaining video footage of slip and fall accidents and that the store simply retained the footage of the actual fall in plaintiff’s particular circumstance."

"Plaza's manager retained only the portion of the footage which he believed to be relevant, purportedly in accordance with the store's routine practice.  It is clear, however, that Plaza's routine practice regarding the destruction of surveillance footage capturing slip and fall accidents is flawed.  Store managers should retain recorded footage of the area in which an accident occurred both prior to and following the accident. "

Essentially, the court found that the company errored in not retaining the pre- and post- footage of the slip and fall incident recorded on the video system.  The court found that the company had a duty to maintain the recorded incident, as well as pre- and post-incident footage for slip and fall incidents.   This incident illustrates how courts can make legislative actions when standards themselves are not yet available, or voluntary and not widely supported.

So I appeal here to you John Honovich, and other readers of IPVideoMarket.Info to contribute to rationalize the standards of care issue, not just standardization of CODEC choice, so that we as an industry can more fully provide the support required by our security managers operating worldwide in fulfilling their duty to protect and serve, and do so in a lawful, measured, and professional manner.

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