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Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

Eye in the Windy City Sky – Is Your Privacy Protected?

Posted by Adam Kleinerman on Apr 11, 2012 7:57:00 AM

chicago traffic privacyFormer Mayor Daley’s goal of having a camera on every street corner in Chicago is slowly becoming a reality. The idea behind cameras at intersections is to create additional revenue and increase safety. The cameras take a quick snapshot of your car if you decide to make your trip quicker by zooming through a red light.  Current Mayor Emanuel has continued the initiative by blanketing close to half the city with cameras to catch prospective speedsters. With the extra cameras, the Chicago police department is now able to track an automobile by taking a picture of the license plate and following it throughout the city.  If proper data encryption practices are not implemented, this could result in a dangerous violation of the average person’s right to privacy.

What happens if the data collected by these cameras is un-encrypted and gets into the wrong hands? What if a hacker gains access to a live stream from the cameras? A whole wealth of personal information could be exposed – creating a huge liability to the city of Chicago.  Currently, little information is being released regarding what data is stored and how the data is protected. Being in the security industry, we hope there is an annual audit that focuses on encryption and monitoring system logs.

AES encryption, key management, and system logging are the best ways to make sure the camera feeds and your personal privacy are kept safe. Encryption would make it impossible for someone to misuse the personal information collected.  Additionally, monitoring system logs would alert administrators if an unauthorized person is trying to gain access.

Chicago citizens with a “need for speed” may be unhappy about the increased surveillance across their city, but without proper security practices in place, a speeding ticket should be the least of their worries.

For more information on data privacy, download our podcast Data Privacy for the Non-Technical Person. Patrick Townsend, our Founder & CTO, discusses what PII (personally identifiable information) is, what the most effective methods for protecting PII, as well as the first steps your company should take towards establishing a data privacy strategy.

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Topics: Data Privacy

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