Consumer-Grade Surveillance at the Post Office?

In an interesting turn, consumer electronics company Hop-on.com, which produces "disposable" cell phones and low-end cell phone accessories including a cell phone holder designed to look like thong underwear, has landed an order for its consumer surveillance systems with the USPS.

According to a statement released to the press by Hop-on.com, the USPS has purchased "an initial order" of Hop-on's Model 2145 wireless surveillance systems.

This may seem at first to be a run-of-the-mill sales announcement, but it gets better. This wireless system, which has a small IR-system on the camera for night-time views, is decidedly consumer grade, the kind of thing that a paranoid homeowner might set up in his/her own home. Designed as a plug-and-play device, you plug in the battery pack and the monitoring system and it broadcasts to a handheld viewer. There's no indication that any encryption is used to prevent the transmitted video from being picked up by another party.

Sure, it's mobile, and maybe you could use it as a low-end temporary surveillance tool, but without the ability to integrate it into a facility's DVR or NVR recording system, we have to ask: What is the value of the evidence you receive from this?

The company's products are specifically marketed to homeowners on the company's web page, and Hop-on seems to specialize in the simple technology that an enterprising homeowner could hook up to the home VCR ... but anything more is pushing the limits. After all, this surveillance product was introduced at a consumer electronics show, not a real security expo.

In summary, SIW thinks that this system would be perfect for a homeowner who wants to see what that "bump-in-the-night" coming from their living room is, but as far as corporate security at a USPS facility, we simply have to ask what's really going on here?

Admittedly, Hop-on CEO Dave Gannon calls the purchase an "initial evaluation," but how did consumer electronics get that far into corporate security in the first place?

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