The security week that was: 12/28/07

Dec. 28, 2007
A weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Giving up alarm subscribers' private info?

Alarm dealers and monitoring firms serving Rancho Cordova, Calif., were alarmed this week when they learned of a proposed regulation that is ostensibly created to reduce false alarms in the city. The ordinance calls for "alarm companies to file a report with the Police Department every two years providing the name, birth date, driver's license number, address and telephone number of each alarm system subscriber they serve, as well as the name, address and telephone number of an emergency contact person. The report also would include the number, type and location of alarm systems at each site."

Does that sound like too much information? In my opinion, yes. One standard procedure is to have the alarm system owners to obtain an annual permit where they provide their contact information. But by asking alarm firms to provide their full customer list and account details is going too far. These dealers are rightfully concerned that such lists could be used by other companies to mine for customers.

In the article posted on SecurityInfoWatch, Rick Jordan of Baker Burglar & Fire Systems asks, "If personal information leaks out, who is liable for the leaks?" It's an appropriate question, especially since the proposed data would include driver's license number and date of birth! We're not talking just about company sales lists anymore; they're proposing that alarm companies give away personal information that could expose alarm system owners to potential identity theft issues. Furthermore, I'm not even clear if an alarm firm has the right (as specified in a subscriber contract) to give that information up. Let's hope this proposal falls dead on the table.

Little security equals big art heist
Brazilian museum had no alarm system, no insurance

Incidents sell security systems. Like an ostrich with its head in the sand, businesses and homeowners aren't likely to recognize security risks until they hit home. Such was the case in Brazil, where a modern art museum was hit by the brazen thefts of a Picasso painting and a Portinari painting. The museum had little security in place, just a (blurry) camera system and unarmed guards on patrol. There were no alarm systems, no motion sensors and no insurance on the paintings. "Obviously we will now have to rethink our entire security system," a museum executive told an AP reporter after the incident. It's a classic case of we'll-get-an-alarm-system-after-robbery.

In other news
Securitas Systems grows again, UTC F&S gains more footprint in China, more...

Last week, we reported on Securitas Systems (the integration firm) growing with the acquisition of an integrator/monitoring provider known as Securex. That acquisition was here in the U.S. of A., and focused on the loss prevention/retail market area. Securitas Systems has grown again, acquiring a 25-employee integration firm in the Netherlands known as Installerende Partners.

UTC Fire & Security (Chubb, Kidde, Lenel, etc.) has acquired more of a stake in a Chinese fire systems dealer, a move that recognizes the great industrial growth set for the Asian market. ... In Pakistan, the assassination of Bhutto -- as covered extensively by CNN, FOX and the likes -- is a model case for the value or high-security executive protection. ... The University of Minnesota is testing out video analytics, including one camera set up to identify suspicious behavior on a campus bridge.

Finally, we close this holiday week with a look at the most read stories of the week. Have a very happy New Year!