BROOKLINE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Town of Brookline, MA announced today that it has deployed SituCon System’s Emergency Awareness Solution, which features proprietary Privacy Protecting Technology, to allow Brookline’s existing camera system to continue providing safety benefits while also satisfying community privacy requirements.
The camera network, known as the Critical Infrastructure Monitoring System (CIMS), was installed throughout Brookline’s major intersections to provide assistance in the management of emergency situations.
In recognition of the privacy concerns that existed prior to the initial installation of these cameras, the Brookline Board of Selectmen formed the CIMS Camera Oversight Committee to develop a policy for a balanced use of the system. The Committee was tasked with developing a policy that would address both safety concerns and the potential for the camera’s to intrude on personal freedom and privacy. To accomplish this, the committee worked closely with law enforcement agencies, including the Brookline Police Department, as well as civil liberties groups such as the Constitution Project and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Following a thorough understanding of the safety benefits and privacy implications of such a camera system, a final report was made to the Selectmen this past summer that detailed how the system should be used.
“The Camera Oversight Committee should be applauded for developing a camera usage policy that maintains the best interests of both citizens and town employees,” said Betsy DeWitt, Chairman of Brookline’s Board of Selectmen. “The policy outlines how, with the right technology in place, our town can protect citizens while addressing privacy concerns. We have the ability to control the activation of the cameras in a way that shows when they are in operation and when they are not.”
Instead of deploying a 24/7 surveillance system that constantly records and monitors activity, the committee determined that a solution that activated video only at specific times would be integral to providing both safety and privacy. Consistent with this policy, SituCon’s integrated software and hardware solution was implemented to electronically and physically mask camera images at all times other than when camera use is needed—during predetermined “high risk” periods, such as at night, when they have already proven helpful in the past. SituCam Privacy Protecting Cameras were deployed which feature “eyelids” that physically prevent camera use when closed while making sure camera inactivity is obvious to community members. Currently, the SituCam’s are active only between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. However, since emergencies can happen at any time, the Brookline Police Department can remotely activate the cameras at other times while utilizing SituCon’s software to simultaneously send text messages and emails that notify privacy advocates and town officials of their use.
“Protecting the safety and privacy of Brookline’s citizens is of the utmost importance to town officials, so we needed a solution that would satisfy both of these concerns,” said Scott Wilder, technology director, Brookline Police Department. “We remain impressed with the functionality of SituCon’s innovative solutions and their proven ability to strike the perfect balance between the safety we need and the privacy that is desired.”
“Brookline’s Camera Committee effectively developed a protocol for camera usage that makes sense for all involved parties—citizens, town officials, employees and public safety,” said Seth Cirker, President of SituCon Systems. “We are proud that our technology is being deployed to ensure that this policy is followed on a daily basis.”
About SituCon Systems
SituCon Systems is the leading innovator of hardware and software technologies that provide both safety and privacy. SituCon’s Emergency Awareness Solution uses innovative privacy protecting technologies, a sophisticated alerting system and on-demand video to deliver complete peace of mind. Public safety agencies, schools, municipalities and businesses around the country use SituCon’s products to protect safety and safeguard privacy. The company is headquartered in Port Washington, NY. For more information please visit www.situcon.com or follow on Twitter @SituCon.
About Brookline, Massachusetts
Brookline, Massachusetts, is a 6.6 sq mi jewel of a suburb of 57,000 residents. Cheek to jowl with Boston, it has its own identity - a unique mixture of busy streets and rolling countryside, upscale shops and village pubs, gracious apartment buildings and large estates, and home for legions of academic and scientific professionals, who work at the nearby medical centers in Boston. Among its many unusual resources, Brookline has its own working farm (with farm stand), the oldest country club in the nation, a town golf course, the home in which John F. Kennedy was born, a magnificent park on a hillside overlooking Boston with a wonderful open air skating rink and marvelous transportation museum, and numerous neighborhood parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the Town. Its major retail centers, like Coolidge Corner and Brookline Village, are bustling pedestrian-oriented shopping areas with a variety of shops - antique stores, coffee shops, bookstores, fresh fruit and vegetable markets, delicatessens and restaurants. Along with offering both a city atmosphere and a feeling of being in the country, there is a wonderful mix of people in Brookline: elderly, minorities, immigrants from many lands, young families, and college students. With its good schools (both public and private), good transportation (several branches of the MBTA Green Line traverse the Town), and good government, Brookline is a choice spot in which to reside or establish a business.