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Richard Brent

TMA, ESA dispute Google’s claim

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Monitoring Association (TMA) and the Electronic Security Association (ESA) are calling out Google on its recent statement — “security systems often use microphones” — noting that such statements “misrepresent the vast majority of today’s residential security systems installed throughout the country.”

The dispute follows recent reporting by Business Insider, CNN Business and many other publications that have highlighted the undisclosed, on-board microphone discovered in Google’s Nest Guard Security Device — raising serious privacy concerns among consumers.

Since audio recording includes privacy and legal complexities, it’s not extremely common in residential installations, the associations noted, pointing out that security professionals and integrators consult with customers and ensure all federal and state laws are abided by.

“Adding audio surveillance can certainly make for a more robust system,” ESA President Chris Mosley said in a prepared statement. “We’re seeing exciting advancements in the audio surveillance category, such as acoustic sensors and microphones that can help us detect gunfire or when voices become elevated that could indicate potential violence. However, sweeping statements to infer that residential systems commonly have this feature are simply not accurate.”

Richard Brent, CEO, Louroe Electronics, an ESA Member company and 40-year-old manufacturer of audio-based technologies, agrees, noting, “Sound-based technology in security systems is common in law enforcement, institutional, and smart city installations. However, the use of microphones for surveillance in residences is extremely rare on account of heightened expectations of privacy.”

According to both associations, adding microphones and audio capabilities to security systems adds another level of precaution that must be taken to install the system in a way that protects the privacy of the consumer.

“Security systems are now an important part of the customer home experience in that we can integrate with audio assistance,” TMA President Ivan Spector said. “However professionally installed and monitored security systems are not designed to record data and conversations unbeknownst to our customers.”

Professionally installed systems have the backing of technology experts who know the full capability of the system and its components and can appropriately safeguard these systems, so as not to compromise privacy.

Local security businesses see rise after tragedies

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12/17/2015

NEW YORK—Security companies close to an active shooter event, like the recent shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., have seen a rise in business following the occurrence, reported the International Business Times.