How can banks balance privacy with safety and security in branches?

Safety and security have always been a priority in banks as a way of ensuring that both the people inside the building and the bank’s assets are protected from harm. However, with the increase of video surveillance to ensure safety and security, the privacy of workers and visitors to bank branches needs to be addressed. Balancing privacy, safety and security therefore needs to become a priority for bank branches. Only by achieving this balance can banks ensure that visitor’s privacy is respected, without losing the valuable insights that ensure a safe and secure in-branch environment.

Why do banks need to ensure the privacy of those in-branch?

Bank customers have different reasons to visit their branches, such as for receiving advisory services or withdrawing/depositing money or valuable assets. Therefore, banks remain an attractive target for criminals and various security measures must be taken to protect their staff, assets and customers and to make people feel safe when visiting the branch.

However, the introduction of initiatives such as GDPR have meant organizations need to ensure the protection of personally identifiable data they hold about individuals. GDPR changes the definition of personal data, reflecting changes in technology and the ways that organizations collect data about people. As well as profiling, or developing a snapshot of an individual’s preferences, GDPR also covers data related to an individual’s physical, psychological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, social or biometrical identity. Collection of such data will no longer be acceptable under the GDPR unless the individual in question has explicitly consented.

This also affects video surveillance because biometric data is personal data (related to a living person) resulting from specific technical processing of physical, physiological or the behavioral characteristics of a natural person, which allow or confirm the unique identification of that natural person, such as facial images, iris scans or dactyloscopic data.

GDPR prohibits the processing of biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, however, the following exceptions apply:

  • Explicit consent from the subject
  • In the course of employment and social security relationships
  • To protect vital interests of the subject or another natural person
  • In the course of judicial proceedings
  • For substantial public interest in proportion to the purpose to safeguard fundamental rights and interests of the subject
  • In the public health sector for preventing and controlling diseases and threats to health

You can read more on data privacy and surveillance here.

How can a bank remain safe and secure while protecting visitor privacy?

This makes the use of one of the most effective security systems, video surveillance, tricky to use since it is capturing personally identifiable data all the time. However, a bank must be able to keep track of people entering and leaving a branch to use a way of deterring, identifying and evidencing security issues.

For example, by showing the video camera output on a well-positioned Public View Monitor (PVM), people can see immediately that the bank is monitoring activity and that their presence is being recorded, which can have a discouraging effect on people with bad intentions. On the flip side however, it may also make genuine customers shy away because they may not feel comfortable being visible on a PVM without their explicit consent.

New technological advancements have made it possible to overcome this by masking people in the images, even on a live feed. Masking can remove any personably identifiable features, such as faces and outfits, to instead show an outline of the figure moving around the branch. This means masked visitors can still be shown on the PVM, making people aware of the in-branch video surveillance system, but cannot be individually recognized anymore because of the runtime masking. In this way privacy can be balanced with safety and security to ensure compliance, trust and a good relationship with visitors, while safeguarding everyone in the building.

Masking technologies for video surveillance

To learn more about AXIS Live Privacy Shield, which shows individuals as a transparent shape on live feeds visit:

AXIS Live Privacy Shield