People counting

Count with caution: security challenges of camera-based people counting devices

As data-driven insights continue to transform various industries, people counting devices have emerged as valuable tools for businesses and public spaces.
People Counting Cameras Security

By harnessing the latest technology, these devices offer a convenient and accurate way to measure foot traffic. But amidst the benefits lies a hidden vulnerability. Although widely used, camera-based people counting devices, as opposed to people counters that don’t use cameras, raise significant concerns regarding security and privacy.

This article deep dives into potential risks associated with camera-based devices, explores alternative counting technology, and emphasizes the importance of prioritizing data protection and GDPR compliance.

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Dangers of hacking and security issues

Camera-based people counting devices rely on computer vision algorithms to analyze video footage and identify individuals. However, this technology can be susceptible to hacking and unauthorized access. Here are some potential vulnerabilities:

Exploitation of network infrastructure
Camera-based people counters often connect to local or cloud-based networks, creating potential entry points for hackers. Weak or outdated network security measures could allow unauthorized access to the devices, compromising the integrity and confidentiality of the data collected.

Malware and remote code execution
If the firmware or software running on the camera-based devices is not adequately secured, they may be vulnerable to malware or remote code execution attacks. Malicious actors could exploit these vulnerabilities to gain control of the devices, manipulate data, or intercept sensitive information.

Data Interception and unauthorized surveillance
As camera-based devices capture video footage, the transmitted data could be intercepted by unauthorized individuals, leading to privacy breaches and surveillance concerns. Unencrypted or inadequately protected data streams are particularly vulnerable to interception.

Alternative people counting methods with privacy concerns

While camera-based people counting devices raise significant privacy concerns, other people counting technology warrant attention. Some of these methods include:

Wi-Fi Tracking
Wi-Fi tracking relies on detecting and analyzing signals emitted by Wi-Fi-enabled devices carried by individuals. While it does not capture visual information, it still raises concerns regarding the tracking and identification of individuals, potentially infringing upon their privacy rights.

Bluetooth Tracking
Similar to Wi-Fi tracking, Bluetooth tracking monitors signals emitted by Bluetooth-enabled devices. Again, this method raises concerns about tracking and identification, as well as the potential for unauthorized data collection.

Anonymization and pseudonymization of data

Anonymization and pseudonymization techniques are commonly employed to protect privacy in data collection and storage. However, they are not synonymous with true anonymity and do not guarantee complete privacy protection. Anonymization involves removing personally identifiable information (PII) from data, while pseudonymization replaces PII with pseudonyms. Although these techniques can reduce the risk of identification, re-identification attacks and data linkage can still compromise privacy.

Terabee Time Of Flight People Counting Anonymous Privacy Data

Time-of-Flight technology: enhanced security and functionality

Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology offers an alternative to camera-based people counting devices, addressing many of the security concerns associated with visual data capture. ToF devices use infrared light to measure the time it takes for the light to bounce back after hitting an object, providing accurate distance measurements. This technology does not capture visual information, ensuring the privacy of individuals.

Protecting the privacy of individuals is crucial in the implementation of people counting technologies. Organizations operating within the EU must adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, including obtaining informed consent, ensuring data minimization, and implementing strong security measures to safeguard personal data. Compliance with GDPR guidelines helps to mitigate privacy risks and ensures individuals’ rights are respected.

Choosing secure people counting technology

As organizations strive to leverage people counting technology for better decision-making, it is crucial to prioritize security and privacy. Camera-based devices, while efficient in providing accurate counts, expose vulnerabilities that can compromise sensitive data and invade individuals’ privacy. The adoption of alternative methods, such as Time-of-Flight technology, not only enhances security but also respects privacy rights by avoiding visual data capture.

Moreover, adhering to GDPR guidelines, implementing robust security measures, and selecting trusted vendors are essential steps towards ensuring the protection of personal data. By embracing secure and privacy-focused people counting technologies, businesses can harness valuable insights while maintaining the trust and privacy of their customers.

Terabee Time-of-Flight people counting

Terabee people counters calculate depth information about their surroundings, with a low resolution “depth map” where each pixel corresponds to a distance measurement produced. This provides highly accurate people counting data (typically 95% for People Counting M to 98% accuracy for People Counting L-XL) that does not capture any distinguishing features or personal identifiable information (PII). Read more about people counting devices GDPR compliance.

With its ability to aggregate data taken from up to five separate sensors, the Terabee People Counter L-XL device offers an easy-to-install and configure, highly accurate doorway counter for monitoring large doors, entrances and indoor gates. It is available in both Power over Ethernet (PoE) and LoRaWAN-enabled models. On the other hand, the People Counting M, also available in PoE and LoRa-enabled models, is suitable for standard doors and narrow corridors, such as in meeting rooms and washrooms.

People Counting Privacy By Design

Contact us to speak to an expert about your people counting challenges and requirements. Get in touch to find out more! If you would like to learn how to deploy people counting solutions in your facility, whether it’s a campus or another type of building, contact a member of the Terabee team today.

Related products

Terabee People Flow Counting L-XL

GDPR compliant people counting device. Optimize value and reduce costs from your retail operation, smart building or office space
Using advanced Time-of-Flight technology, Terabee People Flow Counting L-XL is GDPR compliant and provides accurate people counting data (98% accuracy or more) by monitoring the number of people entering and exiting doorways or corridors.

Easy to configure and install on high ceilings, the Terabee People Flow Counting L-XL fits any kind of wide indoor entrance, up to 15 meters in a multi-device setup. Our people counting algorithm is capable of filtering out static objects and counting multiple people passing in both directions below the device as they enter or leave a space.

The solution consists of an IoT people counting device and an optional IoT platform. Two product variations allow transmission of the data via Power over Ethernet or LoRaWAN. Interested? Contact us.

Terabee People Flow Counting M 2.0

Get real-time people counting data for single doorways and narrow corridors
Real-time data is the backbone of our modern, fast-paced world especially when it comes to monitoring space usage, occupancy, energy efficiency, security, building performance or tailored services. The Terabee People Flow Counting M 2.0 device is GDPR compliant by design, with a real-time data capability, providing seamless, accurate, and highly effective footfall measurement, at a competitive price.

Using Time-of-Flight technology, the People Flow Counting M 2.0 solution guarantees anonymity in its operations, prioritizing data privacy protection while offering robust, reliable occupancy monitoring.

People Flow Counting M 2.0 is the perfect addition to your Building Management System. The “smaller sibling” of People Flow Counting L-XL, People Flow Counting M 2.0 is designed for smaller doorways and narrow corridors. It comes in both Power over Ethernet (PoE) and LoRa models to best suit your needs.
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