OPP ask residents to register doorbell cameras with CAMsafe program

Russell County is the latest OPP detachment to adopt the service’s CAMsafe program. The East Region OPP is calling on residents to register their home security cameras in an effort to cut down on investigation time when a crime occurs.

Those who employ home security systems, such as doorbell cameras, can enter their contact information, as well as their cameras’ locations, on the CAMsafe site. If a crime is committed near where a camera is registered, an officer may request the footage from the owner, although according to the CAMsafe Terms of Use, there is no obligation to provide the video if the camera owner so chooses.

From the CAMsafe site: “Your voluntary participation in the CAMSafe program does not require you to agree to any police request in advance.”

It has the thumbs up from Datarisk Canada President and cybersecurity expert Claudiu Popa.

“It doesn’t bind the residents to the agreement, which means you can change your mind and say, ‘look, I don’t feel like sharing that video footage,’ but this has the potential to tremendously speed things up for investigators .”

The praise comes with caveats – Popa recommends participants take precautions before signing up.

“You want to be able to know how to protect your footage, how to access the footage, and how to share footage in limited amounts, and as a resident, that’s all you can ask for,” he said.

It comes alongside the concern that many security camera providers opt to store footage in the cloud.

“The cloud is literally someone else’s computer and usually the cloud is in a different country, so be careful where you agree to store that information.”

Meanwhile, there is a growing hole in home security reliability, with increasing cases of burglars using Wi-Fi jammers to disrupt security camera feeds and enter homes undetected.

Popa says the method was considered theoretical just a few years ago, but has gotten increasingly popular thanks to mass production of illegal jammers. Any system that relies solely on Wi-Fi could be left open to being disrupted.

“If you’ve seen interruptions in your home network or in your internet access before, then you should be a little bit concerned that it might be easy to jam your Wi-Fi and disrupt your alarm system from functioning.”

He says home security should rely on wired connections primarily.

“Sometimes that simply means running a little wire to a router or to some other access point in the house – it doesn’t have to be a disruptive change,” he explained. “If you’re in a home or business setting where the wireless system was installed wirelessly, shop around for one that is wired and have someone install it professionally. Ideally you should use wireless as a backup system, so you’ve got both. “