Security versus freedom and data protection

Event security - Security versus freedom and data protection

Security is a basic need for every individual. The same holds true for a sense of freedom and right to privacy. These needs often pose problems when it comes to developing security concepts: How much freedom and how much privacy need to be sacrificed in order to ensure security?

Entry points are hot spots for event security. This is where the event organizers exert the greatest influence. This is also where they can decide who or what enters their event. Screening attendees always has been – and will remain – crucial for this reason. However, the more thoroughly that security personnel do their job, the longer the lines at entrances become – causing waiting times that can test the patience of some attendees. “The most important thing is for the personnel to be appropriately trained. They always need to take a conscientious approach to screening people, even when there is a lot of crowding and people are growing increasingly impatient. Experience has mainly taught us, however, that people are incredibly aware of the topic of safety, primarily in the wake of terrorist attacks,” reports Michael Baumanns, a lecturer at the TÜV Rheinland Academy who has taken part in countless large- and small-scale events. “They are willing to accept longer waiting times, because they consider these to be absolutely necessary. We have observed that the same applies for restrictions on bag size and so on. At the beginning, there was still a great deal of resistance and lack of understanding on these points. In the meantime, though, people have accepted these measures.”

A focus on camera surveillance

Alongside screening entrants, event organizers occasionally make use of massive-scale video surveillance at entrance points. Video cameras record illegal activities such as drug deals or black-market sales as well as people generally behaving in a suspicious manner, and are used to locate these individuals. “Countless people are refused entry to every large-scale event based on video surveillance,” says Baumanns. However, those concerned with protecting data are not the only ones pointing out the hazards of video surveillance. Concerns have been voiced regarding video surveillance for monitoring events as well as public places – especially when it comes to biometric facial recognition. “Germans in particular are very preoccupied with the issue of data protection. There are far fewer concerns about this in other countries,” says Olaf Seiche, who serves as an event auditor at TÜV Rheinland, among other things. “In my opinion, there is a certain ambivalence when it comes to this topic. People readily reveal vast quantities of personal information via social networks, for instance, yet some of them have a great deal of concerns about camera surveillance. However, this technology has enormous potential when it comes to security in particular.”

Picture Credits: © Ryuichi Maruo [YCAM] / flickr