EU-funded researchers have developed a common assessment scheme for security products that fully takes into account issues such as data protection and fundamental rights. This will help to harmonise the EU market, build up consumer trust and bring innovations to market faster.
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The fragmented nature of Europes security market acts as a barrier to future growth. Different types of products and services are supplied by a range of stakeholders, and regulations and laws surrounding their use differ between European countries.
This means for example that security products and systems, like video surveillance and alarms, often need to be re-certified before they can be sold in another European country, which delays innovative ideas reaching the market and puts extra administrative and financial burdens on businesses.
Pan-European security market
To address this, the EU-funded CRISP project has pioneered a new pan-European certification scheme that specifically focuses on the social and legal aspects of installed security systems.
Our key achievement has been the development of the CRISP evaluation methodology, as well as reaching a CEN Workshop Agreement (a European standardisation document) on our evaluation methodology, which is freely available to anyone, says CRISP project coordinator Ronald Boon from the Nederlands Standardisation Institute.
By having a CRISP certificate, those who provide security services or employ security technologies at their locations can demonstrate that, as well as the technical requirements, the protection of fundamental rights has also been taken into consideration. CEN and CENELEC are two of the three European Standardisation Organisations (the other is ETSI) that are officially recognised by the EU as being responsible for developing and defining voluntary standards at European level.
The concept complements existing technical assessments by ensuring compliance with regulations on issues such as data protection. This will help to certify that security products are fully compliant across the EU, increasing citizen trust and confidence in European security technologies.
CRISP partners have also developed a certification manual, a roadmap and exploitation plan detailing the route to implementing the CRISP scheme for any organisation interested in developing a fully-fledged certification scheme. The consortium has also worked hard on targeted communication and awareness-raising among stakeholder groups in Europe.
Several organisations have followed the CRISP project from the beginning and have showed great interest in our final results, says Boon. A few have expressed interest in taking the project results further, though well have to see what form this will take.
Security, trust, efficiency and freedom infringement
The CRISP methodology integrates the assessment according to what is known as STEFi: Security, Trust, Efficiency and Freedom. Security covers the functionality of a security system in countering threats and reducing risk while the trust element takes into account the experiences and perceptions of security system users, including employees at the premises where security systems are installed and those who are subject to scrutiny through these systems.
Efficiency assessments cover the economic dimension of technology, taking into account product life cycle costs, implementation costs and operating costs, while freedom infringement examines the impact of security systems on fundamental rights and data protection.
These assessments were applied in a video surveillance system pilot project in order to test and refine the approach. The CRISP scheme can be extended to include other types of security systems, says Boon. Social alarm systems, access control systems and alarm transmission systems could also be covered.
In developing this methodology, stakeholder interviews and surveys were carried out as well as validation workshops and roundtable events with experts involved in standardisation, certification, security and data protection. This work has helped to map out the challenges of working towards harmonising the European security market. We hope that this project will assist policy makers in developing strategies in this area, says Boon.