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COMMENT: Police body cameras could be hacked to access confidential data

The Telegraph has reported that body cameras worn by British police to fight crime could become a “back door” for hackers enabling them to access police databases. The camera technology, which is connected to other police systems, could allow hackers to access live images of crime scenes as well as information from police databases. Commenting on this, Sam Curry, chief security officer at Cybereason, said:

What is shocking isn’t that policy body camera’s are hackable, it’s that this is surprising to us as a society. It literally begs the question “who watches the watchers?” to paraphrase Juvenal. Everything is eminently hackable, so we should plan for it.

The best measure of security is the cost-to-break, and it’s incumbent on us to make that as high as possible, while keeping in mind that it will never be infinite and will always trend down over time. With that in mind, we have to plan for law enforcement digitisation to be hackable, from jurisprudence concerned about chain of custody to police training in transparency and ethics.

We also have to consider that facts about police activities may outpace spin and is subject to abuse, and more and more instances of this will arise. Cars, traffic lights, personal devices and one day things as mundane as buttons and belts will likewise be hackable.

We need to invest in resilience and anti-fragility, in hardware-based security and push the cost-to-break ever higher while learning to live in an always connected world that should never inherently be trusted. We’ve had thousands of years to learn to live in a certain, dumb kinetic world and only a scant decade or two at most to learn to live in an uncertain, smart digital one, and it’s time to buckle up and figure out what that means.

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