One of the questions we’ve heard over and over again when speaking with neighborhoods across the country is, “I’ve only seen Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR) in businesses and on busy streets. I’ve heard that those companies keep data for long periods of time and use it to monitor their customers. Does this mean you’ll be watching our neighborhood and monitoring who comes in and out? How do you make sure you protect privacy?”
We’ve talked about privacy in the past, but we feel so strongly about this subject, we wanted to make sure we address it again.
Across the US, 83% of property crimes go unsolved. When we heard this statistic, we knew we needed to do something, so we spoke to police. The number one request we heard from police is that they needed more actionable evidence. Since over 70% of these crimes occur with a vehicle, Flock Safety is focused on capturing evidence police can act upon to keep communities safe — license plate details.
While our technology’s focus is to capture what police need in the field, our company’s focus is to keep residents safe, and part of that mission is to respect resident privacy. From the beginning, our CEO and Co-Founder Garrett Langley had a vision to eliminate neighborhood crime, starting in his own neighborhood. Garrett wanted a system that could help police track down burglars and criminals but didn’t like how other existing security systems stored data. Today, Flock Safety is the only security system that lowers neighborhood crime while keeping privacy at the forefront of each system update we push.
Here’s how we do it.
Securely stored data, which automatically deletes
Here’s the data each Flock Safety device captures:
- Vehicles with license plates, paper plates, or no plates at all
- The color and type of a vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle etc.)
- Timestamps and location of captured images
Flock Safety does not watch your neighborhood. Rather, our device is a safety system that captures images and data that can be shared with police in the event a crime occurs.
When a Flock Safety system first captures images, the data is temporarily stored on the device until it is uploaded to our cloud provider, Amazon Web Services. After this, the data is removed from the local device.
Once on the cloud, all footage and metadata is encrypted throughout its entire lifecycle, from on-device to storage in the cloud. Flock uses Amazon Web Services cloud storage and KMS-based encryption, limiting access to the encryption keys. All CJIS data is stored in the AWS GovCloud and is only available to Law Enforcement agencies. No CJIS data is shared with non-Law Enforcement Flock Safety Customers.
This data is only stored on the cloud for 30 days by default, after which all data will be wiped from the cloud.
You Maintain Access to Your Own Data
Users 100% own the data a Flock Safety LPR captures. Flock Safety doesn’t share or sell your data.
Users also determine who within their community has access to the data, in order to protect privacy. We recommend discussing in depth with your community to determine how you’ll work together to access your data.
Once access rights have been set, neighborhoods can always add or remove access, and even provide individuals with temporary access to images in the event of a crime.
We Put Privacy Features in Place to Protect You
While Flock Safety does not monitor who comes in and out of neighborhoods, our system does track time stamps of images captured. In speaking with neighborhoods, we learned that residents want to be safe, but don’t necessarily want neighbors with image access to know exactly what time they come and leave.
That’s why our system has a Resident SafeList feature, which allows Flock to only record license plates of non-residents. If registered on our SafeList, images of residents’ license plates will be marked as “resident,” and residents can even opt to have their vehicle removed from captured images altogether.
Transparency and Communication
In the same way, we strongly encourage neighborhoods with HOAs to communicate openly with their residents about Flock Safety security system placement within their communities and how we handle resident data.
When neighborhoods work together with law enforcement in providing evidence, crime gets solved. And when neighbors work together with each other, strong bonds are formed and a community is built that will make sure crime stays away.
For more information on our commitment to protect privacy, click here.