T his month, I attended Security Canada — the largest surveillance and security show north of the United States. The show floor was bustling with security integrators, end users, and even students from nearby universities hoping to learn more about the security industry. Inspired by the students, I decided to sit in on a couple of sessions to learn more about the surveillance and security market, and particularly how it differs in Canada compared to the United States. One particular session piqued my interest, Video Surveillance and the Law. Expecting to learn about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, I instead listened to the unique perspective of a lawyer who is well-versed in cases focused on surveillance and video evidence.

The speaker illustrated how important video evidence management is in solving crimes and prosecuting wrongdoers. In Canada, if a video clip is to be presented in court, an individual must authenticate the video content in order for it to be used in court prosecution. In one particular case, a police agency had incriminating evidence on a VHS (yes — this was a couple decades back in time). The police officer bringing the evidence to court needed to make a copy of the tape — but, when he loaded in his evidence along with a blank VHS, he accidentally switched the two tapes, writing over the content completely. However, because a whole room of officers had seen the video prior to the mishap (and one, in fact, recognized the criminal from a previous case), they were able to authenticate the evidence in court and still prosecute the criminal. However, if several officers had not viewed the tape prior to this event, the evidence would have been deemed unusable, and the criminal would have gotten off scot-free. While technology has evolved from using VHS as a means of video evidence, holding any sort of video prior to a court case leaves a large window for error or mishandling. This can be especially problematic if agencies aren’t retaining video for extended periods of time because less video is being kept and analyzed.

The speaker reminded the audience that the statute of limitations for suing an individual or corporation in Canada is two years. With this law in mind, he recommended that all firms keep video content for a minimum of six months. To provide complete liability coverage, the ideal retention time is two years, matching the Canadian statute of limitations. While many audience members looked exasperated by the amount of budget that would be required to retain data for such a long period of time, I knew that Quantum had the secret sauce to circumvent such issues.

Using only one type of video storage can make it costly to keep video for six months, let alone two years. That’s why multi-tier storage is an ideal option for long-term protection against litigation that could arise at the tail-end of the statute of limitations. More cost-effective storage also enables law enforcement agencies to hold onto data for extended time periods to meet long-term retention policies. Quantum’s multi-tier storage solution allows users to tier video across different layers of storage — high-performance disk storage, object-based storage, file-based tape, or cloud-based storage — so that agencies can retain their video content without compromising budget, performance, or access. Quantum’s solution also allows users to write data to different types of storage simultaneously, eliminating all future VHS blunders (though we hope you’ve upgraded your systems!). To learn more, read about the benefits of using a multi-tier video storage solution.

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