Time synchronization is crucial for many modern applications. Whilst computer networks all have to be running in perfect time to prevent errors and ensure security other systems require time synchronization for legal reasons.
Average speed cameras, traffic light cameras, CCTV, parking meters and alarm systems to name but a few, all require accurate time synchronization not just to ensure the correct operation of the systems but also to provide an auditable and legal trail for use in prosecutions.
Failure to do so can lead to the system being completely useless as any legal case based around the technology would need to be provable.
For instance, a CCTV network that is not synchronized would not be admissible in court, a defendant could easily claim that an image of them on a camera could not be them as they were not in the vicinity at the time and unless the camera system can be audited and proved to be accurate then reasonable doubt would see any case against the suspect dropped.
For this reason, systems like those mentioned above require complete auditable time synchronisation that can be proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court system.
An auditable system of time synchronization is only possible by using a dedicated NTP time server (Network Time Protocol). NTP servers not only provide an accurate method of synchronization being accurate to a few milliseconds they also provide a full audit trail that can’t be disputed.
NTP server systems use the GPS network or specialist radio transmissions to receive the atomic clock time which is so accurate the chance of it being even a second out from UTC time (Universal Coordinated Time) is over 3 billion to one which is even greater than the accuracy of other legal evidences such as DNA.