Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by n1 on Thursday August 28 2014, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it-wasn't-me dept.

David Kravets writes that US Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says police departments nationwide should require their officers to wear body cameras in order to qualify for the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they receive each year. "Everywhere I go, people now have cameras," said McCaskill during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state of Missouri. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

Only a small number of US police departments have outfitted their officers with body cameras, including forces in Fresno, California; Oakland; Rialto, California; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; and Cincinnati. A recent study with the Rialto Police Department showed that use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints have been dramatically curtailed since the department began wearing body cams [PDF].

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by cafebabe on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:18PM

    by cafebabe (894) on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:18PM (#86693) Journal

    I agree with recording by public officials with the following conditions: No data or metadata to be stored outside of the jurisdiction, no long-term archiving by any agency without warrant obtained in open court, no facial recognition, no profiling, no disclosure to media, documented formats only, prompt access for data subjects and citizens permitted to make their own recordings during arrest and detention on more generous terms.

    --
    1702845791×2
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JNCF on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:50PM

      by JNCF (4317) on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:50PM (#86724) Journal

      I disagree completely. Once you create data, it's very hard to control it. If we're recording bajillions of hours of useful audio and video somebody is going to bribe or court-order their way into getting copies, at least some of the time. I'd rather the data be made publicly available free of charge in a bid to decrease information asymmetry. If the G-Men get it, we all get it.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:25PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:25PM (#86756)

        You cannot make recordings of officers inside peoples homes and vehicles public information. You cannot make recordings of women filing a report of rape public information. You cannot make recordings of people being shot to death public information (Not even in Ferguson. The courts should see it, everyone tuning into CNN should not).

        Not only would you strip away the privacy loincloth we've managed to hold onto thus far, but making police recordings public information automatically would give a very tiny minority a dangerous platform to grandstand on. This would be the serial killers version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

        • (Score: 1) by JNCF on Friday August 29 2014, @02:42PM

          by JNCF (4317) on Friday August 29 2014, @02:42PM (#87215) Journal

          Okay then, how do we make sure that a small minority (three letter agencies) don't siphon off this information and use it to monitor and blackmail normal citizens? Any ideas?

          I don't think it can be done. I think it's better to put everything in the open, rather than let it be abused by a few. Either way, if you want to live in a large city the future probably won't provide you with very much privacy. My advice is to run from the cities.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:46PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:46PM (#86835) Journal

      I doubt you can require a warrant to store information about an incident in which an officer was involved. Or about transferring that video to other police agencies.

      You don't need a warrant to store your video that you capture on your phone. There is no reason the police should either. Police stations and jails already are video recorded 24/7, and this video is retained for long periods of time. ESPECIALLY if there was an incident.

      Further, agencies currently have procedures, some lax, some quite strict, about sharing police records with other police agencies. There are chain of custody requirements. But nothing says county sheriff can't send copies of records to the next county or the FBI, etc.

      They should be public records, like any other evidence. (Which means Jane Q Public does not necessarily get access to it, and certainly won't if there is an on going investigation or litigation). But lawyers (for both sides) will be able to gain access to it.

      Will departments sit on video when one of their own is accused? Probably. But that's what courts are for. More likely, perpetrators lawyers will move to suppress video showing their asshole clients being abusive, because showing that would be prejudicial.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @12:02AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29 2014, @12:02AM (#86985)

        > There is no reason the police should either.

        Of course there is, to keep suspiconless surveillance of the public in check.

        As agents of the state we can choose to put any restriction we want on the police. Their right to do something "because they can" ends where the public says it ends.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by WillAdams on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:20PM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:20PM (#86695)

    That's fine, so long as there's a reliable system for archiving the video, maintaining it securely and controlling/monitoring access (out of privacy considerations), maintaining chain of evidence, &c.

    I also trust that there's a reasonable accommodation of the officer's personal dignity / privacy.

    From an old Slashdot post:

    http://beta.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2229228&cid=36404270 [slashdot.org]
    Police have no expectation of privacy
    when performing official duties for the good of the public.

    If their supervisor showed up, they'd have to fully disclose everything which they were doing, ditto internal affairs, the police chief / superintendent, or a government functionary whose bailiwick involved the performance of their current duties.

    If they have something to hide, which they don't want revealed in court, they need to find some other line of work.

    • (Score: 2) by buswolley on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:08PM

      by buswolley (848) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:08PM (#86751)

      Maintaining the security of the video is important, and also assuring authenticity of the video..synthesis of video, seamlessly inserting audio, etc., is becoming harder and harder to detect. Some computer sciency method is needed to ascertain whether the video is (1) the right video, and (2) has not been tampered with.

      Josh

      --
      subicular junctures
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by migz on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:37PM

    by migz (1807) on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:37PM (#86699)

    Yay! More pork for the cronies at the taxpayers expense. No more privacy for you!

    Glass is ready for action! And google can sell now sell advertising direct to the cops eyeballs - dunkin doughnuts will be pleased ...

    • (Score: 3) by nitehawk214 on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:01PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:01PM (#86747)

      Yeah, its a much better idea to let cops shoot and beat people whenever they want. Want to complain about a cop? Then its your word against his. Guess which one the legal system is going to believe.

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by danmars on Thursday August 28 2014, @04:00PM

      by danmars (3662) on Thursday August 28 2014, @04:00PM (#86772)

      I disagree with you. Evidence has shown that police cameras make everyone behave better, both police and civilians, and dramatically decrease lawsuits.

      Just because someone makes money off something doesn't necessarily mean it's the wrong thing to do. We need to make evidence-based decisions, not motive-based ones.

      http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=44427 [informationliberation.com]
      (Read the data/statistics and optionally ignore the commentary. The guy seems to have a bit of an axe to grind.)

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:45PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:45PM (#86702) Journal

    What does it matter what recordings are made, what witness statements are collected, or how much evidence is amassed against police who commit crimes when they are not even indicted, much less punished? The only use such cameras could have is if they were instantly streamed and publicly viewable by anyone. Then at least citizens could bear witness and hold the entire power structure that surrounds police accountable.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:33PM

      by WillAdams (1424) on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:33PM (#86718)

      That's why I prefer to live somewhere that the Sheriff is an elected official.

      • (Score: 2) by strattitarius on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:34PM

        by strattitarius (3191) on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:34PM (#86738) Journal
        Sheriff is an elected position in the US. Unfortunately, the sheriff isn't actually in charge of much.
        --
        Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:39PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:39PM (#86741)

        I don't: Elected sheriffs, judges, and prosecutors often are most afraid of appearing to be "soft on crime", so they will trump up charges against people who are unable to defend themselves in a court of law to increase the numbers of people they've put away. The targets of that kind of policing end up with criminal convictions that prevent them from voting.

        What you actually want is a mayor and council who understand that just because the police want something doesn't mean it's good for law and order, and keeps them on an accordingly tight leash.

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:38PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:38PM (#86720)

      From the point of view of civil liberties types like myself, the main purpose of the recording is to prevent a "he-said-she-said" scenario when it comes to prosecuting cops, because all too often police brutality cases come down to a cop's word versus a citizen's word, and enough jurors believe police over a citizens that convictions in those cases are rare.

      Also, because the cops know they're on candid camera, they start acting better, as described in TFS.

      That's not to say you shouldn't continue recording cops whenever you see them encountering a citizen: Your video might end up showing something that was conveniently edited out of the cop's video by their own Rose Mary Woods.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:59PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday August 28 2014, @12:59PM (#86707) Homepage

    police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't.

    What about the public being at a disadvantage when no record of the encounter exists?

    What about the fact that convictions are much easier when video evidence exists?

    Don't think "is this good for the cops?" Think "is this good for the public?" With a properly run police force the former should imply the latter anyway.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 3) by strattitarius on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:13PM

      by strattitarius (3191) on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:13PM (#86731) Journal
      But that is an acceptable reason for those that want to side with the police. The best solution is one that both sides agree with help them out. And it seems like cameras fit that... after all, if you have nothing to hide...
      --
      Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by tangomargarine on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:38PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:38PM (#86740)

      And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't.

      Mal: Stack everything right here, in plain sight. Wouldn't want to seem like we got anything to hide. Might give them Alliance boys the wrong impression.
      Wash: Or the right one.
      Mal: That too.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:26PM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday August 28 2014, @01:26PM (#86716) Journal

    A good idea, on the condition that:

    - All recordings should be immediately, automatically and securely transmitted to some kind of independent, unbiased, non-commercial archival office. This new organisation would answer exclusively to the courts, not the police, and would be charged exclusively with maintaining the integrity and privacy of the data they collect. They would then make relevant recordings equally available to all parties involved in any particular case (ie, both the prosecution and defence)

    - Any incidence of cameras being conveniently switched off / 'malfunctioning' / blocked should be reported by above office and then promptly investigated. Punishment for deliberately or negligently failing to record while on duty should be significant.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by bob_super on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:35PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:35PM (#86760)

      If only someone had thought of investing taxpayer dollars in a safe government location dedicated to gathering and holding massive amount of citizen's private digital information...

      "answer exclusively to the courts"? Dang! Gotta need more pork to build a second one then. For convenience, I propose that we build it next door to the current one.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:44PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:44PM (#86766)

      More than that:

      (1) Access to a recording should require a full-blown warrant, not just a court clerk signing off, or a national security letter.
      (2) Without a warrant there is absolutely no access at all, and that includes automated access like facial recognition, speech recognition, license plate scanning, etc.
      (3) Inevitably someone will decide that such a huge store of data is "too valuable to waste," so to prevent anyone changing the rules at a later date, no recordings are stored in the clear. They should be encrypted and the only copy of the keys are held by a 3rd party who only gives them up in response to a full-blown warrant from #1 above
      (4) Without a warrant, recordings must expire. Somewhere on the order of 1 year. This policy is to reduce the chilling effect on citizens of a permanent record of everything they do in the vicinity of the police. The older the recordings the less likely they are to be useful for a legitimate investigation anyway.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by strattitarius on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:37PM

    by strattitarius (3191) on Thursday August 28 2014, @02:37PM (#86739) Journal

    A recent study with the Rialto Police Department showed that use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints have been dramatically curtailed since the department quit being assholes and thugs to citizens.

    FTFY.

    --
    Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:02PM (#86748)

      I think the point they're making is that cops tend to stop being assholes when they know they are being recorded. So yes to the original version and your version.

      Posting A.C. since I have mod points. mrider

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DrMag on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:40PM

    by DrMag (1860) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:40PM (#86761)

    "Police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

    A recent study with the Rialto Police Department showed that use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints have been dramatically curtailed since the department began wearing body cams.

    One of these things is not like the other... If it's true that police violence doesn't stem from overreaction, why the drop in use of force? If the Senator's statement is true, then the body-cam has the effect of making officers hesitant to do (and probably less effective in doing) their job for fear of public backlash from misinterpretation. If the statement is false, then the people have every right to be angry right now.

    • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:43PM

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:43PM (#86764) Homepage

      If it's true that police violence doesn't stem from overreaction, why the drop in use of force?

      Possibly because members of the public are (on average) less likely to be violent in the first place when they realise everything's being recorded.

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
      • (Score: 2) by DrMag on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:07PM

        by DrMag (1860) on Thursday August 28 2014, @05:07PM (#86818)

        That's a fair point, and does reveal my false dichotomy. However, I do suspect that those who are most likely to be subjugated to violence by police are among the less likely to be aware that the cameras are present. The police, on the other hand, will be most likely to be aware as the cameras are still a new and uncomfortable thing for them.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28 2014, @03:51PM (#86768)

      > If it's true that police violence doesn't stem from overreaction, why the drop in use of force?

      I am expecting a "regression to the mean" effect here.
      Lets see how much has changed at the end of 5 years instead of just the first year.

  • (Score: 1) by dpp on Friday August 29 2014, @05:58PM

    by dpp (3579) on Friday August 29 2014, @05:58PM (#87308)

    I'm all for public officials being held accountable and visibility of their actions to the public, so how about US Senators wear cameras?
    Mandatory when they are dining with their lobbyists?