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posted by n1 on Thursday August 28 2014, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
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].

 
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  • (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.

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  • (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.

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    • (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.