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Advocate III

Police body cam problems

OK, we know security cameras have security problems.

 

It seems that extends to police body cams as well.

 

The cameras can be tracked.  And all that that implies.

 

The video can be downloaded.  Also uploaded.  Which means it can be downloaded, modified, and uploaded.  With all that that implies for evidence.  These days deepfakes can be pretty convincing.  Or, if you didn't want to go to all that much trouble, simply erasing a few seconds of the audio track could make it seem as if an officer had not issued a warning before shooting ...


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2 Replies
Advocate I

Re: Police body cam problems

I did a whole paper on this. Not only those items you mentioned are problems but what about other, non-technical issues.

Imagine this scenario:

 

A young girl decides to sunbathe without clothes on in the privacy of her back yard. A suspect running from the cops busts through the gated fence with 4 police officers chasing behind him with body cams rolling. They tackle the suspect right in front of the girl who stands up and starts screaming. The officers look her way and record her naked on camera. Who has the job of scrubbing those images from the cameras? Does she have the right to demand that the cameras be wiped or at least have her images blurred out? Would the defense attorneys argue that since the body camera footage has been altered or deleted that their client is "innocent"?

 

You are having lunch at an outdoor café. Two police officers take the table next to you to eat their lunch and their body cameras are rolling. You have a conversation with a friend and you realize that the conversation was picked up on the audio portion of the cameras. Do you have the right to ask that they delete that portion of the officer's body cam footage? But the camera's shouldn't be on? Or should they? If you don't have full accountability of all of the officer's actions on that day how do you know that they didn't already have a previous altercation with a suspect that wasn't recorded?

 

There are many issues that need to be worked out with body cameras. I fear we are turning into the novel 1984. Big Brother is watching you.

Contributor II

Re: Police body cam problems

In this version of the story there is a proposal to allow officers 45 days to cough up their recordings.  

 

I'm not sure where to begin!