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Watching the Police: Will Two-Way Surveillance Reduce Crime?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the Quis-custodiet-ipsos-coppers? dept.

Crime 309

An anonymous reader writes "As surveillance technologies have matured in both their sophistication and usage, some are starting to ask the question: is it time we start using them to watch the watchers? The proliferation of dashboard cameras has reduced liability costs, provided valuable evidence, and made police officers safer. The next progression would naturally be for the camera to move out of the car and onto the officer's uniform itself. In The Verge appears a fascinating report about the company behind the non-lethal stun guns that have become commonplace around the world, Taser International, which has set out to transform policing once again – this time, with Axon Flex, a head-mounted camera with a twelve-hour battery life that officers can use to record interactions. The device is constantly on, but it only captures video of the thirty seconds before its wearer begins using it, and then both video and audio while police are speaking to a citizen. Footage is then uploaded to a cloud-based service where it can be accessed by the police department. It includes an audit trail to reveal who has accessed the information and when."

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309 comments

The ONLY Way this should work is... (5, Insightful)

SirGeek (120712) | about a year ago | (#43906999)

if 100% of the footage is uploaded/published on a regular basis.

Remove the ability of a department to "lose" the info. Perhaps even send the raw footage to the AFL-CIO

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43907125)

if 100% of the footage is uploaded/published on a regular basis.

Remove the ability of a department to "lose" the info. Perhaps even send the raw footage to the AFL-CIO

Also, change

Footage is then uploaded to a cloud-based service where it can be accessed by the police department

to

Footage is then uploaded to a cloud-based service where it can be accessed by the public

It seems apparent that Internal Affairs, AKA the "Office of Paid Vacations," is a fucking joke in most municipalities.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43907221)

Let's think about this for a second, lets say you were falsely arrested for rape, it happens EVERY day thanks to a certain breed of woman, would you really want that footage to immediately be uploaded for the public's viewing? Probably not.

The police department isn't the right department to regulate the police department either, they've had enough chances. We'd need yet another government regulatory agency for this to work. It'd also make being a cop even tougher, so its a shame a few bad apples have to spoil the bunch, but we don't live in medieval times anymore either where it's acceptable to get away with vagrant abuses of power.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (5, Funny)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about a year ago | (#43907293)

I hate it when vagrants abuse their power. They do it in such a flagrant way.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907751)

I hate it when vagrants abuse their power. They do it in such a flagrant way.

my sides!!!

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43907467)

Let's think about this for a second, lets say you were falsely arrested for rape, it happens EVERY day thanks to a certain breed of woman, would you really want that footage to immediately be uploaded for the public's viewing?

The tape would probably consist of me laughing about the accusation, then politely asking the officer what the result from the rape kit were.

Oh, you say no rape kit was administered? So, then, what am I being arrested for?

Yea, don't see where that would be an issue for me (since I'm not a rapist and all).

The police department isn't the right department to regulate the police department either, they've had enough chances. We'd need yet another government regulatory agency for this to work.

... and what would you call the regulatory body? The "We May Have Fucked This Up Before, But Trust Us When We Say We Won't Fuck It Up This Time" Department? Helluva acronym...

It'd also make being a cop even tougher, so its a shame a few bad apples have to spoil the bunch

Yea, always hear that - only a few cops are dirty, and give the rest a bad name. To that, I say - Bull-fucking-shit; if a 'good' cop sees a bad cop doing bad things and breaking the law, and doesn't immediately arrest the other officer, then the 'good' cop is just as fucked, just as wrong as the cop breaking the law. Period, end of story. It's like if you stopped at a gas station with a friend, who proceeded to get out of your car, walk in the station, steal the money from the till, and get back in your car. According to the law, YOU are just as guilty as your 'friend' for aiding and abetting his crime; why should cops, who are supposed to uphold the law, be treated any differently?

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (-1, Troll)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43907579)

Why don't you let your balls drop before making any more arguments boy? :)

You have no understanding of any law it seems, or the fact that in a rape case you're guilty until proven innocent based on the female's statement. Regulatory agencies sometimes work, ever heard of the FDA or FCC, you can thank them for your meat (largely) not having salmonella, or not blowing our your ear drums when your TV switches to commercial.

Of course you're probably just going to reply with some dumbass remark that makes no fuckin sense, so... have at it!

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43907675)

Let's think about this for a second, lets say you were falsely arrested for rape, it happens EVERY day thanks to a certain breed of woman, would you really want that footage to immediately be uploaded for the public's viewing?

The tape would probably consist of me laughing about the accusation, then politely asking the officer what the result from the rape kit were.

Oh, you say no rape kit was administered? So, then, what am I being arrested for?

Yea, don't see where that would be an issue for me (since I'm not a rapist and all).

And this is about the point when the system "malfunctions" and you resist arrest and have to be subdued with a couple of love taps upside your head with a nightstick. Oh snap! While the officer was cuffing your half conscious ass he found a nontrivial amount of cocaine and an unregistered firearm on your person. Amazingly the video and audio pick up again while he's politely requesting you to "please watch your head sir" while putting into the back of his cruiser.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907693)

Here's the thing - the courts are concerned with the contents of the evidence, the public isn't so restrained.

That laughing bit you put up there? Unless you can guarantee that's not going to be perceived as a smug I-think-I-got-away-with-it reaction, then be prepared for character assassination. Ever here of "convicted in the court of public opinion"?

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43907835)

We need a serious Ombudsman organization here in the US. People who represent the people against the abuse of authority and have to power to take on the police and force them to respect the law and the rights of the people.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907491)

Exactly, when the question is asked "who will watch the watchers?" the answer isn't expected to be "well, the watchers themselves, of course." It's self defeating (or self promoting would be more accurate).

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907563)

Why NOT up the ante? Police blotters SHOULD be Public Information. Why should be video be any different?
If someone makes a false accusation, they always were making it publically by telling a cop. In this case, the accusation would be not only public knowledge, but the stakes would be so much higher. If you lie to a cop, you are making not only a false official statement, but you are making a documented false statement. If that is proven to be false, then the party that is lied upon can hang you out to dry.

The exceptions to government transparency laws MUST be very few and only in very specific instances.
What government reveals should never be driven by what people want or don't want exposed, public policy should ALWAYS be driven by the fact that government MUST be (enforceably so) transparent.

i.e. If private info shouldn't be revealed, then public policy should be crafted so that the Government doesn't get it.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43907857)

I think we should up the ante. Any officer found guilty of infringing the rights of the people he is sworn to protect should be executed for treason.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43907917)

What government reveals should never be driven by what people want or don't want exposed,

In some parts of the world the government serves the people, not the other way around. At least, it is supposed to. To claim that what the people want is irrelevant is, well, pushing us further towards the upside down model that people here seem to dislike.

Since the police are often involved with people in ways that would be violations of privacy should a normal person do it (such as execution of a search warrant), then there are clear and compelling reasons why "all video of everything they do" should NOT be the rule regarding what is made public.

Even just allowing an officer into your house to discuss an issue would result in a video of the interior of your house available online for everyone to view. Now, I suppose you could take a hard line and say "if you don't want your privacy violated like that, don't allow officers into your house", but people who need a burglary investigated might call you callous and, frankly, a moron. The idea that private discussions with a cop need to be held in police headquarters if you don't want your personal space videod and online is also rather moronic.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907617)

but we don't live in medieval times anymore either where it's acceptable to get away with [fl]agrant abuses of power.

Indeed. We live in modern times where it's acceptable to hide evidence regarding whether or not you're abusing power.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43907631)

Let's think about this for a second, lets say you were falsely arrested for rape, it happens EVERY day thanks to a certain breed of woman, would you really want that footage to immediately be uploaded for the public's viewing? Probably not.

Is the video of the arrest any worse than the public record of your arrest permanently attached to your name?

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year ago | (#43907661)

OTOH, your own helmet cam should prove you completely innocent when the case goes to trial.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43907891)

Let's think about this for a second, lets say you were falsely arrested for rape, it happens EVERY day thanks to a certain breed of woman, would you really want that footage to immediately be uploaded for the public's viewing? Probably not.

I'll take my chances getting tried in the court of public opinion, if it means the cop that kicks my ass gets tried in an actual court and sent to prison.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43907127)

Perhaps even send the raw footage to the AFL-CIO

Nitpick, but I assume you mean the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [aclu.org] , not the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) [aflcio.org] ...

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

SirGeek (120712) | about a year ago | (#43907147)

You are correct. My bad. I thought that it was not the right acronym. But I flaked !

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43907161)

Clearly the right way to counter one group of thugs is with another group of thugs.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (4, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43907209)

Always. The only assured counter to violence is violence.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43907445)

Yeah... all those wars have left such great peace and happiness behind.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907623)

Appeasement isn't a very sound foreign policy either, Prime Minister Chamberlain...

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#43907849)

Appeasement isn't a very sound foreign policy either, Prime Minister Chamberlain...

I know that quote! John F. Kennedy, October 28, 1962, right?

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907663)

... So I take it you think surrendering to an oppressive aggressor is preferable? Blame them for the wars, not those who would defend themselves.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Holi (250190) | about a year ago | (#43907793)

As an American I have to ask, When was the last time we were defending ourselves?

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43907925)

WW2, Cuban Missile Crisis, Iraq wars (the US economy would have been ruined if oil was cut off), Afghanistan (decreasing terrorist attacks on US soil). Defending does not always mean preventing enemies from taking your land.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43907899)

I guess you missed Mahatma Gandhi [wikipedia.org] who freed an entire country without violence. Countering violence with violence fails many times as well. Just look at the War on Terror. That does not seem to be working to well.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43907201)

Agreed. As I recall there are recurring problems with dashboard cameras 'loosing' recording as it is.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907413)

Agreed. As I recall there are recurring problems with dashboard cameras 'loosing' recording as it is.

Just tighten down the bolts. Not a big problem.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907503)

Agreed. As I recall there are recurring problems with dashboard cameras 'loosing' recording as it is.

OK, usually I just let this go, but dammit, getting sick of it...

"loose" == opposite of "tight"

"lose" == opposite of "win"

English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year ago | (#43907605)

...and the recurring problems with officers purposely positioning their cars so the dashboard cameras can't see what's going on.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#43907375)

exactly. this "limited duration" thing is Taser intentionally designing this to be abused. Anyone who believes otherwise is foolish.

Taser is the same company that produces lethal (not "safe") tasers that kill people, as well. They have no interest but $$, and safety is not a part of that.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43907505)

but it only kicks on 30 secs from when he uses it.

this is not two way surveillance. this is "evidence from things I want evidence about" for the copper.

Re:The ONLY Way this should work is... (1)

Trick414 (1207098) | about a year ago | (#43907851)

The device is always recording. When the officer activates it, it starts recording audio and video immediately. It also grabs the 30 seconds of video prior to activation.

Non-lethal stun guns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907001)

There are new non-lethal stun guns gaining popularity around the world? That's great news. The current less-lethal kind kill far too many people.

This is a Taser Ad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907005)

Tasers are less lethal torture devices mainly used to force compliance.

Re:This is a Taser Ad. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43907281)

Tasers are less lethal torture devices mainly used to force compliance.

Your disinformation disguists me and all responsible citizens, AC. The manual [taser.com] clearly states, right on page 19:

"RECOMMENDED DRIVE-STUN AREAS FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT
Drive the X26C into the following areas for maximum effectiveness.
Carotid (sides of neck) (see warning below).
Brachial plexus tie-in (upper chest).
Radial (forearm).
Pelvic triangle (see warning below).
Common peronial (Outside of thigh).
Tibial (calf muscle).
WARNING: Use care when applying a drive-stun to the neck or pelvic triangle. These areas
are sensitive to mechanical injury (such as crushing to the trachea or testicles if applied
forcefully). However, these areas have proven highly effective targets. "

How responsible as that? A safety warning because they care just that much. Can you say that you care that much about Safety? I thought not.

Re:This is a Taser Ad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907303)

Exploding testicals or crushed trachea sound like a small price to pay for saying "dont taze me bro"

Re:This is a Taser Ad. (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43907687)

Exactly, what most people seem to forget is that the taser is supposed to only be used when a gun would have been a good choice as well. It should not be used on 90 year old ladies, who have no way of running away or defending themselves. It should not be used on kids. It shouldn't be used on people who are handcuffed. It is a deadly weapon, and must be given proper precautions, similar to a firearm. Sure tasers don't kill all the time, but neither does a gun.

Re:This is a Taser Ad. (0)

arielCo (995647) | about a year ago | (#43907315)

So police should limit themselves to argumentation and diplomacy, resorting to harsh language and guilt as a last measure ? Or not force compliance at all?

I don't know what happened sir.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907013)

Right before I beat the fuck out of him he knocked my camera off and it broke. Tough luck there.

Just say'in (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907015)

The device is constantly on, but it only captures video of the thirty seconds before its wearer begins using it, and then both video and audio while police are speaking to a citizen.

But not when beating the citizen? Or violating his rights?

Re:Just say'in (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907055)

Yeah, that's exactly what that means. When they say "constantly on" they mean "knows when to turn itself off if ya know what I mean."

Crime isn't what concerns me (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#43907025)

The imbalance of power does. Giving the cops a headcam should be enough reason not to have to confiscate everyone's phone now.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43907297)

On the one hand, that's a good point. If the stated policy is to be recorded at all times when on duty, then it should be perfectly acceptable for a citizen to record the same event from a different angle, right?

Unfortunately, people aren't recording for the sake of having a complete and accurate record of events. They're recording something spectacular to put on YouTube or Facebook later, and it's a safe bet that the editing will depict the police negatively, regardless of any other circumstances. Then the video goes viral, and official statement from the department is conveniently omitted from the copying frenzy, and the whole police force is disgraced by little more than a rumor.

Now that every teenager is an amateur journalist, they forget too quickly the notion of journalistic integrity, in the pursuit of likes and views. So what if this video title is wrong, or if a little CG hides the moment that knife was visible... If it makes the poster famous, that's what's important, right?

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43907325)

Bad form to self-reply, but I should note for the sake of the overzealous mods that I'm not advocating confiscating phones... I just can't advocate irresponsible recording, either.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (4, Informative)

Hizonner (38491) | about a year ago | (#43907539)

The proposed devices record constantly, but they throw away the video after 30 seconds unless the officer triggers them to keep it. That's not "recording at all times"; it's "recording when the officer chooses to record".

The police have the same incentives as the public for selective recording. They also "aren't recording for the sake of having a complete and accurate record of events". They're recording to have something to justify their actions and preserve their jobs. They're not going to record if their actions aren't in fact justified, at least not except by mistake.

If they're recording selectively, then there'd better be others recording to take up the slack. If both "sides" have the ability to record, then you have a chance that at least one recording will get out when there's a matter of public interest. One might hope that both recordings would get out.

The alternative would be continuous recording even when neither side thinks it's a good idea. I'm not sure I want to live in that world.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43907875)

The alternative would be continuous recording even when neither side thinks it's a good idea. I'm not sure I want to live in that world.

Effectively, you already do. With drones in the sky and cheap tiny cameras available at convenience stores, everybody can record anything, anywhere, any time. Sure, there are eavesdropping laws that supposedly protect you, but actually using them to your benefit is unlikely at best.

With the ever-increasing likelihood that somebody will see everything you do, the only hope, in my opinion, is to promote responsible use of such recordings. For governments, this means short retention, automatic (and independently-audited) archival systems, and public availability of the raw footage. For individuals, this means we abandon our obsession with disgracing authority, and applaud honesty more than sensationalism.

I can dream.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43907573)

You don't need creative editing to make cops look bad; they're pretty adept at it themselves.

Hell, the TV show COPS is designed to portray police in a positive light, and they even fail to do that regularly; at least, to those of us who realize 90% of the shit they say to suspects are blatant lies that violate the suspects civil liberties.

I admit that, statistically, there's a non-zero chance that someone, sometime, will edit a video to unfairly portray police in a negative light; however, considering how often cops will make that claim in order to discredit credible, non-edited video, society has developed a bit of a 'boy-who-cried-wolf' mentality when it comes to police claims of unfair editing, and rightly so.

An issue that the headcams may help to mitigate, assuming they are operated properly and justly.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (2)

berashith (222128) | about a year ago | (#43907607)

You are missing out on the case of many people recording. One person can edit things, or miss things, or even CG something... if anything is wrong about this that the police would like to make public, the other 15 cameras that may be there could clear things up. If the only version being allowed is owned and edited by the police, then we have the exact same situation, with a far more nefarious motive.

Journalistic integrity is a modern concept. The original journals and papers were slanted hacks trying to support a viewpoint. FOX and MSNBC are a return to the original styles of professionals, and the public using facebook/youtube/reddit is just the same as in the days of the founders, but with technology that makes dessimination simpler.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907855)

Absolutely false assumption. While I'm sure your generalization fits _some_, it does not fit _all_ people recording events.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43907903)

Then the video goes viral, and official statement from the department is conveniently omitted from the copying frenzy

That's because the official statement is nothing but stonewalling and whitewashing.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (1)

eth1 (94901) | about a year ago | (#43907507)

The imbalance of power does. Giving the cops a headcam should be enough reason not to have to confiscate everyone's phone now.

Actually, what I'd like to see is a service that you can dial that simply picks up and starts recording, and makes the recording accessible to you online (identified by caller ID, so you don't have to do anything but dial out initially).

Then it won't matter if they confiscate the phone (and could be very interesting if they don't shut it off right away...).

Disclaimer: I live in a one-party state.

Re:Crime isn't what concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907775)

Crime doesn't concern you because you live in a bubble with a nice police force. Probably the biggest problem you have with police is that they drive around behind you trying to give you a ticket.

Your life is so nice.

Ubiquitous surveillance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907035)

Ubiquitous surveillance of everyone by everyone is inevitable. Dashcams and google glass are merely the first. Cams will become smaller, batteries will become smaller, internet will become faster, and everyone will automatically store what they see in their cloud of preference.

Finally witness statements, which are proven to be unreliable, can be backed up by actual evidence.

Hurrah for progress.

Re:Ubiquitous surveillance (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about a year ago | (#43907093)

Try waving your hands a little harder. I want my jetpack, damnit.

Re:Ubiquitous surveillance (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#43907153)

> Finally witness statements, which are proven to be unreliable, can be backed up by actual evidence.

"Backed up" makes the rather unwarranted assumption that they are right in the first place, which doesn't seem to be the case at all. In fact, I was just listening to the rather harrowing story of a woman who was raped, which is bad enough, but then who identified the wrong man, and he went to jail for more than a decade before it was found that someone else was her actual attacker.

Time and again we have seen that eye-witness testimony is absolutely terrible; forget backing it up, avoid it entirely whenever possible.

Pix or it didn't happen!

Re:Ubiquitous surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907261)

Just wait until they make <something you do every day%gt; illegal, look back through previous footage, find you, and punish accordingly.

Re:Ubiquitous surveillance (1)

Holi (250190) | about a year ago | (#43907843)

Ex-Post-Facto laws are illegal sorry. But if it was legal yesterday when I did it, you can't arrest me today now that it's not.

Re:Ubiquitous surveillance (1)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43907453)

Ubiquitous surveillance of everyone by everyone is inevitable.

No, it isn't, and that's not even remotely a good idea.

Re:Ubiquitous surveillance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907815)

Ubiquitous surveillance of everyone by everyone is inevitable.

Did you read Robert Sawyer's "Hominids" Trilogy? Parallel universe with Neanderthals becoming sentient rather than Homo sapiens sapiens.

The entire population had a device implant that recorded their every action and stored it in a publicly accessible location. Basically resulted in no crime. Sound idea, IMHO.

Of course, they also sterilized offenders of violent crime, as well as any blood relations that shared a certain percentage of DNA in common. Omlete, eggs, etc.

Will malfunction when the officer is in the wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907063)

I've never heard of an officer turning in video to incriminate himself. Any footage that makes them look bad will mysteriously disappear.

Re:Will malfunction when the officer is in the wro (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43907275)

"What? No, I don't know anything about any large magnets scrambling the signal from my headcam... musta been some of those darn kids with their ghetto-blasters..."

How's the contrast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907117)

When I'm shining my 1000 lumen tactical flashlight at it?

Make it record to you-tube - no delete possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907123)

citizen units as well - so police cannot confiscate, cannot delete, always on, always there.

I mean if the Police have nothing to hide, they won't mind, right? Right???

Re:Make it record to you-tube - no delete possible (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#43907193)

Asl the government, that is sentencing to death the last one that showed that they had something to hide.

One step further (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43907139)

Take this system one step further and then it might actually be useful for helping protect citizens: have the system identify the person the officer is talking to (facial recognition, NFC beacon from my phone, whatever) and when the video is uploaded to the cloud, make it automatically uploaded to the private cloud storage owned by everyone in the video.

Otherwise, the video is likely to "accidentally" disappear when it shows wrongdoing by the police.

Re:One step further (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#43907565)

The police department shouldn't be given the ability to delete videos from the "police surveillance cloud." Or, better yet, give them a big delete button and let it remove the video from their listing, but add into the audit trail who it was who tried to delete the video. If they are using it to prune their cloud file listing to only show active cases, fine. If they're using it in a failed attempt to destroy the video, then they've just been nailed.

It was predicted 20 years ago (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year ago | (#43907141)

Strangely, the scenarios presented were placed 20 years in the future. Posted in 1993, then-revolutionary Wired Magazine got it exactly, dead on. [wired.com] It's almost strange how they were so dead-on as far as the time scale.

Notice all the dash cam footage coming out of the Soviet Union...

Re:It was predicted 20 years ago (1)

richlv (778496) | about a year ago | (#43907309)

Notice all the dash cam footage coming out of the Soviet Union...

your time machine must have things messed up really badly. that combo sounds highly unlikely...

Re:It was predicted 20 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907915)

Strangely, the scenarios presented were placed 20 years in the future. Posted in 1993, then-revolutionary Wired Magazine got it exactly, dead on. [wired.com] It's almost strange how they were so dead-on as far as the time scale.

Notice all the dash cam footage coming out of the Soviet Union...

I've been "dash-caming" for over a decade. What does the recent Russian fixation of the last two years have anything to do with predictions? Clue: When cameras are small enough, many more people will use them.

Needs to work both ways (1)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | about a year ago | (#43907177)

I would be less troubled by this if the public had access as well. The police are supposed to be there to serve us, not vice versa. I'm aware that there are privacy concerns (they bust into the wrong house, see naked girl, realize they're in the wrong house, but now naked girl is all over Internet). This needs to be addressed. But the public, and defendants in criminal cases, are both severely disadvantaged if the police and prosecution have access to information that the former do not. And yes, I'm aware of the discovery process and the rules of evidence in federal and most other U.S. jurisdictions, but nothing there prevents the cops or prosecution from "accidentally" losing or even altering evidence to suit their agenda. So my stance is that recording is OK if it is, in some way available, if not to the public, than at least to the press and to defendants in criminal cases.

Re:Needs to work both ways (2)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about a year ago | (#43907243)

but nothing there prevents the cops or prosecution from "accidentally" losing or even altering evidence to suit their agenda

Not only *Can* this happen but there's quite a track record of it happening.

There's no transparency if surveillance goes only one way. That's total control.

Re:Needs to work both ways (1)

dpdjvan (2551774) | about a year ago | (#43907305)

What about if the video was lost due to whatever reason, the evidence provide by the officer is thrown out and it is assumed to be a false arrest? Also the officer has to prove through other means that it wasn't a false arrest. This might mitigate the lost video issue.

Re:Needs to work both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907321)

So when a woman calls the police to report a rape, and has to recount the experience? You want that video interview to be automatically publicly available? No thanks, I'm ok with the police keeping some things confidential. Even so called "Public" video should not automatically have the eyes of the world pointed on it. Some people do stupid things and it's bad enough that they may get arrested for it. Now they can have the opportunity to be globally humiliated as well? How long before there is a Youtube channel for "Hilarious drunk chicks getting arrested"

Listen guys, if you distrust your police so much, have you considered pursuing a political option? Get the RIGHT people in at the top and the people along the bottom will have no choice but to fall in line. Elect someone who will make it a priority to sort out corruption in your local police district. That's a much better option than demanding that each and every cop is personally accountable to the world anyway.

Re:Needs to work both ways (1)

Joey Vegetables (686525) | about a year ago | (#43907379)

Agreed that there needs to be a way to redact video (or audio) that might infringe the privacy of innocents well before it becomes public. I believe I said that already.

As for "getting the right people in charge" of a system, that might work if it is only the people in charge who are corrupt, and not the system itself. But, as has been well-known to political thinkers since antiquity, the very nature of power itself is corrupting. We can't change human nature, so the best we currently know how to do is to ensure that there are checks and balances to try to encourage decent and honorable behavior and to deter corruption to the extent possible. Even that doesn't work perfectly, but I don't believe anyone has figured out a way to do better.

Re:Needs to work both ways (1)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43907513)

Agreed that there needs to be a way to redact video (or audio) that might infringe the privacy of innocents well before it becomes public.

And we can't just assume that police are automatically correct anymore. When a cop pulls someone over for speeding, they should have to appear in front of a judge and then prove that the person they pulled over was indeed speed, and if they can do that, only then should the person be issued a ticket. Likewise for everything else.

Re:Needs to work both ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907647)

The county next to mine makes a mint off of OWI prosecutions. They are notorious for it. The police do everything they can to keep those numbers as high as possible (sit in this 90degree room with your winter coat on for 30 minutes before we give you a "certified" breath analysis). Dash cam footage is routinely lost when it would provide a reason to question the LEO who made the arrest. The judge who presides over these cases lost a niece to an OWI accident. The other judge who plays backup actually had an OWI dismissed out of state and they both routinely abuse their power to make things as hard as possible for defendants. I actually had an attorney tell me once, "I won't work in that county. I fight for justice and it doesn't exist there." The attorney I did hire looked at me and told me "you get all the justice you can afford. I can win this case for $25k." $25k to defend a class D misdemeanor or take the "deal" offered by the prosecutor. I took the deal rather than go into debt. Nothing about my experience with the justice system resembled anything approaching justice.

And that's just OWI. This is a county where you can still get pulled over for DWNW (driving while not white) though they'll always have another excuse.

So where do you find a politician, even at the county or city level, who will run on a platform of "Let's clean up the PD/Sheriff! They're making too many OWI arrests!" It's a racket and there's no way anyone speaks against it for fear of appearing "soft on crime". The police are out of control. The courts are in bed with them. And the politicians are afraid to do anything about it.

Re:Needs to work both ways (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#43907615)

There should be a standard procedure for requesting access to the videos:

1) If you are a police office, you get access to all the videos (audited access, of course)

2) If you are a member of the public, you must apply (actual application, not some wimpy online form with "enter your e-mail address/choose a username"), pay a modest annual fee, be verified, and then you get access to the videos (audited just as much as the police).

This way you don't get people crawling PoliceCamVideos.com and reposting that video of the cops who chased a perp into the ladies' gym locker room.

Public Video needs to be publicly-accessible. (3, Insightful)

eriks (31863) | about a year ago | (#43907197)

I've said this for years. I have no problem with all the public-facing cameras, so long as the output from all those cameras is available to the public, preferably directly, in realtime. The cameras then become a public asset. Law enforcement can use them, but so can the rest of us. There's already no expectation of privacy in public places, so I don't see any issues with universal access to the data.

I'd guess it might be necessary to restrict access to police dashcams and "uniform-cams" for a time, but eventually it should all be made public, with review processes in place to make sure that none of it gets "accidentally" deleted.

Re:Public Video needs to be publicly-accessible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907873)

" I don't see any issues with universal access to the data."

Misguided vigilatism. Just look to the reddit spurred witchunt that happened after the boston bombings. Ruined some poor kid's life becuase they marked him as the bomber based on publicly available video/pics.

Taser International is the wrong group to do this (5, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#43907213)

Any group surveiling the cops shouldn't be selling those cops stuff. "Hey, the XYZ PD just ordered another $500k of merch from us, I think we can 'lose' that embarrassing video."

Taser International is a bunch of evil fuckwads who've made their bankrolls selling lethal electrical torture devices to police. Their irresponsible marketing has lead to an increase in the use of excessive force by cops. My trust in them is zero.

Whats "we"? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#43907219)

If only the watchers are the only that watches themselves (or that countrol what and who does it) then is a bad answer for that question. When everyone can see what the "watchers" (police, politicians, etc) do, in real time, with no editing, clipping, etc, then things will get a bit fair. But that won't happen soon.

I can see (1)

dammy (131759) | about a year ago | (#43907239)

I can see the police unions having a cow over this one. Imagine if you had to wear one of these at your work place knowing that your boss can activate it at any time (I know, the digital radios can be turned on via dispatcher at any time to listen in). I'm sure management (command staff) abusing this to bust someone's chops they don't like. There is something called "officer's discretion" that giving management real time viewing is not going to work for the public's benefit. Yes, might be an excellent tool for the butthead cop to be modified in his actions, it's the Officer Joe BagOfDonuts who cuts breaks is going to have life changed in a big way. It's about activity and revenue generation which management is beating on the line officer to increase so management looks better in very lean budget times.

Another issue is if these head cams are streaming, how much of it is being put into a facial and location db? Do you really want to pull into that 7-11 with officers inside getting coffee with computers running your face through SCIC/NCIC as their headcam steam video your face and maybe voice?

So Many Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907283)

Dear Slashdot:

Why do you ask so many questions. Everyday there is article after article of questions.

It use to be that Slashdot had news and it had information and it had answers. Sure, there was the Ask Slashdot post once a week or so, but the rest was information. Now every other article is a banal question.

How did Slashdot get so stupid? Why does Slashdot ask ore questions than a three year old. Please, make it stop!

Love,

AC

Re: So Many Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907333)

over the last couple of years, slashdot has become quite lame. this 'story' is proof of such lameness.

Website for these videos + audio be mandatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907307)

This should be available for online viewing for the general public. They are civil servants, after all. What gives the government the right to conceal these recordings from the public? Could we not do it were it an interaction in public? What about a private home? These videos should be uploaded and accessible to the general population. Let it be available to obtain without a warrant, especially if something happens to someone poor in the country. They will have a snowball's chance in hell getting these videos if the police have access to them.

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907319)

old news. OLD.

Unlikely (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year ago | (#43907337)

As surveillance technologies have matured in both their sophistication and usage, some are starting to ask the question: is it time we start using them to watch the watchers? The proliferation of dashboard cameras has reduced liability costs, provided valuable evidence, and made police officers safer. The next progression would naturally be for the camera to move out of the car and onto the officer's uniform itself.

Unlikely.. Police unions are pushing to take cameras out of vehicles because they are frequently used against cops.

Cap, I don't know what happened (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#43907357)

"It must of got broken and suffered an EMP blast right before I had to shoot that [non-white] guy."

Once we have this, we need rules... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907391)

That say if the recording is not made/found, then the court, the prosecutor, the judge must all be directed to assume that the police intentionally erased the recording to hide illegal actions.

Police Privacy (1)

SrLnclt (870345) | about a year ago | (#43907425)

I'm all for 2 way accountability, but there may actually be times when they should be turned off. Do we really want to see/listen to some cop using the restroom? Chomping on food during his lunch break?

And what about the times when you may not want conversations with coworkers to be posted publicly? Telling a coworker an off-color joke? Telling a coworker what he did with that lady he met at the bar the other night? Telling the boss he will be out on Friday to help a family member with a medical issue?

And how long before this footage is directly used to make hiring/promotion/firing decisions? Didn't pick up on a clue quick enough on that high profile case? No raise for you.

This issue is who determines when it is on or off, and how to avoid this power being used inappropriately.

"You'll Need to Speak with my Lawyer" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43907435)

These cameras will be recording a lot of people saying, "You'll need to speak with my lawyer." Seriously, you think I'm going to say *anything* to a police officer about *anything* if it is all being recorded?

Running a dash cam in America.. (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#43907567)

The most it catches are cops running red lights. Sure, it saved my butt in an insurance claim, but by occurrence it catches cops being bad.

I want to start a blog: copsbehavingbadly which will highlight bad police action caught on camera.

Taser International (1)

mevets (322601) | about a year ago | (#43907591)

This is not a trustworthy company. They have combined the strategies of litigation trolls, lobbies, NRA and pharmaceuticals to ensure the success of their mobile cattle prod technology.

I doubt very much that their proposed device would benefit anybody but the least deserving. It is not their nature.

Well, it's a good start if.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43907757)

there is an independent body of people who are managing the uploaded videos. For example, each state in the US could have a department where it manages all the feeds for all levels of law enforcement. Then at least, there is a fair chance that the captured footage would be useful in the case of abuse of power.

The doods up north in Canada... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43907861)

So I was reading this other political article on slashdot the other day. And these doods were argueing about this very same thing and a bunch of people cited some Canadian study or paper or news report that said... 60% less fatalities from cameras on duty for officers. Meaning the job is a lot safer.

Even if it does not make everyone safer. I think 60% safer for law enforcement is something to consider. That is a lot of incentive to keep doing your job well vs being mad at everyone for screwing you over.

What about politicians? (1)

trout007 (975317) | about a year ago | (#43907909)

I always thought it would be interesting to run for office on the platform that during my term I will have a camera on me at all times broadcasted live. Unfortunately I belong to the one class of citizens prohibited from running for political office.

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