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Police Officers Seek Right Not To Be Recorded 1123

Posted by kdawson
from the ain't-nobody's-bidness-if-we-do dept.
linzeal writes "When the police act as though cameras were the equivalent of guns pointed at them, there is a sense in which they are correct. Cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop. Judges, juries, and legislatures support the police overwhelmingly on this issue, with only a few cases where those accused of 'shooting' the cops being vindicated through the courts."
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Police Officers Seek Right Not To Be Recorded

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  • by VShael (62735) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:29PM (#32446198) Journal

    and the general apathetic public sleeps soundly.

    • by Itninja (937614) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:34PM (#32446304) Homepage
      Panem et circenses is far more effective than anything else at keep a population quiet and complacent. Now take away their American Idol and fast food....then would see an uprising.
      • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:38PM (#32446412)

        Now take away their American Idol

        Can that really be done??? Please?? Can you do it??

    • by GarryFre (886347) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:37PM (#32446396) Homepage
      While I understand the idea of being made nervous when a camera is pointed at me, I think its hypocritical sp? of them to have cameras on the public but object if the reverse happens. I've seen a few obvious gross abuses of authority on the part of police. Its not all that common but it happens and to outlaw John Q. Victim's only defense against criminals in authority is a crime in itself. If they don't want to be recorded, they may be hiding something.
      • by frenchbedroom (936100) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:42PM (#32446496)

        If they don't want to be recorded, they may be hiding something.

        Now now, be careful with that sword, it's double-edged.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:06PM (#32446966)

          No sir.. Those in positions of authority deserve no such protections... The Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads, where it belongs.

        • If you're out in public where anyone can point a camera at you, it's the truth. There's a difference between what you do behind closed curtains being private and what you do on a public street being private. If a cop loses his shit and decides to beat your ass down for talking back to him in the middle of a public place, why should he think he should be immune from being recorded?

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#32447460) Journal

          I don't think the situation is symmetrical. The whole point of our post-Enlightenment traditions in the West has been the understanding that Authority, if left unchecked, will naturally tend towards abuse. The Police, in all their forms throughout the ages, have always been the most visible aspect of abusive Authority. The ability of the citizen to make his fellow citizens aware of abuses by Authority is key to the preservation of liberal democratic values. If you give the Authorities any sort of free pass on this, you simply invite them to do their worst. If you catch them doing their worst (ie. we just had the fortieth anniversary of the Kent State Shootings), then there is some capacity to assure some degree of justice, and more importantly for the Authorities to moderate their own behaviors.

          I'm not saying all cops beat perps, in fact I'm fairly certain that most cops are decent men and women who become police officers out of a sense of duty and a desire to protect society. But even the best cops can fall victim to the us-vs-them that inevitably occurs in such an organization. Once you have that, then they start to view a much broader swathe of society than just bad guys as being the "them".

          Of course the police don't want to be recorded. In some respects it can interfere, because they may spend as much time worrying about whether swinging that baton may be seen as they do about public safety and even their own safety. But what's the alternative? If we first agree that society has a vested interest in assuring the good and proper conduct of the police, then it strikes me that bans on recording them are utterly incompatible with that notion. Liberty requires constant vigilance and what they're asking is that a tool of the vigilant be removed.

      • by sorak (246725) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:16PM (#32447154)

        But they also have the double-standard backward. We, the public are entitled to privacy, while the government should be transparent. It is a double standard, by design, and they have it completely backward.

      • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#32447462) Journal

        Isn't the response of the law-and-order types to privacy complaints "If you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about"? So if the police have nothing to hide they have nothing to complain about. In fact they could be helped in case someone makes a false claim against them.

        The only real motivation they have is that they want to hide their actions. They are public employees and the public has a right to watch them.

    • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:41PM (#32446468)
      The end of the article mentions districts writing into law that recording on duty policemen is specifically legal as backlash against the courts interpretation of the existing laws. Fixing the laws is our check against the courts faulty interpretation and the police's enforcement. So we can whine on slashdot about the public being apathetic while some people are clearly trying to fix the problem or we can try to get similar laws passed in our states and districts.
    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:44PM (#32446518) Journal

      No kidding.

      FTFA

      In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

      [...]

      Drew is being prosecuted for illegal recording, a Class I felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.

      [...]

      Hyde used his recording to file a harassment complaint against the police. After doing so, he was criminally charged.

      And their defense is

      The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law - requiring all parties to consent to being taped.

      Does that mean you can break in and rob a store - and if there is security footage, whoever owns the camera is going to jail for 4 years?

      Can I write a legal disclaimer that simply by looking at my face you agree to allow me to record footage of you, and post this disclaimer on my T-shirt?

    • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:28PM (#32447414)

      I have been reading recently about what seems to me to be a disturbing trend by police agencies, prosecutors and legislatures to criminalize the ability of a citizen to record a police interaction. This is but one example: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/12/police_fight_cellphone_recordings/ [boston.com]

      While I strongly support the Sherriff and the other police agencies in Arizona, corrupt officers are not unheard of, and I strongly reject the notion that a citizen recording any interaction with any official of the state should be criminal.

      What is your position on this issue and what can we do to prevent such onerous laws, such as they have in Massachusetts for example, from becoming law here?

  • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:30PM (#32446232)

    When teachers didn't want to be tested as they claimed that testing was a poor indicator of someone ability. Go Figure.

    • by aussersterne (212916) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:37PM (#32446382) Homepage

      held accountable for "violating" the same laws when they record citizens behavior without their consent for use as evidence. But somehow when it's a cop being taped, it's an illegal "unconsented" recording and people are going to jail.

      This will be fair when those doing surveillance recording for law enforcement can also be sent to prison for recording in public places without individual consent. Until then, it's one more example of the way in which cops are increasingly generally subpar people, recruited from the less educated and less successful demographics of society, eager to hold a gun, and drawn to the profession precisely because they feel powerless in other areas of their life as a result of their general lack of merit, and thus need to abuse citizens in order to compensate for this lack.

      • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:03PM (#32446914)

        Until then, it's one more example of the way in which cops are increasingly generally subpar people, recruited from the less educated and less successful demographics of society, eager to hold a gun, and drawn to the profession precisely because they feel powerless in other areas of their life as a result of their general lack of merit, and thus need to abuse citizens in order to compensate for this lack.

        Perhaps this is true, but I doubt it. For my personal anecdote, the (admittedly few) police officers I've known personally have been intelligent and friendly people with no obvious mental or emotional issues.

        The real problem can be summed up most effectively with three words: Stanford Prison Experiment [wikipedia.org]. Put people in a position of physical and legal authority over others and they will abuse it. It doesn't matter who they are or where the authority is derived from, it appears to be built into basic human nature. See also the Rosenhal Experiment [wikipedia.org] for a possible explanation as to why people in that kind of authority act that way, they see what they expect to see in their prisoners/patients/criminals.

  • Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:30PM (#32446240)
    Record anyways. Even if it gets to the point where video evidence a flagrant abuse of power becomes inadmissible, it's potential value in stirring public outcry far outstrips any consequences associated with the establishment seeking to restrict the publics use of video recording and their public servants.
    • Goose & Gander (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Das Auge (597142) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:49PM (#32446648)
      If it's okay for them to videotape me in public, then it's okay for me to videotape them.
    • Re:Let Them (Score:4, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:54PM (#32446762)

      Record anyways. Even if it gets to the point where video evidence a flagrant abuse of power becomes inadmissible, it's potential value in stirring public outcry far outstrips any consequences associated with the establishment seeking to restrict the publics use of video recording and their public servants.

      Once again, target fixation prevents you guys from seeing what's really going on: It doesn't matter whether the police abuse their power.

      That's a bold statement to make, so let me explain it; Legally, there's almost no recourse. But why? For the system to function, it has to place trust in a group of people at some point. Every method of governance reduces to this basic truth if you dig at it long enough: It becomes a question of who to trust. If the police can't be trusted, then they can't do their job. So even if they do their job poorly, and with frequent abuses, the system will tolerate this because the system depends on the assumption that they can be trusted (regardless of whether they can or not). By arguing about whether or not there are safeguards against police brutality, or legal recourses, or any of that, you're sidestepping the critical issue: At some point, you have to trust them. Cameras expose these breaches of trust, but they also fundamentally undermine the system by doing so.

      The system is happy to hide the occasional act of injustice (and punish those who expose them) because the public's trust in the institution is vital to its continued functioning. It's paradoxical, unfair, illogical... and true.

      • Trust but Verify (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NixieBunny (859050) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:04PM (#32446938) Homepage
        Hey, it worked for the Cold War, so how about using it here?
      • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by melikamp (631205) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:10PM (#32447052) Homepage Journal

        So what is your suggestion? Fold over and let them pass another unenforceable law? Because it is already unenforceable, and with technology going where it does, it will be a total joke in some 10 years from now. Everyone will be wearing a camera attached to a general purpose computer, which is attached to the Internet. What is this law gonna do besides generating the public contempt? If you make these recordings inadmissible in court, it will be only a matter of time before someone records a cop committing a first-degree murder, and courts setting the cop free, which will make everyone LOATH the cops and the system that supports them. I don't believe that system will be functional at all.

        • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#32447578)

          So what is your suggestion? Fold over and let them pass another unenforceable law? Because it is already unenforceable,

          All systems, organic or electronic, should be built with error tolerance in mind. The system will make mistakes -- that can't be helped. The system has some safeguards in place to prevent errors from occurring; Both internally and externally. Examples of error prevention; trial by jury, the right to an attorney, the fifth amendment, etc. Examples of error correction: De novo review, appeals courts, and public examination of judgements (and the evidence). External examples of error correction and prevention: the governor's right to commute sentences, the press, and voting for judges, or offering ride-alongs to private citizens interested in what police work is like.

          To hone in on the main example of this article; Dashboard cameras have radically changed how police behave. They have also given the public insight into what everyday life looks like for a police officer -- albeit dramatized in the form of Cops and similar TV. But here, the chain of custody is maintained, and the evidence is reviewed by assumedly competent experts, and footage is used to train officers and systemically refine practices across the country. The problem isn't recording of police -- the problem is that the camera doesn't tell the whole story, and when footage is taken out of context and placed in the court of public opinion, the damage to the reptutation of law enforcement can be severe. Witness the Rodney King beatings; By taking the issue public, a massive riot ensued. This damage to public property and trust far outweighed what happened between those five men. It was later determined by a court long after the public controversy had moved off the radar that training practices needed adjustment, which is exactly the kind of self-correcting behavior that is supposed to (and usually does) happen when mistakes are made. But these processes are slow and people want immediate emotional gratification -- and it's that need for gratification that's the greatest threat to justice and security, not the occasional police fuckup.

      • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:35PM (#32447542)

        For the system to function, it has to place trust in a group of people at some point.

        How much trust do we have to put in them? Or do you mean faith?

        If the police can't be trusted, then they can't do their job.

        If we don't trust the police, then telling us that they require our trust is not going to convince us to give it. If we can't trust the the police, then perhaps we need new police.

        So even if they do their job poorly, and with frequent abuses, the system will tolerate this because the system depends on the assumption that they can be trusted (regardless of whether they can or not). By arguing about whether or not there are safeguards against police brutality, or legal recourses, or any of that, you're sidestepping the critical issue: At some point, you have to trust them.

        And you are sidestepping another issue. At some point on the road to a police state, you have to stop trusting them. If the system requires that trust, then perhaps we should discard the system.

      • Re:Let Them (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gclef (96311) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:45PM (#32447718)

        because the public's trust in the institution is vital to its continued functioning. It's paradoxical, unfair, illogical... and true

        No, it isn't true, and that's provable quite easily by looking outside the US. There are plenty of countries where the police are well known to be massively corrupt, and are completely untrusted by the citizens. Russia comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples. The people know it, many people in the government know it, yet the institution continues to function.

        Trust isn't necessary for the police to function....power is. The problem is, when trust is gone, the society functions much less effectively. Corruption flourishes in such an environment, and you're on a quick road to third-world status from there.

  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly (964219) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:31PM (#32446244) Homepage
    But I thought that people with nothing to hide had no reason to worry about surveillance? Does that mean that this statement is wrong, or does it mean the police have something to hide?
    • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:39PM (#32446426)

      Yes.

    • by prakslash (681585) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:50PM (#32446672)
      Here is how a police officer relative of mine explained this:
      (Please dont mod me down, I am just a messenger)

      When you point a camera, it is not just a passive device recording events. Instead, it can actually influence the events that it is recording. A witness at a crime scene may be hesitant to say exactly what he or she thinks because he knows the neighbors may see it. People may run away or refuse to come forward because they are afraid that they will be identified later on television and thus could become the victims of a crime. A lot of things happen in police encounters and sometimes a camera can have a chilling effect on the proceedings. Sometimes the influence of camera presence can benefit society by keeping police abuses in check. Sometimes it can be a harm.

      Personally, I think the police officers only have their own benefit in mind when they ask for a ban on cameras.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:32PM (#32446268)
    nearby police action. Thanks for your cooperation citizen, now pick up that can!
  • by nebaz (453974) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:33PM (#32446274)

    have the privilege of turning the telescreens off.

  • by dward90 (1813520) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:33PM (#32446282)
    While I'm sure some(most) of this sentiment is created by media exaggeration and selective reporting, cops have the persona of themselves being above the law.

    A movement to remove recording them will only serve to propagate that idea, and remove one of the only tools that civilians have to combat any police abuse.
  • FTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:33PM (#32446294)

    1) Graber was not arrested immediately. Ten days after the encounter, he posted some of he material to YouTube, and it embarrassed Trooper J. D. Uhler. The trooper, who was in plainclothes and an unmarked car, jumped out waving a gun and screaming. Only later did Uhler identify himself as a police officer. When the YouTube video was discovered the police got a warrant against Graber, searched his parents' house (where he presumably lives), seized equipment, and charged him with a violation of wiretapping law.

    Bureaucratic mother fuckers.

  • Sure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoupGuru (723634) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:34PM (#32446302)
    And I'm sure getting rid of probable cause makes their jobs easier too. I guess I don't want their jobs to be easy. I want their jobs to be really fucking hard. That's what you get along with a badge and a gun... scrutiny. At least, that's what should happen but rarely does.

    After all, if you have nothing to hide Mr. Office Sir, what's the big deal?
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:34PM (#32446318) Homepage Journal

    Judges, juries and legislatures support the police overwhelmingly on this issue

    Honestly, why? What possible legitimate reason do the police have for wanting to keep things (at least things outside the station) off camera?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lupis42 (1048492) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:50PM (#32446688)

      Because discretion works both ways.

      Every time they let someone off lightly, every little thing they ever ignored, could be recorded. They could let the teenager with the dimebag off with a warning before, but if they're on camera all the time now, discretion goes out the window.

      It's worth it, though. Besides, I figure it would only take a year or two of full on enforcement of all the stupid malum prohibitum [wikipedia.org] crap before some effort was made to ensure that the only things that are against the law are things that effing should be.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Spatial (1235392) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:54PM (#32446758)
      It damages the credibility and prestige of the police. Important for a number of reasons.

      Of course, ignoring genuine abuses will do far greater damage in the long run. A few bad eggs is one thing, but if you protect them it calls the whole system into question.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:36PM (#32446348) Journal

    There's a lot of reasons why you can't point a gun at a cop.
    There isn't a lot of drawback for a cop pointing his gun at you. (Filling out some paperwork)

    While most people have become fine with that for weapons, the fundamental difference is that a Camera is not lethal. There is absolutely NO reason why Cops shouldn't be under the same scrutiny as the general public, and if they are allowed to use dashboard cameras, security surveilance, and whatever else at their disposal to help convict a criminal - then the populace should have the same ability at their disposal to defend themselves. Think of it as the right to bear arms.

  • Make it obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:36PM (#32446350) Homepage
    From TFA:

    ...the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway.

    So it seem one can avoid prosecution (persecution?) by setting up a tripod and a few lights and making it real clear they are recording?

  • by pacergh (882705) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:39PM (#32446418)

    And people complain about Miranda rights. Miranda rights exist because of abusive cops.

  • Land of the free (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:40PM (#32446442)

    But don't...

    The police and the courts should bear the following in mind when considering the recordings:

    "If the police are doing nothing wrong, then they have absolutely nothing to fear from being recorded".

    Unfortunately the "recording" of police should not be left entirely to police owned CCTV systems. Because those systems can malfunction at the most inconvenient times, causing the images to disappear right when, for example, someone called Charles de Menezes [wikipedia.org] gets shot in the head for his crime of wearing a jacket on a warm day.

    While the police have a job to do, and most of them do a damned good one at that; they are still human beings. And as such not infallible and not immune to all sorts of temptation - from wrongly kicking someone in the face who probably deserved it (but deserving has no place in law), to covering one's or one's buddy's ass in an ugly situation, these things can and DO happen. People should not be punished for recording something that is happening - especially in a public place or in the privacy of the recorder's own home. The Romans coined the saying: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" The government cannot be trusted blindly. There lies the path to tyranny.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:41PM (#32446458)

    All states with heavy Democratic majorities in both Executive and Legislative branches. Still more Hope and Change...

    • by Ill_Omen (215625) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#32447554)

      For the people that obviously didn't read the article, here's some additional context:

      ---
      Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where "no expectation of privacy exists" (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.
      ---

      As much as the OP would like you to think so, these states don't have a law saying it's illegal to video the police. In fact, reading that last sentence would probably lead a reasonable person to conclude that in 11 or those 12 states, recording the police in public would be legal.

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:42PM (#32446492) Homepage

    Eventually such laws will end up before the supreme court in a first amendment (freedom of speech) test.
    Then (hopefully) it will fail the constitutionality test.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:44PM (#32446534) Homepage Journal
    This over the ear video unit [go.com] is being used by some San Jose, CA cops after they beat the living crap [youtube.com] out of a Vietnamese foreign exchange student who is suing for 6 million dollars now.
  • ACLU defending cases (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:54PM (#32446760) Homepage

    The ACLU has taken at least two cases in that area.

    The Maryland motorcycle case [aclu-md.org]: "This prosecution by the Maryland State Police and Harford County State's Attorney is profoundly dangerous, and seems meant to intimidate people from making a record of what public officials do," said David Rocah, Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Maryland. "It is hard to imagine anything more antithetical to a democracy than for the government to tell its citizens that they do not have the right to record what government officials say or do or how they behave."

    The video [youtube.com] is on YouTube.

  • Double standard (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:57PM (#32446806)
    And yet when I complained the school district was illegally audio and video taping my daughter on the bus without our knowledge or consent, their response was "Oh no, that's perfectly legal -- everybody does it!"
    • Re:Double standard (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:45PM (#32447714)

      In all fairness, are you in one of the states mentioned? The article mentions that this is illegal in only a handful of states.

      Mine's not listed, and I personally have taken to rolling a tape whenever I'm pulled over. That specifically was prompted by a police officer accusing me of "not stopping at the red light for long enough". I asked him if I had come to a complete stop, and he admitted then that I had, but it hadn't been for "long enough" (and he accused me of "cutting him off", apparently because I had turned left before he got to the opposing side and stopped himself. my guess is this was the real reason I was stopped).

      When we got into court and I clarified with the judge that I only had to come to a complete stop at the sign, and that there was no stopped time requirement, the officer claimed that I never came to a complete stop at all, contradicting what he himself had said during the actual traffic stop.

      Luckily the judge dropped the ticket anyhow, but that one incident has made me overly cautious about the police. Sure, they're good to have around when the shit hits the fan, but the shit just doesn't hit that fan too often. The other 95% of the time they're basically just harassing the public for fines to support their salaries.

      Then there was the other time that my brother and I had a (very nervous and panicky) police officer pull his gun on us at a traffic stop because he saw gun cases in the back seat of the truck. We'd been duck hunting. We're pulling a jon-boat with a duck-blind obviously attached to it. We're both obviously dressed in full camo. To anyone with half a brain, you know there's going to be guns in this truck before you even get to it - and this idiot totally freaks out like someone is going to kill him because he spots gun cases in the back seat (which were being legally transported, cased, and unloaded, as per the law). No ticket there, but I don't like having a gun waved in my face because the rookie deputy is jittery either.

  • by Fuseboy (414663) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:02PM (#32446904) Homepage

    Part of the issue is that police officers rely on their intimidation as a tool, and being filmed makes that a lot harder to use.

    Police regularly deal with unsavory characters who lie easily, sometimes know the relevant law, or have nothing to lose, and the threatening presence of a police officer (physically imposing, assertive, suspicious and armed) is a useful tool to put the people they're talking to at a disadvantage.

    If police are filmed routinely (e.g. we all carry a Schneier Life Recorder [schneier.com]) - setting aside outright murder, corruption and cover-ups [wikipedia.org], even standard practice becomes potentially embarrassing ("YouTube: Cops harass my 17 year-old daughter!"), and anything borderline could easily turn into a career-limiting stink.

    No doubt this would make police uncomfortable.

  • Code of Silence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mounthood (993037) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:06PM (#32446980)
    The reaction is because of the Code of silence [wikipedia.org]. Lying for your fellow officer is a lot more dangerous when there might be video showing that you're all lying.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:12PM (#32447082) Homepage

    If you want to get good video quality in most lighting conditions and to be able to zoom in and catch cops doing their thing from a distance that makes it obvious who they are then you need to buy a good video camera.

    Canon GL-1 and GL-2 are really good for this and are rather cheap in the used market for a near broadcast quality DV camera. you do not want HD because HD is not good in low light, and you want optical image stabilization with a long zoom. keep a tape recorded with junk on it in your pocket, and if you are chased by police, press eject, swap tapes, and ditch the good tape in a nearby bush or other items. If recording from a few hundred feet away, you will have a lot of time to do this and can plausibly act like you did not hear the cop.

    If your video is good enough for TV broadcast, lots of tv stations will play it. plus when put on youtube it helps incriminate the officer as more details can be seen.

    Stay a few hundred feet from the cops and you have not only time to ditch them, but they cant identify you. dress dark if at night, dress in drab colors if daytime... dont stand out.

  • 'Nuff Said (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Logical Zebra (1423045) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:13PM (#32447116)

    People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.

    --V for Vendetta

  • Obvious thing to do (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:27PM (#32447380)
    At the beginning of every encounter with law enforcement, clearly utter the simple phrase "You are being recorded." (Regardless of whether or not you actually have a recording device.) If they continue the encounter, they are obviously consenting to being recorded, and you are obviously not in violation of any wiretap laws.

    It would be interesting to see if these states slap the same penalties on someone for making a "nannycam" video of their babysitter and catching them abusing their child -- obviously the babysitter has an expectation of privacy when they are in someone's home slapping an infant around!
  • Anecdote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Theodore (13524) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#32447470)

    If you ride the Amtrak Southwest Chief from LA to Chicago, and are a white/hispanic male in coach, you will be stopped in Albuquerque, and your belongings searched (because you're obviously smuggling meth).
    I had recently, just before my trip, read a bit on slashdot about people being stopped in Amtrak terminals for taking pictures, and being an artist, was duely pissed at that.
    At Albuquerque, there were a couple of rail cops who stopped all of the above mentioned groups coming off the train, I was respectful, addressed him as sir, kept my hands in plain sight...
    so when the officer asked if I had any weapons, I jokingly said "just a camera"...
    Spent the next 15 minutes handcuffed, sitting on a rail with his partner looking like he was ready to kick me in the teeth while the first officer meticulously went through my baggage.

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, a vid of that should have been worth a few million dollars.
    Instead I'm left with a funny story to tell people one of the reasons when they ask, why I don't explicitly trust cops.
    (I do know some good cops, lots of them, but there's always "that guy" that fucks it up for them).

  • Fair's fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @02:50PM (#32448812) Homepage

    They monitor us, we monitor them. That's fair.
    They monitor us, we can't monitor them. That's unfair.
    They don't monitor us, we monitor them. That would also be fair, because WE PAY THEIR FUCKING SALARIES.

    If they don't like it, they're more than welcome to forgo their special extra-legal privileges in exchange for less surveillance.

  • Naughty cops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Casca (4032) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @03:28PM (#32449374) Journal

    As long as they aren't doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about. Right? Right? Isn't that the argument used by all the people that support the patriot act bullshit? The only cops that don't want to be recorded are obviously the ones that are doing wrong.

  • It Has To Be Said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @04:11PM (#32449976) Homepage Journal

    If the police are not doing anything wrong, what do they have to be afraid of?

    The terrible abuses in the Camden PD would never have come to light had it not been for video surveillance.

    Do we really want to condone criminal behavior by the police? Can a "good" cop justify hiding or ignoring criminal behavior on the part of police officers? Can any elected official? Any judge? If they do, they are just co-conspirators.

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