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Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One? 192

Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, news reports leaked that the NYPD is evaluating whether to give its officers Google Glass for investigations and patrols. Google, which is sensitive to accusations that it works hand-in-hand with governments or law-enforcement agencies to monitor civilians, suggested that the NYPD must have purchased the units on its own initiative, rather than partner with the company. Some pundits and many civil libertarians hate the idea of law enforcement wearing Google Glass or other electronics that can send a constant stream of video and audio to a government (or even third-party) server. But at the same time, wearing Google Glass could also compel cops (and other law-enforcement personnel) to be on their best behavior at all times, particularly when it comes to use of force; the prospect of instantly available video detailing every aspect of an officer's shift could prove a powerful incentive to behave in a courteous and professional manner. But that's a very broad assumption; the reality—if cops really do start wearing Google Glass and other video-equipped electronics in large numbers—will likely end up determined by lots and lots of lawsuits and court-actions, many of them stemming from real-world incidents. Do you think cops should have Google Glass and other wearable electronics? And if so, what sort of regulations could be put in place to ensure that such technology isn't abused by the powers that be?"
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Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One?

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  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:15PM (#46198241) Homepage Journal

    and anything it sees that's in your favor, they can just discard.

    That's how it works currently when it comes to other kinds of evidence, no reason to think Glass data will be any different.

  • I'd say Great Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:15PM (#46198243)
    This would absolutely raise the bar of performance for a lot of cops. As the summary says, knowing that you're being monitored all of the time would keep the cops on their best behavior.
  • Here's the deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:17PM (#46198245)
    Just got my glass last week, and the way I see it (pun!), it is ok for the cops as long as it is ok for the public at large too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:21PM (#46198277)

    My concern would not be that it would compel officers to be on their best behavior at all times, that is something I'd generally look at as a perk. Instead I'd be worried about how we would then judge cops job performance. This could very well remove the cops ability to ignore trivial and insignificant breaches of law that go on around them, as well as giving people a pass. With cops performance already often judged by the frequency of their tickets this could just open a new opportunity to diminish their role as protectors of the people.

  • by jcochran ( 309950 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:25PM (#46198291)

    I don't see a problem with the police using Google Glass provided that if they do, the use is non discretionary and that the unedited video is provided in full upon demand by the public or accused. After all, we don't want the police turning off their glass if they're about to do something questionable. And we don't want anything that's in the favor of the accused to be discarded because it's "not relevant"

  • by TheNastyInThePasty ( 2382648 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:26PM (#46198297)

    They don't need to discard it. Very few officers have ever been charged with murder while on duty regardless of whether or not there's video evidence and/or tons of witnesses.

    Even if you, say, bash an innocent homeless man's face in, tase him repeatedly as he screams for help, and pile six officers on him until he suffocates.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:30PM (#46198317)

    and make it available for the defense... or its a bad idea.

  • by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:34PM (#46198351)

    Or they could just ignore the public and do whatever the fuck they want like they currently do.

    Remember that only INDIVIDUALS get punished when they don't line up with policy and then get paraded about as the system working well.

    I still laugh when the plebs suggest that they can have a say in how anything in america goes does.

    They will or will not use this as they please and there is not a fucking thing you can do about it.

    Be a nice bovine and go back to being farmed for your productivity and wages like a good little citizen.

  • Panopticon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:36PM (#46198365)

    Every single person on the government payroll should wear one, and the video and audio live streamed on the internet.

    Any gaps in the record are presumptive evidence for employee malfeasance, and public innocence..

  • Re:Panopticon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @05:42PM (#46198405)

    And if they have nothing to hide, they should have no objection!

  • Sure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:15PM (#46198585) long as the citizens can keep on recording on theirs. Fair's fair.

  • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ugen ( 93902 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:32PM (#46198657)

    I am a "white guy with a job" too, about as law-abiding as anyone can get without becoming a monk - yet I absolutely do not trust police. My (albeit limited) personal experience with police, as well as what I see happening in general, suggests that by a large margin they are no less dishonest, selfish and brutal than general population. However, where general population is held in check by external factors, police have additional "special rights", whether by actual law or by precedent, that make them that much more dangerous.

    May be up there in Canada things are different, but this was my experience in every location in US I lived in.

    That said, I think cameras of any kind on police would be a good thing in most cases, though I suspect they will quickly learn to cope by having batteries run out just in time, or suspects need to be strip-searched every time, which *obviously* would require camera to be turned off for privacy reasons (and, don't you know it, naked suspect is probably more cooperative anyway).

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:43PM (#46198725)
    But I think that cops should be REQUIRED to use wearable recording devices when in the field. It's a natural, personal extension of the dashcams that are already standard. In fact, absence of a recorded interaction after an arrest should be considered suspicion of evidence tampering.
  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @06:59PM (#46198811)

    Google glass for cops is not about video recording. Even if it starts there, it's not about that. It's about facial recognition.

    Every cop being able to know, looking at a person, who that person is, where they work, where they live, whether there are any warrants, what their facebook page says, what political party they are... almost anything big data can generate.

    This is one of the single biggest threats to individual freedoms we have ever seen.

  • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Saturday February 08, 2014 @09:02PM (#46199407)
    Just like dashcams right? Instead I think we'll just see 4 Google Glass fail at the same time instead of 4 dash cams failing at the same time, at the exact time abuse is alleged to have occurred.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.