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Media Privacy Businesses Crime Government The Internet

Body Camera Giant Wants Police To Collect Your Videos Too (fastcompany.com) 61

tedlistens shares a report from Fast Company: Axon, the police supplier formerly known as Taser and now a leading maker of police body cameras, has also charged into police software with a service that allows police to manage and eventually analyze increasingly large caches of video, like a Dropbox for cops. Now it wants to add the public's video to the mix. An online tool called Citizen, set to launch later this year, will allow police to solicit the public for photos or video in the aftermath of suspected crimes and ingest them into Axon's online data platform. Todd Basche, Axon's executive vice president for worldwide products, said the tool was designed after the company conducted surveys of police customers and the public and found that potentially valuable evidence was not being collected. "They all pointed us to the need to collect evidence that's out there in the community."

[But] systems like Citizen still raise new privacy and policy questions, and could test the limits of already brittle police-community relations. Would Citizen, for instance, also be useful for gathering civilian evidence of incidents of police misconduct or brutality? [And how would ingesting citizen video into online police databases, like Axon's Evidence.com, allow police to mine it later for suspicious activity, in a sort of dragnet fashion?] "It all depends," says one observer, "on how agencies use the tool."

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Body Camera Giant Wants Police To Collect Your Videos Too

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  • by Kulfaangaren! ( 1294552 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @05:05PM (#55406527)
    They are soo going to be swamped by cat videos and cute kitten pictures :)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If I had footage of something that they wanted, I'd give them a copy...for a price.

      Taser/Axon is a corporation. They make millions, so they can afford to pay people.

  • Embrace it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @05:09PM (#55406547)

    It's not like there are not scores of public CCTV's already which they can pull from.

    I see only a tiny risk to privacy, while at the same time large jump in the ability for investigators to figure out what really happened during a crime.

    The video going in through a public portal is even better because that is another layer of tracked data you have to overcome to scrub it in the case of police wrongdoing they want to cover up.

    • Really? CCTV" This is the USA; it's not Britain. (1) There are very few CCTV cameras in the USA. 92) The treasure trove of data/information in citizen's videos would astound you. Videos show all kinds of people -- some innocent and some not -- all the innocents are now in the Police record. (3) Citizen's can video a lot more than the Police. A citizen handing over a video will be giving the LEOs information that they do not have a legal right to have, to view, to use. Camel's nose and all of that.
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "There are very few CCTV cameras in the USA"

        Practically every store has them, many of them in such a location and angle as to be able to see some portion of the outside. Usually focused on the front door. They're so cheap and easy to install that even junk-ass Harbor Freight has 4-camera systems for $200 now days. People are installing Nest cameras and such on their property monitoring the front door - many of those are angled well and can see clearly down the street for good couple hundred yards. It's how

    • Asymmetry == abuse (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > I see only a tiny risk to privacy,

      Hard to see much of anything when you deliberate keep your eyes closed.

      Its bad enough that the cops have full access to all the bodycam videos while the people recorded on the videos do not. That's an asymmetry that is guaranteed to result in abuse. For example, a cop with stalker tendencies sees a pretty girl during the course of his duties. Goes back, runs facial recog on her image recorded on his bodycam. Then he searches all the other naively submitted public

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I see only a tiny risk to privacy, while at the same time large jump in the ability for investigators to figure out what really happened during a crime.

      And there you have it folks, "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide". Sorry, but fuck you. You think Big Brother and fascism is OK as long as it's privatized?

      You want to know the real threat to your way of life? Spineless shitheads who will embrace a police state as long as they think it makes them safer. America has become a nation of pat

  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @05:17PM (#55406575)

    I catch at least two or three or more people doing the absolute dumbest, unsafe things on my dash cam every week. The only reason I even got it was because someone turned left from a center lane and hit my car (going straight, in a straight lane) and then denied they were trying to turn to the police, making me liable for my deduction.

    So I'm not talking about people speeding or on their phones or anything, I'm talking about people using turn lanes to pass people and not even slowing down to make right turns on red in front of on-coming traffic. I actually am looking forward to the days of either 100% self driving cars, or everybody having dash cams.

    • Recommended dash cam please?

    • It wouldn't be a bad idea to have every new car legally required to have a built in camera system storing at least the last 10 minutes worth of video of the car, secured locally and easily accessed by the owner. It would greatly reduce issues like yours.

    • I actually am looking forward to the days of either 100% self driving cars, or everybody having dash cams.

      So you're not happy [wired.com] with the way things currently are here [youtube.com]?

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        Sorry.... read part of the wired article but then got an ad-blocker notification and it wouldn't let me read the rest - but I get what you're getting. The problem is that drivers and driving situations in the U.S. keep getting worse and worse - it's just how it is, and it's getting worse. I've been driving for over 30 years, and as traffic situations get worse, so do drivers getting frustrated and doing absolutely ridiculous things. I'm all about privacy rights, but not when putting everyone else's lives
        • Between possibly increased corruption, police brutality, and all the crazy stuff you point out, we may end up getting both self-driving cars and ubiquitous dash cams. Heck, I bet insurance companies will want dashcams put in standard so they don't have to decipher telemetry (?) when deciding how to determine fault in a collision between two self-driving cars.

  • Quality control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shuz ( 706678 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @05:17PM (#55406577) Homepage Journal

    My first reaction to this story is what will prevent fraud? It has already been proven that editing video and audio is possible to significantly change the story of what has been captured. It might be trivial to add an object to a video such as gun or another bystander that didn't exist. Something to cause confusion or doubt in a court case. Computers can be used to rearrange voice and even learn a voice and be able to make up sounds that didn't exist.

    I would hope that appropriate protections exist to prevent this kind of fraud on a body camera. However there is nothing to prevent that from a public video without further expert analysis to somehow prove that the public video is authentic. I think I like the idea, but it will need a lot of authenticity and security considerations.

    • by Hylandr ( 813770 )

      The point of the article would make this impossible without the expert modification of other video sources outside of the control of one person or organization. If online versions don't perfectly corroborate what the police have or someone contributes an edited video it will be bleeding obvious.

      The more user submissions the tighter the evidence will be.

      Then there will be no more conflicting evidence for the media to exaggerate.

    • My first reaction to this story is what will prevent fraud? It has already been proven that editing video and audio is possible to significantly change the story of what has been captured. It might be trivial to add an object to a video such as gun or another bystander that didn't exist. Something to cause confusion or doubt in a court case. Computers can be used to rearrange voice and even learn a voice and be able to make up sounds that didn't exist.

      I would hope that appropriate protections exist to prevent this kind of fraud on a body camera. However there is nothing to prevent that from a public video without further expert analysis to somehow prove that the public video is authentic. I think I like the idea, but it will need a lot of authenticity and security considerations.

      For plausible deniability purposes, all such videos should be edited to show that it was all the fault of The Ninja [youtube.com]

    • Hopefully there's more than one account of the incident, which allows for cross-referencing. If the public can upload videos, there's a good chance more than one video will be available.

      I've seen plenty of dash cam videos on YouTube where more than one camera angle of a crash was available (from building windows, even). The reason is because it was recorded on multiple cameras by completely different people.

  • They didn't mean crimes the cops committed, so be sure to send tons of those.

  • Catch the witness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Phones can be identified through the model number, IMEI and service phone number. Photos can be identified through the EXIF 'LocalizedCameraModel', 'BodySerialNumber' and 'CameraOwnerName' tags.

    Combine photo tags with cell-phone tower logs to reveal which phone-camera snapped the revealing photo. This will quickly become about identifying the witness for purposes of further questioning.

  • by teasea ( 11940 ) <t_stool@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Friday October 20, 2017 @05:45PM (#55406723)

    I'm wondering how they would secure against altered video that implicates the innocent or exonerates the guilty if they are not pulling the video directly from the source. It would break the chain of custody for the evidence. Even if only used in the investigation, the ease with which that investigation could be led off track makes me leery. That and the company proposing it.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      I'm wondering how they would secure against altered video that implicates the innocent or exonerates the guilty if they are not pulling the video directly from the source.

      They can treat the video like the Miranda warning; incriminating videos are evidence and exonerating videos are hearsay.

  • Just a note that both citizens of the EU and those of Canada have strong protections for privacy that we signed data treaties to protect, and collecting such video without their express consent at the time of collection is a violation of their rights, and the treaties. In Canada, these are Constitutional Privacy Rights which apply worldwide to all Canadian citizens. Similar constraints apply to various EU nations.

    Regardless of one's intentions.

    • Additionally, a number of states have strong privacy rights in their State Constitutions, including Washington State (WA), which is why the police, even the feds, are not able to put GPS trackers on vehicles or people in the boundaries of that state, or where they may reasonably be expected to traverse.

      Know your rights. Police states are never good.

  • ...and I'm keeping copies, too.

    I don't trust a company that got their start selling electrocution torture devices to the government as far as I can throw Michael Moore.

    -jcr

  • Sounds a lot like Colossus: The Forbin Project [imdb.com] to me.

  • Video from the public? And a truly awe-inspiring amount of cheap and easy to use video editors? What could possibly go wrong?
  • Putting police in sole custody and control of the video is a bad idea, given the history of abuse and coverups in some departments. I'd prefer a non-law-enforcement third party put up a system outside US jurisdiction, and make the submissions viewable by the public. Sort of like a Youtube for crime, except it wouldn't take down "disturbing" videos the way Youtube does. If you go there, you'd know that what you see might be awful.
  • i remember a while back there was a website that had an ap where you could do a video (and it would live stream a low rez copy if it had a connection) and you could save a report for later.

    This site has vanished.

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