California Cops Can No Longer Pass the Cost of Digital Redaction onto Public Records Requesters

At a dark time when the possibility of police accountability seems especially bleak, there is a new glimmer of light courtesy of the California Supreme Court. Under a new ruling, government agencies cannot pass the cost of redacting police body-camera footage and other digital public records onto the members of the public who requested them…

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Cops Wearing Cameras: What Happens When Privacy and Accountability Collide?

Police departments from Bakersfield, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., and beyond are piloting and deploying body-worn cameras (BWC) in increasing numbers, a movement happening just as privacy issues gain greater attention across the nation. While many hold out hope that BWCs will bring greater accountability and transparency of police actions, the technology also has the potential to cut into citizens’…

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South Portland Police Department releases its body camera policy

The South Portland Police Department has released the document that spells out its officers should use the body cameras that they will begin wearing in a few weeks.

The department posted the policy on its Facebook page following calls from civil liberties advocates for assurance the the cameras will not be used to invade people’s privacy. The policy was not initially released when the department announced that it would begin using the technology. The ACLU of Maine filed a public records request for the document, according Legal Director Zach Heiden.

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Public access necessary for police footage

Police body cameras would restore public trust, proponents said. They would infuse transparency into the murky, complicated human interactions in which officers daily find themselves, they promised. They would be a hard defense against police abuse, they swore.

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Who gets to see police body camera footage? California lawmakers may decide this year

With police departments across California continuing to equip their officers with body cameras, state lawmakers are trying again to set rules for their use, including one of the thorniest policy issues: who gets to see the footage and when.

The debate will force legislators to weigh deep transparency and privacy concerns that don’t have clear ideological answers, as is evidenced in the details that have emerged from two competing bills within the Democratic caucus.

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Police body camera study bill sent to Iowa Senate panel

An Iowa Senate subcommittee on Tuesday approved a bill that would launch a study of the use, storage, public inspection and confidentiality of body camera video.

Body cameras are increasingly worn by Iowa law enforcement officers to record interactions with the public. The devices are often promoted as improving accountability for police, but in several cases law enforcement agencies have refused to release the videos.

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Concerns raised about accessibility of police body camera footage in Texas

Months after statewide body camera legislation took effect and the Houston Police Department outlined its policies regarding the devices, local criminal justice watchdogs worry that some video from high-profile incidents may never see the light of day.

At issue, they say, are provisions in the law that could stymie requests for camera footage, privacy protections, and local departmental reluctance to release information.

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