A knee-jerk solution to police violence also creates big privacy problems.
Following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, there have been increased calls for on-duty police officers to wear body-mounted cameras. Over 145,000 people have signed a whitehouse.gov petition in support of a proposed “Mike Brown Law,” requiring all police officers to wear a camera.
But little has been written about the actual technology of how these cameras work and the broader implications of deploying them en masse. Police departments around the country may range in size from a few dozen to over 1,000 officers. With cameras generating upwards of a gigabyte of video recordings per officer per day, the data storage issue can quickly get out of hand. On top of that, civil liberties organizations have raised concerns about the lack of clear policy for how they should be deployed. Not to mention the potential privacy issues for people recorded during encounters with the cops.
Here are some things that will surprise you about the debate.
Cohen first noticed that the the man in his picture was wearing a shirt with an American flag down its front. It was too late to make the Post-Dispatch’s print edition the next day, but Lynden Steele, the Post-Dispatch’s director of photography, tweeted it out at 12:49 AM, Missouri time: “Wow… A man picks up burning tear gas can and throws it back at police,” Steele wrote. “And kept his chips,” another user noted three minutes later.
A group of kids has created an app to combat the police abuses seen in Ferguson, and everywhere else.
The app, called Five-O, is like a detailed version of Yelp for the police. (It’s worth noting that the Ferguson Police Department already has a dismal one-star review on Yelp). After any interaction, someone can answer questions like “Was the stop legitimate?” and “Were you physically assaulted?” and give the officer a grade from A to F. App users can also view scores for a particular department, or browse through departments by county or state.