For a number of years now, public life has seen an exponential increase of the use of video recording equipment. The question remains under which conditions video equipment can be installed and to which extent video recordings can be allowed as evidence within the European Union (EU) legal system. Not only in the public space, but also on the work floor are cameras deployed regularly. In addition, it is almost a certainty that most events are recorded by dashcams, drones, or smartphones. The opinions diverge on whether or not this is a positive evolution. What has become clear is that video recordings can be used as evidence in legal procedures.
Legislation approved by the Pennsylvania state Senate on Wednesday seeks to clear legal hurdles for police departments to expand their officers’ use of body cameras, and it gives departments the discretion to refuse public requests for copies of audio or video recordings by officers. The bill, which passed 47-1 after brief comments on the Senate floor, would add Pennsylvania to a growing list of states that are setting statewide policy over the collection of audio and video by officers, including from dashboard and body cameras.
On February 15, the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act) was introduced by a bipartisan group of US Congress members. Designed to enact comprehensive rules for both government agencies and commercial service providers, the GPS Act would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before using GPS data to track an individual’s location and would require service providers to obtain customer consent before sharing geolocation data with outside entities.
In the months since the Los Angeles Police Department began rolling out thousands of body cameras to officers, during a time when video has prompted new scrutiny of policing across the country, a key question persists. When should the footage become public? On Tuesday, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD began a process to review the department’s current policy of generally withholding that video —whether it was captured by body cameras, patrol car cameras or otherwise collected during an investigation— unless ordered to release it in court. Some police commissioners, along with Chief Charlie Beck, have indicated in recent months that they were open to revisiting the policy, but Tuesday marked a more formal step toward that.
Germany’s strict privacy laws prevent the widespread usage of surveillance cameras, but the coalition government on Wednesday approved regulation that could change things. Germany would allow more video surveillance in public places, under a draft law passed by the cabinet on Wednesday, reflecting growing security fears in a country that has for decades been wary of police intrusion. The bill was agreed in principle by the parties in Angela Merkel’s coalition last month, well before Monday’s deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that was claimed by Islamic State.
Unmanned Aircraft are definitely a transformative technology. They open up the lowest parts of the airspace to productive use. At the same time, they also create new problems for privacy and security. As a result, interest in “drone defense” technology has been skyrocketing. It seems that there is a new innovative defensive system unveiled by entrepreneurs on a weekly basis. A new letter form the Office of Airports Safety and Standards, however, indicates that the FAA would like to slow down and coordinate this new technological stampede.
Marke “Hoot” Gibson, the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, said two of the biggest issues facing the FAA related to unmanned aviation systems, or drones, are privacy and preemption. Gibson said the FAA is not in the business of dealing with privacy, but there is a long history of case law dealing with traditional aviation. “However, it has generally dealt with noise and airports —this is personal use— it comes right in your back yard,” he said, referring to unmanned aircraft.
Police in Beaverton (Ore.) have launched a security camera registration initiative here in an effort to fight crime, including acts of terrorism. “Surveillance video is huge,” Beaverton Police Officer Jeremy Shaw told KATU News about the potential for surveillance video to help solve crimes and find suspects. “I mean it puts those people at that […]
When attorneys said in court recently that phone calls between lawyers and inmates at Leavenworth Detention Center had been recorded and obtained by federal prosecutors, the development was just the latest revelation in what a United States public defender says was a systemic violation of constitutional rights.
Sacramento —like New York, Houston, Miami, St. Louis, and other cities before it— is looking at the next step: the launch in October of a “real-time crime center,” a central location from which officers could monitor all their existing surveillance technologies, PODs included. The idea is that consolidating information about criminal activity —from stalking complaints to potential lone wolf terrorist attacks— would make law enforcement more effective at investigating and perhaps preventing some incidents. The process would also promote accountability and transparency at a time of rising tension between police and the black community, providing evidence of both police and suspect behavior during tense encounters, proponents say.