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Should Police Body cameras be Streamed Live

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Should Police Body cameras be Streamed Live

Following increased cases of fatal encounters between unarmed citizens and the police in recent years, authorities have turned to body-worn video cameras with the hope of taming the trend. Some companies including Sentinel Camera Systems, LLC have developed a new recording device that the company introduced as Protector $G LTE Body-Worn camera. In reality, the company developed an advanced body-camera streaming system that is capable of transmitting the GPS location of a police officer in real time. Moreover, the camera records and transmits live video to a command or dispatch center while at the same time retaining another copy of the same video in the camera itself. Many people have hailed the development and called for the introduction of live streaming of police body cameras by the public. Moreover, they have demanded these videos to be made available to the public for each day of the week. At the same time, there are those who oppose streaming videos recorded by police body cameras. In the end, live streaming of police body cameras and giving the public access to this content has become a hotly debated topic.Should Police Body cameras be Streamed Live

Although the two opposing sides in this debate have presented reasonable arguments, it is emerging that the public should not be given access to live camera streaming. Those who support the argument claim that allowing the public to view live streaming would help improve their safety. According to them, it would also serve to make first responders safer, especially during emergencies. Using the Boston Marathon bombing an example, they explain that lack of live streaming deny the public information and it is only moments later that people begin to access some information. According to them, the situation can be solved by providing a real-time recording of events as they happen.

In reality, however, body cameras are used by the police as law enforcement and evidence-gathering tools and are not meant for public accountability or to provide information to the public. As such, allowing the general public to view live streaming of this camera throughout the day could translate to abusive and unacceptable use of the tools.

The cameras are intended for use by security agencies observing incidences in real time, making it possible for them to respond accordingly. Moreover, whenever a police officer turns on his or her camera, he or she captures personal data, which should not be made available to the general public. Additionally, allowing the public to view the recorded content would allow them to monitor the cameras of different police officers, thereby increasing incidences of police victimization. In the end, the public will end up monitoring different officers. Without a doubt, live streaming of cameras by the public would represent a failure by the stakeholders concerned to strike a balance between ensuring privacy on one hand, and practicality and oversight on the other. Should Police Body cameras be Streamed Live

Public activation and monitoring of the recorded videos would be a wrong approach. Rather, the cameras should be used by the police departments for the purpose of monitoring the police, which is a vital component given the ever-increasing cases of abuses perpetrated by the police. Rather than feeding videos to public channels, the videos recorded by police body cameras should be used to provide an independent record in case of dramatic events involving the police and the public. Allowing live streaming of the camera by the public would also create unnecessary chilling effects among members of the public since whenever they see police officers, they will assume that they are being watched by thousands or even millions of members of the public watching the videos online. Therefore, live streaming of police body cameras would be inappropriate and should, therefore, not be allowed since it would make it difficult for the police body to strike a balance between ensuring privacy and carrying out their oversight duties.Should Police Body cameras be Streamed Live

 

 

Reference

“Sentinel Camera Systems introduces real-time live streaming body camera” (2017). https://www.policeone.com/police-products/body-cameras/press-releases/372967011-Sentinel-Camera-Systems-introduces-real-time-live-streaming-body-camera/