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Body Camera Maker Will Let Cops Live-Stream Their Encounters

tedlistens writes: Police officers wearing new cameras by Axon, the U.S.’s largest body camera supplier, will soon be able to send live video from their cameras back to base and elsewhere, potentially expanding police surveillance. Another feature of the new device — set to be released next year — triggers the camera to start recording and alerts command staff once an officer has fired their weapon, a possible corrective to the problem of officers forgetting to switch them on. (The initial price of $699 doesn’t include other costs, like a subscription to Axon’s Evidence.com data management system.) But adding new technologies to body camera video introduces new privacy concerns, say legal experts, who have cautioned that a network of live-streaming cameras risks turning officers into roving sentinels for a giant panopticon-like surveillance system. Harlan Yu, the executive director of Upturn, a Washington nonprofit consultancy that has studied body cameras, says that live-streaming could erode community trust and help enable more controversial technologies like real-time face recognition. “The capability to live stream all BWC footage back to a department- or precinct-wide command center… will further entrench body-worn cameras as tools for police surveillance of communities, rather than tools for transparency,” he said.

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