Rachel Alexander reports:
The seemingly simple idea of outfitting police officers with body cameras to capture interactions with citizens has raised concerns across cities in Washington about individual privacy and the scope of the state’s Public Records Act.
Police wearing cameras can enter private homes, record rape victims describing their attackers and capture footage of people in the middle of mental health crises. Although identifying details like addresses and Social Security numbers may be blurred or redacted, the resulting footage generally becomes a public record, available to anyone who files a request.
Read more on The Spokesman-Review.
The unnamed programmer who has requested videos under public records requests and who has been uploading them to youtube.com has really raised awareness of the issue of privacy. The ACLU of Washington has proposed limiting what might be available under public records requests. The data would be stored, but would only be accessible if there was a complaint or allegation of misconduct.
Do read Alexander’s report, as with the current pressure to deploy more body cameras on police, this issue is sure to arise everywhere.