Tagged With police

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On Thursday, the US Center for Constitutional Rights challenged the NYPD's body camera policies, asking a judge to block the city's forthcoming pilot program, which is slated to outfit 1000 officers with body cameras as early as next week. The cameras were supposed to be a step forward for police accountability and transparency, but the CCR says the current policy dictating their use gives officers too much discretion about when to record, and makes it too difficult for the public to see the footage after the fact.

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On Friday, the New York Police Department, the largest police department in the US with about 34,000 officers, released its body camera policies. The NYPD held extensive public comments and met with several civil rights groups, but the policies are largely a disaster and undermine the goals of the body camera technology — accountability and transparency.

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On Wednesday, stun gun maker Taser announced that it's offering free body cameras to every police department in the United States. That's 700,000 cops across 18,000 departments. Rebranding itself as "Axon" (as in the nerve fibres that connect neurons throughout the human body), the company said in a press release that it's "going 'all-in' to empower police officers" and will offer departments free cameras and storage for an entire year.

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If lawmakers have their way, police in one US state could soon be using drones as lethal weapons against the citizens they're supposed to protect. On Thursday, Connecticut's judiciary committee approved a new drone regulation bill that, if passed, would make it the first US state to let cops use deadly drones later this year.

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Time and time again, police officers shoot, and sometimes kill, civilians holding harmless objects, later claiming they mistook them for guns: A mobile phone, a bible, and a Wii controller. In early February, police body camera manufacturer Taser announced that it had acquired the artificial intelligence startup Dextro Inc — a "computer vision" research team that claims it can use object recognition software to train officers to better discern actual threats. But privacy experts find the surveillance and profiling possibilities offered by this latest, but certainly not last, upgrade to police body cameras unsettling. Moreover, the question remains: The cameras may be getting smarter, but are they actually making the public safer?

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At a tech conference last September, former NYPD commissioner Bill Simmons said that outfitting the department's entire patrol unit (roughly 24,000 officers) with body cameras would be almost impossibly expensive, costing up to "hundreds of millions of dollars". But on Tuesday, the City of New York announced just that: Every NYPD officer will have body cameras by the end of 2019. So what changed?

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In the 1930s, audio tech nerds were tinkering with everything. The most futuristic model homes of the day were wired for sound in every room, home audio recording was being introduced and the LP was invented to use as audiobooks for the blind. Even things we'd consider mundane today got the radio treatment in order to make them high-tech. One of those things was the police line-up, seen above wired for sound in 1931.

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The Fort Worth Police Department must have someone there who really, really likes Star Wars, or they just want to capitalise on Disney's new annual tradition. The department released its second recruitment video in two years where a villain or lackey from the Star Wars universe tries (and fails) to get a job as a police officer.

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Australian federal police officers and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade now have access to citizenship images held by the country's border force watchdogs. It's the first phase of our country's biometric Face Verification Service, which will grow over time and eventually become a digital panopticon with access to visa, passport and drivers licence photographs.

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Look to your left. Look to your right. Do you see two people? Congrats on being social today. One of those two people is probably included in the FBI's massive facial recognition database. A new Georgetown report says there are 117 million Americans in the database. That's about 50 per cent of the US population.