Are police cameras such an obvious win?

Recently read this interesting article from Bloomberg on the perils of police cameras. They seem like such an easy and obvious win in response to incidents like Ferguson, but Bloomberg make a strong argument for why it isn’t quite so simple.

On recruitment and effective policing:

Police cameras are also prone to intentional abuse. With mysterious frequency, they seem to accidentally get switched off or malfunctionat critical moments. One obvious remedy is to require that cops always keep them on. But that can be counterproductive. Witnesses and victims may be less forthcoming on camera. Attracting competent officers could become harder if their every interaction is recorded. Crucially, officers may simply avoid engaging certain communities, or avoid areas where confrontations are likely, if they know they’re being filmed.

On privacy:

equipping police with cameras and audio recorders means that they’re constantly conducting surveillance on innocent civilians — and potentially storing it all. Police frequently enter private homes and encounter people in medical emergencies who may not want to be filmed. Some officers may be tempted to record people on the basis of race or religion. And some departments have asserted that the public has no right to see such footage.

Having recently read The Circle, this particular that seems particularly resonant to me – do we really want the police to surveil us constantly?

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