Criminal Justice Information Compliance and Innovation

Body camEdward Claughton, President
PRI Management Group 

A couple of body-worn camera companies (BWC) are promoting “automated redaction” as a key feature of their product.  Let me be very clear: there is no such thing!

While the software may be able to track a face or an object, there’s no getting around the fact that you need a human being (with expertise in public records law) to tell the system which faces and spaces need to be blurred out.

Every state has different public records exemptions, many with new one’s which explicitly address body-worn camera records. Redaction software doesn’t know the law.  Only a human does.

Furthermore, what public records laws require is the redaction of information which is exempt from disclosure, not the blurring out of the entire video. Some notable agencies have taken that approach- a likely violation of the law in most states.

And it’s not just about people’s faces or private spaces.  Audio which records someone giving a SSN or name of an informant would have to be redacted. A video showing an officer’s computer screen displaying NCIC info may need to be redacted. This doesn’t happen “automatically”. At the end of the day, no matter how advanced the technology is, someone has to review and listen to that video first before releasing it per a request.

See how our team of records technicians from law enforcement can manage your redaction operations. PRI is the sole law enforcement public records consultancy in America specializing in assisting police agencies with public records compliance and technology, including redaction services.