The use of police body cameras is spreading rapidly amid concerns about the use of force by officers. But how and when the public gets to see the footage is raising important questions about privacy, says Associated Press. While the recordings may help verify the details of a police-involved death or injury, the videos might also show distraught victims, grieving family members, people suffering from mental illness and citizens exercising their rights to free speech and civil disobedience.
Existing laws that govern what information is released to the public are on the chopping block, as states try to strike the balance between a citizen’s right to privacy and ensuring that officers are accountable for their actions. A policy to release all police-recorded videos could mean footage of the inside of a person’s home could be available. But if the policy is not to release footage in order to protect a person’s privacy, that could mean a video of an officer shooting someone would not be made public, defeating the primary purpose of the use of cameras.