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Seattle PD enlists hackers to solve its body cam problem

Seattle PD enlists hackers to solve its body cam problem
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Police departments all over the country are gearing up to test out body cams on officers in the field. President Barack Obama has already announced plans to spend $75 million to help departments purchase the gadgets, and the LAPD raised enough money in private funds to outfit 800 officers. While body cams might be good for accountability, they also bring up serious questions about privacy. The Seattle Police Department has turned to hackers for the answer.

The major issue revolves around finding a balance between public accessibility and privacy. The department already has over 1 million videos. It wants to release video footage to the public, but needs to redact some information to avoid infringing on citizens' rights.

How is SPD addressing the question? By turning to hackers, of course. The department recently held a hackathon that allowed capable computer whizzes to demonstrate how they would remove things like faces and license plates from body cam footage.

Next page: Was the hackathon a success?
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