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Texas Cops To Get Cameras on Their Heads: Now Will We See Even More Bad Acts than Dashcams Have Revealed?

Within the next 60 days, Austin police officers on foot and bike patrols will be participating in a national study on the effectiveness of having law enforcement wear little video cameras on their heads. That’s right: they will have little tiny web cabs on their caps or hats — or attached to their ears, like a Bluetooth.

Which means that now, law enforcement that is out there, dealing with the public, but without a dashcam camera since they don’t have a dashboard, will have their actions recorded on video for all of us to see. Get ready, YouTube.

Of course, the national testing of this new technology is all about the prosecution getting more evidence to use in criminal cases. For chain of custody purposes, the camera-wearing police officer cannot be able to tamper or edit the video feed – that’s important for the District Attorney in any criminal trial in order to authenticate and admit the video in the first place. The recordings will be automatically downloaded to a computer after the police officer finishes his shift, and presumably anything caught on the videos will be organized chronologically.

This gizmo isn’t new.  They’ve had versions of head-cams for years now, and in Great Britain, they even put these things on their police dogs.  The popularity of the camera-covered cop seems to be increasing:  Cincinnati likes them, various California law enforcement branches use them, and they’ve been around in Europe for years. 

Still, one has to wonder how much these cameras are going to be used to reveal cops gone bad – as the dashboard cameras on patrol cars have done so well.  Shedding light on police brutality is a good thing – and that’s a good result from this new technology.

However, taking it one step further – how long will it be before the shoe is put on the other foot, and the government seeks to put webcams into the lives of parolees or probationers?  Will the privacy arguments that failed with the ankle arrest bracelet prevail here?  Is anyone concerned about this?

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