LNS Counsel Michael Price recently testified before the Public Safety Committee of the New York City Council, supporting a proposal to create a “Police Officer Body-Worn Camera Task Force” in the coming months to oversee the expansion of the NYPD’s body-worn camera pilot program. The Brennan Center’s testimony highlighted some of the privacy considerations the new task force should examine in assessing the impact of this technology.
The current NYPD guidelines regulating the use of body cameras was developed without broad community consultation, and raises several privacy and public accountability issues that merit closer examination. The Brennan Center’s testimony highlighted the need to develop specifications for public access to body camera footage; a closer examination of current guidelines on recordings retention; and importantly, ensuring that the body-worn camera program retains its primary purpose as a tool for public accountability and transparency, rather than becoming merely another evidentiary tool for law enforcement. The testimony encouraged the new task force to seek collaborative input from community stakeholders as it moves ahead, in order to ensure that questions such as these will receive the scrutiny and expert input they require.