ToTs & TiPs


Monday, May 16, 2016, 2:30pm to 4:00pm


CGIS Knafel K354
Talks@TechSci in the ToTS and TIP Series Monday 5/16 2:30-4pm in CGIS Knafel K354 (1737 Cambridge St). Conference call 617-841-7951. Police Body-Worn Cameras Negotiating Between Accountability and Privacy Since early 2014, the rapid adoption of police body-worn cameras across the country has garnered significant attention as the cameras became the latest police reform technology, built on promises of greater accountability and transparency even as civil rights groups have cautioned that “police-operated cameras are no substitute for broader reforms of policing practices.” Body-worn cameras, it has been argued, would eliminate the need for the fortuitous happenstance of a cell-phone wielding bystander by recording continuously and approximating the field of view of police officers on the ground. But premised on the assumption of constant or near-constant recording, body-worn cameras have raised concerns around the interlacing of accountability tools with surveillance, and the array of practical considerations regarding the management, storage, and redaction of audio-visual data, as well as the implications of making that data public. According to one estimate, major city police departments that regularly deploy body-worn cameras are likely generating more than 10,000 hours of video data a week. This has prompted the question, are the costs and attendant risks to privacy worth it? In this talk, I will lay out the current landscape of body-worn camera programs, to ask: if accountability is the primary justification for camera adoption, how should individual and social costs, particularly towards marginalized people, be weighed and assessed in relation to the as-yet unknown benefits? Speaker: Alexandra Mateescu is a researcher at Data & Society, working under its Data & Fairness initiative with a focus lately on the on-the-ground impact of criminal justice technologies. In February 2015, she co-authored a primer that brought together literature and existing empirical work on body-worn cameras. She has also worked on issues of police body-worn cameras, social media surveillance, and incarceration technologies for the 2015 Data & Civil Rights: A New Era of Policing and Justice conference hosted by Data & Society together with the Leadership Conference and Upturn. She holds a BA and MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago.