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Seattle police get help publishing body camera videos online

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Seattle police get help publishing body camera videos online

The police aren't often fond of publishing body camera and dashcam footage online, but not necessarily for nefarious reasons -- the volume of privacy-focused video editing they require can prove overwhelming. In Seattle, for example, a flood of public disclosure requests from an anonymous programmer (known by his "policevideorequests" handle) risked scuttling a body cam trial run before it got off the ground. However, that one-time antagonist is now coming to the city's rescue. The man has agreed to help Seattle's police department publish video by showing them how to quickly redact clips and get them online. As the unnamed person explains, it should mostly involve ready-made tools; the police will strip audio from clips using free software and lean on YouTube's automatic face blurring to protect identities.

The programmer is quick to admit that the solution "is not ideal," but it's enough to catch police brutality and other obvious incidents. People could always demand unedited video if there are hints of something fishy going on, he says. It's tough to know if this unusual consulting deal will help Seattle publish every video that concerned residents want. However, it could serve as a role model for other police forces that want to improve their accountability without creating a nightmarish workload.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes]

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