Videotaping

Photo of a police traffic stop

Police Officer Discretion in the Use of Body Worn Cameras

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:30pm
In our October 2013 policy white paper on police body cameras, we struggled with how to ensure that the cameras would serve as an effective oversight mechanism for police while not unduly invading privacy. We pointed out that purely from an oversight standpoint, putting aside all other considerations, the ideal policy would be for officers’ cameras to run throughout their entire shift, which would guarantee that an officer could not evade detection while engaging in abuse. But as we discussed, it’s not possible to put aside all other considerations, including the privacy of the public and of officers.
Photo of police officer speaking to civilian

Should Officers Be Permitted to View Body Camera Footage Before Writing Their Reports?

By Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices for the ACLU of Southern California & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:14pm

Update below

A police officer wearing a body camera shoots a civilian. Afterwards, the officer has to write up a report about the incident. Should the officer be able to view the footage captured by his body camera (or other cameras) before…

Is it Legal to Photograph or Videotape Police?

Is it Legal to Photograph or Videotape Police?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:35am

Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right.

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:54am

A story out of Utah this week neatly showcased the rising concerns among civil liberties and press freedom groups around so-called "ag-gag" laws, which, in various ways, make it illegal to document animal abuse on factory farms and other agricultural…

Still from Rodney King beating video

The Video Revolution in Policing

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:39pm

We may have reached the point where video technology is producing a full-fledged revolution in policing. That revolution has been crystalized, or at least revealed by, the events in Ferguson.

The first element of that revolution is a growing…

NYPD's Backwards Policy on Photography at Occupy Wall Street

NYPD's Backwards Policy on Photography at Occupy Wall Street

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:32pm

Police are busting people for taking pictures while cops themselves improperly monitor protestors.

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:31pm

It’s been almost two years since we posted our ”Know Your Rights” Guide for Photographers, began calling attention to the problem of police harassment of photographers (including through this video), and began blogging about the issue. And several years before that, our affiliates around the country had already begun filing what have become numerous lawsuits on the issue.

It’s also been nearly two years since the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that the right to film police officers is protected by the First Amendment and that, moreover, that principle is so “fundamental and virtually self-evident” that it should have been known to the police even before the court’s ruling. That ruling was only the most prominent—courts around the country have been pretty much unanimous in finding such a right.

Yet the problem persists.

As Carlos Miller documents on his invaluable site Photography is Not a Crime, incidents of police harassment of photographers (and worse) continue to take place around the country on a daily or near-daily basis.

Why is it so hard for police officers to learn the law? We have seen settlements in some cities in which police department management has sent clear messages to their officers instructing them on the law, but in many cities, not enough has been done to train officers and/or enforce requirements that they abide by the Constitution.

As citizens prepare to gather this Fourth of July for rallies to restore the Fourth Amendment, let’s hope that this First Amendment right is respected as well.

Two More Days to Vote for ACLU SXSW Panels!

Two More Days to Vote for ACLU SXSW Panels!

By Ateqah Khaki at 1:22pm

The ACLU is hoping to be at South by SouthWest next March, and we need your help! We’ve submitted four panel pitches (one, two, three and four) for SXSW Interactive, and there are two days left for the public to vote for and comment on the…

Vote for the ACLU’s SXSW Panels!

Vote for the ACLU’s SXSW Panels!

By Ateqah Khaki at 1:18pm

The South by SouthWest Panel Picker has launched for the 2013 festival, and we need your help!

The ACLU has submitted two panel pitches (one and two) for SXSW Interactive, which will take place March 8-12, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Wondering…

ACLU Lens: Wall Street Protest Enters Second Week

By Jennifer Carnig, New York Civil Liberties Union at 6:49pm

For the past 10 days, scores of demonstrators have occupied Zuccotti Park near Wall Street to protest what they believe are entrenched inequities in the nation’s financial system.

In response to the peaceful demonstration, the NYPD…

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