Here's an excellent use for cameras:
Now, to help better examine how Tasers are used, manufacturer Taser International Inc. has developed a Taser Cam, which company executives hope will illuminate why Tasers are needed -- and add another layer of accountability for any officer who would abuse the weapon.
The Taser Cam is an audio and video recorder that attaches to the butt of the gun and starts taping when the weapon is turned on. It continues recording until the weapon is turned off. The Taser doesn't have to be fired to use the camera.
It's the same idea as having cameras record all police interrogations, or record all police-car stops. It helps protect the populace against police abuse, and helps protect the police of accusations of abuse.
This is where cameras do good: when they lessen a power imbalance. Imagine if they were continuously recording the actions of elected officials -- when they were acting in their official capacity, that is.
Of course, cameras are only as useful as their data. If critical recordings are "lost," then there's no accountability. The system is pretty kludgy:
The Taser Cam records in black and white but is equipped with infrared technology to record images in very low light. The camera will have at least one hour of recording time, the company said, and the video can be downloaded to a computer over a USB cable.
How soon before the cameras simply upload their recordings, in real time, to some trusted vault somewhere?
EDITED TO ADD: CNN has a story.
Posted on November 9, 2005 at 8:46 AM • 34 Comments