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Comment Re:Was it a Double Blind Test? (Score 2) 210

They don't say if it was double-blind or not, but even if it was just single-blind, that's at least passable science.

I disagree - using the words "sensory laboratory" adds nothing. Neither does the naming of the type of wine glass used for tasting whiskey. The 'triangle test" might at least add something of a protocol, but we are still talking about a very soft end point - a subjective taste test. This is at most an adjunct to a more rigorous examination. And a real taste test would include many other samples and would have the requirement of being reproducible - something that has been called into question repeatedly in the world of wine tasting.

If you were really going to do "science" on this topic, you would be examining the differences in the chemical makeup of the samples. The materials and methods would involve words like "gas-liquid chromatography" and "mass spectrograph" rather than ""Ardbeg 'tulip' shaped glasses".

Comment Re:Long term storage (Score 1) 99

Your "how long until" hypothetical is already in the past. Not only on the internet, but on national broadcast television. There have been plenty of no-knock raids on TV with half-clothed or naked folks being terrorized in their own homes, cowering on the floor at the point of an assault rifle where the raid turned up no evidence of any criminal activity. Sometimes it is even a wrong-address raid. Usually looking for drugs. Sometimes looking for a fugitive.

It is a pretty revealing situation to note that the reaction to this by the most activist civil-liberties types will be "at least they didn't shoot the dog". Violating people's privacy is so far down the list that it doesn't even get a mention when people are fairly frequently getting wounded or killed in these sorts of circumstances. Even the rabid civil liberties folks are more concerned with holding police accountable so that people aren't getting shot in the middle of the night in their own home than they are with the privacy concerns of having the videos they are using for that accountability becoming public in other situations.

Comment Re:Long term storage (Score 1) 99

Except I don't think that is the state of the law at this point. Public officials doing their job are by definition "public". So talking to them is talking to the public. At least that seems to be the current state of case law on the topic.

This is one of the reasons that FOP reps give for opposing body cams.

Take a look on the internet - there's lots of footage from helmet cams and body cams of swat raids that were FIOA requested by third parties. Even if there was no criminal case to be made at all. All they have to do is fill out some paperwork and the law in most places says they have to provide whatever public records exist pertinent to that request - including video.

Comment Re:Long term storage (Score 1) 99

I agree that this is a serious concern. But I am not sure the law is prepared to deal with that. Currently, if you make such a complaint and the police follow their procedures, they'll fill out a report with their version of the content of your conversation. This report will be discoverable by an open records request - by anyone who wishes to make the request.

There is beginning to be a cottage industry of folks making such requests and posting the results to the internet. It might be a matter of time until this reaches critical mass for the public to begin pushing back, but right now it looks like there will be an opportunity for such dirty laundry airing with or without the cameras.

Comment Re:Long term storage (Score 1) 99

I'm not sure how much privacy law would be involved. As long as they are on duty these are public officials going about their duties. As such they have no expectation of privacy - so anything they say and do can be recorded. There is plenty of case law to consider the matter settled.

And anyone interacting with the police are engaged in a public act - even if they are doing so involuntarily.

The only real privacy issue would be if the camera was left on when the officer entered a truly private space, like a restroom. Or if he forgot to turn it off before having a private conversation while off the clock.

Comment Re:Well.... (Score 4, Insightful) 99

That may be a part of the advantage of going with one of these vendors. We sometimes hear about malfunctioning cameras when police are accused of abuse. Sometimes multiple cameras malfunction at the same time.

A properly designed system would make deleting evidence difficult, and even if the evidence were to be deleted, it would likely leave an audit trail showing that the video did indeed exist at one point and reveal when and how it was deleted.

Comment Re:Cheap (Score 3, Interesting) 99

Hardly relevant to the discussion. We are talking about enterprise storage and backup, with archival record-keeping. At a minimum I would expect two physically separated sites for storage and online duplication, plus backup and additional offsite storage. That's all stuff that comes along with the cloud storage contracts.

When you start getting up over 100k per year as Birmingham is, it might start to look attractive to take it in-house. Depending on what sort of data storage and retention infrastructure they already have, it might make sense to build out for this purpose as well. But smaller departments will never have the capacity for doing this in-house. Not only do you need the servers, storage systems, networks and backups at two sites, you also need a 24/7 staff capable of handling it. That's way more than 100k per year just in labor. If you already have that staff and storage network in place, adding additional storage would make plenty of sense. If you don't, not so much.

Plus, in order to do it right you need to maintain a proper chain of custody and security for the video evidence that might be used in court. And given how we've seen videos mysteriously vanish in some police abuse cases, this is no trivial matter.

So no, a couple of 5 terabyte drives from newegg isn't gonna cut it, even for a small town police department.

Comment Re:92B (Score 1) 64

But, you just don't get it! Microsoft has $92 billion. In cash! Parked overseas! $92 billion that they could bring back to the US!

But we are funding a project about education that involves Microsoft! With Federal Tax Dollars! If they just repatriated that $92 billion, we'd have another $30 Billion to spend on NSF studies and other stuff!


Comment Re:Is video recording required? (Score 1) 67

Actually, I don't know if they have the authority to prohibit cameras in public meetings. This has been something of a hot topic - there are activists who go to public meetings for the sole purpose of auditing their freedom to record the proceedings. Kind of a weird hobby, but someone needs to act as the 4th estate.

Comment Re:One term. (Score 1) 67

One could easily argue the opposite. By allowing the advantages of incumbency to become entrenched, we encourage corporatism. If the same guy is Mayor of Atlanta for 26 years, it is pretty easy for major contractors to know who to bribe and to set up systems for ensuring that their man stays in office. If they have to keep corrupting a new guy every 4 years, it would be that much tougher.

Both arguments likely have some truth. If every guy in office is a noob, then the bureaucrats will of necessity become more powerful, since they are the only ones who know what the heck is going on. So instead of the politicians getting the grease, it is the bureaucrats.

In the end the root of the problem lies in the amount of favors there are to dole out. With all of the power and money being tossed about by government it is inevitable that someone will try to game the system to their benefit. The only true answer to this is to limit the amount of money and power being funneled through the government. And of course this is the one thing that all those corporate interests would never allow. And neither would the political class - both bureaucrats and politicians. Since they all have something to lose if the money and power dry up, they'll never move to change it.

That's why term limits are attractive to some - even if it is a futile attempt.

"Ask not what A Group of Employees can do for you. But ask what can All Employees do for A Group of Employees." -- Mike Dennison