Law Enforcement, Public Safety

Video Redaction and Clarification for Better Law Enforcement


Video holds incredible valuable for the law enforcement community; it improves public safety with live streams, helps build secure digital evidence, and has even improved law enforcement behavior. But video collection and use as evidence still poses serious challenges, especially when it comes to storage, security, and citizen privacy, especially as it all relates to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). What happens when a 2,000 person police department is distributed body cameras and dashboard cameras and the officers are recording for an entire shift? How do public safety agencies meet FOIA demands and privacy restrictions? The biggest issue is that police departments don’t have the time or resources to redact footage according to what the laws require.

Redaction is a critical component of ensuring that personally identifiable information stays private. While the concept is simple, the practice proves to be quite difficult. Massive amounts of video are collected by law enforcement agencies across the country and offered to the public or presented in court as evidence. However, timely access becomes an obstacle when agencies have to adhere to strict privacy and distribution laws, like FOIA, that requires police to blur out faces and licenses plates prior to release.

To help the law enforcement meet their goals of public video distribution while also complying with privacy standards, MotionDSP developed Ikena Spotlight. The tool is designed to redact video from surveillance cameras and simplify the task of preparing video evidence. Today the solution has advanced with the addition of algorithms to redact footage from other types of cameras, like body cams. The company is planning a new version in the coming months that offers audio redaction and modulation as well as improved tracking which offers users a faster workflow for decoding and encoding video.

Still, the key factor in redaction is the person using the software. Sean Varah, CEO of MotionDSP, recently explained that “because redaction requirements are different in every jurisdiction, it’s very hard to make an automated solution that knows what to redact and what not to redact, so we let the human do that. In cases with really high-stakes video footage, you can’t afford to not have a human involved.”

But sometimes the challenge is not redacting the scene, rather clarifying it. Ikena Forensic software dramatically increases the fidelity of video images. This way, the clearest image can be matched to databases that house pictures known criminals, like shoplifters and thieves, and automatically sent to law enforcement. By streamlining the process of identification and verification, security can turn images over more quickly to law enforcement to apprehend the suspect. Shoplifters who may not otherwise be caught and convicted can be stopped with confidence.

For more details on the Ikena Spotlight 6 release, click here. To learn more about Ikena Forensic, check out this datasheet. And to learn more about our law enforcement solutions, read these articles on our Community.

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