Why Cloud-Based Redaction is Not Adequate for Video Redaction

Why Cloud-Based Redaction is Not Adequate for Video Redaction

Video technology has become an integral part of most businesses, security systems, and law enforcement strategies. Even everyday citizens can create unique videos, capture news footage, or market their burgeoning ideas or other streaming content instantly through social media. The ease of marketing video content is now becoming so standard that most high-school aged kids can flow through the details and dissemination with ease; on the flip side video production, editing and redacting content while on the fly, have not quite caught up.

Enter cloud-based video editing and the ability to edit video on the go, anywhere, anytime. Editing your video in the cloud may be right for certain applications, such as YouTube or Instagram, but many of these videos don’t require detailed editing software but for instantly shareable videos on social media cloud-based editing may work well for you.

Video Redaction in the Cloud

Video redaction in the cloud, while it is possible, generally does not work as well as the more powerful desktop video redaction software programs. Many high-quality video redaction software programs, such as those used in government services, often have highly sophisticated machine-learning abilities to continually evolve and improve through use. There are several cloud-based video editing programs available to those, mostly used for social media purposes, that include a variety of features like filters, effects and color correction to name a few, but the type of editing required by many professional services are lacking in a cloud-based environment.

Law enforcement has its own unique set of issues regarding video redaction and the importance of getting it right the first time. There is no room for slip-ups, skipped frames, or unsecure transmissions. In many cases there are real lives on the line. Getting the video redaction complete, transferred and stored securely is a must. There can also be legal ramifications on departments for damages if mishandled. Here is a review of some of the cons when dealing with video editing and redaction in the cloud:

Implementing Body-Cam Protocols

While cloud-based services may become a part of future law enforcement video storage and video redaction, the costs and safety measures combined are just not there as of yet. Video from body cameras take an enormous amount of space. A 30-minute video can take as much as 800 MB of storage space. When you multiply that times each officer, per incident on an entire force, a body camera program can literally break a department’s budget. Body-worn cameras not only produce video footage, but also metadata to track the information identifying the clips as well as the chain of custody for evidentiary procedures. As a department’s Chief Intelligence Officer or CIO, how do you balance department overhead while maintaining evidence in storage which could be called upon in an appeal 10 years later? The Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) suggests that one way to get a tight control on costs is to have an effective and strict body-worn camera program, implement it, and strictly enforce it. Some suggestions they have made include:

Meeting CJIS Requirements

Until recently, most computing platforms for video redaction and storage have not met federal CJIS standards. There are now some larger vendors who do meet their compliance standards, but the costs are still something to be weighed and determined by specific department budgets. With some of the new features and storage solutions, many larger departments may actually find cost savings for video storage, especially for long-term storage.

For most large departments, video storage on in-house servers for 5 to 10 years simply overburden their resources and data storage capacities. While one option is to store video for less time, the newer systems offer additional data and storage capacity. The CJIS compliant platforms allow the continued chain of evidence to remain intact by giving each video a digital signature that verifies the videos authenticity, dates of editing and all changes made, and allows for onsite verification by human personnel if it should be later used in a court trial. The system will also generate a log of all audits, time-stamps, identification of personnel handling, and more as a video database to be used in the courtroom should any questions arise.

Evidence Management

Evidence management, protocols, and turn around time has become a standard and even court ruling in some areas. This puts pressure on departments to have all evidence, including redacted video evidence available to the court, attorneys and prosecutors in a short window of time. As new body-cam systems are implemented, incorporating the evidence storage in such a way that retrieval can be paired with physical evidence and delivered without delay has become critical for departments.

Implementing an automated system that can sort and retrieve all information, maintain security, and increase workflow and ease for personnel within the department is necessary. Having a system that can track, report and audit all evidence from the moment it is collected till it is delivered helps ensure the public’s safety and provides a cost-saving strategy for all departments. Many departments will find that by doing so, they will save themselves headaches, lost time and money as they progress through technology changes. In the end, we need to continue having body-worn cameras and the evidence they provide as they not only provide testimony on crime, they also keep everyone just a little bit safer and continue to develop trust between the police departments and the community at large.

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