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3/9/2010
04:43 PM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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Taser Cloud Manager Leads Experiment In Police Evidence

There's an experiment underway to see whether video recordings of police actions can be captured as they occur -- by an officer wearing a camera as an ear piece. Local police forces can't afford the system that captures the contents of the camera and stores them. But that's where the cloud can help.

There's an experiment underway to see whether video recordings of police actions can be captured as they occur -- by an officer wearing a camera as an ear piece. Local police forces can't afford the system that captures the contents of the camera and stores them. But that's where the cloud can help.Jas Dhillon, chief strategy officer at Taser International, is trying to convert his company from a manufacturer of a handheld device that delivers a rude electric shock (Taser guns) to one that discreetly captures police video evidence. On Dec. 19, I wrote about the new mini-cam that can be hung from a policeman's ear to capture video of an event. The accompanying system vouches for the integrity of the video evidence, since the camera can only be unloaded through a locked device and uploaded to a Taser sponsored cloud storage facility, Evidence.com. Taser then makes a copy of the video available for download and review by police officers, but an original remains un-touched in the cloud.

To do so, Taser has built a cloud storage site where the camera of an officer on the beat can record an incident and be uploaded at the end of a shift without any IT expertise. Dhillon serves as general manager of Evidence.com and will be a speaker at 2:45 p.m. March 17 at the Cloud Connect conference at the Santa Clara, Calif., Convention Center. He will address "Enterprise Cloud Adoption."

Dhillon is in charge of both a technology experiment and a social experiment. Exactly what transpired during a police intervention or apprehension is the subject of countless, if not endless, debates. The vested interests and conspiracies to maintain alibis -- on the part of both parties -- sometimes gets in the way of establishing the facts. On the other hand, when a state policeman's dashboard video cam is rolling and a dispute arises in front of its lens, the policeman is cleared in 96% of the cases by the video evidence.

In a fractious society, where at an early age we are trained to resist authority, more evidence of what happens in police actions would be a good thing. If it can be gathered discreetly, without pointing a taser gun at the subject (Taser's previous idea on how to capture evidence), so much the better.

It's too much for each police station to maintain a secure, tamper-resistant disk array loaded with video evidence, awaiting the next dispute. But such a facility is conceivable in the cloud, managed at low cost for hundreds or, as Taser hopes, thousands, of police and law enforcement agencies.

For more information on Cloud Connect go to http://www.cloudconnectevent.com/registration/.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on cloud computing and service-level agreements. Download the report here (registration required).

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