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Evidence.com Redaction: Fulfilling FOIA Faster

The Growing Demands of Public Disclosure

As body-worn camera programs become more prevalent across the country, agencies have faced a growing number of requests for their videos to be publicly released. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), anyone can submit a request for body camera video, which requires an agency to redact sensitive information, like faces, license plates, and drivers' licenses, before its release.

To fulfill requests, agencies must make sure that the redacted video is “perfect,” without a single missed frame. Some agencies even have specialized teams that focus on redaction to make sure the videos navigate the fine line between being under- and over-redacted, which can raise red flags about transparency. This balance can be difficult to achieve when the requested videos often involve multiple objects entering and exiting the frame as the officer wearing the camera moves.

That's why agencies can find redacting just one video to be a time-intensive and demanding process. So it's no surprise that processing several requests at once can pose an enormous burden on an agency. The Washington, DC Metropolitan Police made this point clear when they revealed that redacting the footage from their pilot body camera program could take them over 1 million hours to complete.

How Evidence.com Automates the Redaction Process

This growing problem has spurred interest in automated tools that can cut the time needed to redact footage. Most automated tools track human characteristics like faces or skin when redacting objects in a video. Evidence.com's Smart Tracker technology doesn't just do that.

We've found that close to 50% of what is redacted in body camera videos are non-human objects that can reveal sensitive information, like license plates, drivers' licenses, or addresses. These items are often left untouched with traditional software.

To fix this problem, our automated Smart Tracker technology allows you to pick and choose any object to track in a video, so you can automatically redact faces and objects. Plus, we offer you a review-and-edit stage for processed redactions where you can add audio redactions and change the blur levels to align with your agency's policies.

Evidence.com's redaction workflow always maintains the original piece of video evidence. We provide a well-documented audit trail of the steps taken during the redaction process to preserve chain of custody.

The Axon Difference

We're continuously improving our products and services, and that includes our redaction tools. Just this year, we've made several improvements after hearing your feedback, including:

  • reducing Smart Tracker processing speeds by up to 600%
  • improving the editing experience with user interface design changes and icon enhancements
  • a complete redesign in the organization of redacted videos that makes it easy to locate, download, share, and play back redactions

As we move forward, we'll continue to think of new ways to improve the overall redaction experience faced by agencies responding to FOIA requests. We're committed to helping you get to the truth faster than ever before with Evidence.com, the only data management solution that lets you go with confidence from capture to courtroom.

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