They're presented as the policeman's panacea: Body cameras can magically diffuse street violence between officers and citizens. They can perfectly capture, record, and hold all parties accountable for their actions. Got a complaint? Just watch the footage.
Yet, the seemingly easy fix opens the gates to a flood of questions over the cameras' vulnerabilities: How easily can the footage be compromised? Can the cameras be hacked? Is geo-tagging putting officers at risk?
"Anything can be hacked, right?" Artem Haryutunan, a security researcher at Qualys, told The Wire. "It's just a general risk which is always there and which is always associated with technology."
Haryutunan should know: He's one of the researchers who helped discover vulnerabilities in devices like baby monitors — small surveillance cameras of comparable size to the ones police officers would end up wearing.
Still, Haryutunan told us, the vulnerabilities will be directly related to the software used by the companies developing the technology. Depending on the camera, some track footage using a digital evidence room, where officers will have to sign in and tag the videos they'd like to review, while others use a live feed, streaming video that other officers can watch in real time. All cameras will require police chiefs to implement concrete guidelines to camera use, though these guidelines will vary between departments — and between the various technical possibilities different camera brands can offer.