With the wrong policies, they can even be counterproductive. You may remember that last month, the company formerly known as Taser International — now known as Axon — offered free body cameras and video storage to every police department in the country for one year. But as Tim Cushing writes at TechDirt, the offer wasn't without a cost:
The company was willing to give away cameras in exchange for something far more lucrative: software licensing and footage access fees in perpetuity.
Axon even nailed down a choice URL: Evidence.com. This is the portal to law enforcement body camera footage stored in Axon's cloud — the real moneymaker for Axon. The cameras are just the gateway drug.
There are lots of problems with this arrangement. For one, body camera footage is bought and paid for by taxpayers. It's public record. Some states and municipalities restrict access to it under law enforcement exceptions to open-records laws, but it's still public record. It isn't difficult to see the downside of transferring an ownership stake in the footage to a private company.