Utility Issues Video Redaction Challenge to the San Francisco Police Department

Competition Intended to Shed Light on the Significant Costs and Risks Associated With Not Considering Video Redaction

Feb 26, 2016, 17:32 ET from Utility, Inc.

ATLANTA, Feb. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Utility, Inc. announced today it has issued a Video Redaction Challenge to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).  Utility invites the SFPD video team to redact a video provided by Utility from February 24, 2016, and compare video redaction cost and processing time to that of Utility's automated redaction software, Smart Redaction™, which has not yet been tested by the SFPD. The un-redacted video used for the challenge can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP6laCkRY-A&feature=youtu.be.

This challenge was issued in response to the City Purchaser and SFPD not considering video redaction cost and time when evaluating body-worn camera solutions.  The ability to redact video quickly and at low cost is key to protecting citizen and officer privacy while simultaneously providing police accountability and transparency.

"We extend this challenge to show that automatically redacting body camera video is possible and can be done quickly and at low cost," said Robert McKeeman, CEO of Utility. "All we ask is for San Francisco to take a look at viable alternatives.  There can be millions of dollars in unfunded costs associated by not having automated video redaction.  These redacted videos prove our automated redaction technology works as described. San Francisco Police Department should deploy the most reliable and secure body-worn video technology and software with the lowest total cost of ownership." 

Page 11 of Taser's 2016 Law Enforcement Technology Report, describes requiring almost one hour to redact just one second of video using conventional tools. This could result in SFPD taking weeks or months to respond to even a small number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.  1,800 SFPD officers each recording an average of 400 hours of video per year will total 720,000 hours of video per year.  Redacting even 1% of that video at one hour per minute (60 times more productive than the estimated effort listed in the Taser report) would take 432,000 hours of effort.  At $20 per hour, manually redacting 7,200 hours of video could cost $8.6M per year.      

"Being unable to release body-worn video because of the effort and cost of manually redacting the video runs counter to 21st Century Policing principles of police accountability and transparency," said McKeeman. "We hope this Video Redaction Challenge will help the Budget and Finance Committee see the value of automated redaction technology and will reconsider their decision to not require the City Purchaser and SFPD to consider video redaction in selecting a body-worn camera."

Utility's Smart Redaction software is a core component of the BodyWorn™ video solution.  Smart Redaction can automatically identify and redact all faces and body parts in hours of video in minutes based on the Department's specific privacy policies. A video administrator also has the flexibility to select one or more objects in a video to redact and Smart Redaction then redacts the selected object(s) as it moves around in the video. A third alternative is to select one or more objects to not redact, and then Smart Redaction redacts all faces and body parts in the video except the objects selected to remain clear. Audio can also be selectively redacted during a specific timeframe(s) in the video to help protect the identity of victims, minors, bystanders and police officers. All of this can be done in a matter of minutes, enabling video to be made public immediately and eliminating the added labor costs of manual redaction.

For more information about Utility's Smart Redaction software and to view the SFPD Video Redaction Challenge videos, visit the Smart Redaction website: http://www.smartredaction.com.  

Contact: Jake Mendlinger
Office: 516-829-8374/ Cell: 516-639-3373
Email: JMendlinger@zimmed.com

SOURCE Utility, Inc.