Privacy v. Transparency in Massachusetts
October 24, 2019
Interesting article on Worcester Police Department’s body camera pilot program. Like most departments, Worcester will find itself balancing privacy and transparency. According to the article, MassLive submitted a public records request to the department for video which was granted. However, MassLive goes on to say that they didn’t publish all the videos because “in most cases, they show personal information — like the inside of an apartment and close-up views of license plates and ID cards — of residents who are not being charged with serious crimes”. That statement, if correct, would lead the reader to believe that the videos were released to the media unredacted. This is troubling if true. There can be only two reasons for that type of a release. Outdated public records law that hasn’t caught up with the reality of BWC implementation or improper release of the record by the department. It’s difficult to determine which of the above reasons is the case with only the Massachusetts public record law and the MassLive article as reference. In the end, it’s all about the content of the video.