Redaction Software Designed to Protect Identities and Increase Police Transparency and Accountability
May 18, 2016
Silicon Valley-based company, MotionDSP, today announced a major new release of its advanced video redaction software, Ikena Spotlight. The most notable update includes powerful new tracking algorithms that help automate the process of blurring faces and other personally-identifiable information found in video evidence from body cameras. Other new features include audio redaction and the ability to disguise voices through modulation. This new technology will save police departments countless hours and labor fees compared to competitive solutions that rely on frame-by-frame redaction or rudimentary auto-tracking when handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
MotionDSP met with police departments as well as major body camera manufacturers to understand the challenges they face with redaction. “Body camera video presents new challenges that simply don’t exist with stationary CCTV systems, the original use case our software was built to handle,” said MotionDSP CEO, Sean Varah. “Body cameras are worn by people that walk, run, jump, crouch, or sit as video is captured. The people or objects being filmed can also be moving throughout the video. This extreme camera motion makes it difficult to predict how a face or object will appear in any given frame of video, causing most tracking algorithms to fail.”
Based on this input, MotionDSP rebuilt Ikena Spotlight from the ground up with new tracking algorithms and also added features for audio redaction such as selectively muting and bleeping audio clips and disguising voices to protect identities. Other improvements in the release include the ability to trim videos into shorter clips, take redacted snapshots of a single video frame, and view an audio waveform bar to quickly see where dialogue is taking place. MotionDSP has made Ikena Spotlight available as an embedded product within their video enhancement software, Ikena Forensic, or it can be purchased as a stand alone product.
As police departments look to fulfill FOIA requests, they need a quick and simple way to handle redaction. Redacting video can be an extremely time-intensive process if done manually or by using basic video editing software like Adobe Premier. Ikena Spotlight is one of the only software products in the market that was built specifically for redaction, works with video from any camera source, and isn’t part of a larger evidence management system. It is system agnostic and works with video from body cams, dash cams, security cameras, cell phones and even drones.
“The adoption of body cameras in law enforcement has created an urgent need for redaction software to fulfill FOIA requests for video evidence,” said Varah. “We’ve seen many companies try to quickly piece together redaction solutions to meet this need, but most fall short of what they promise to deliver. Redaction has zero margin for error. If a witness, minor or undercover officer’s face is visible in even one frame of video, the repercussions could be irreversible. We’ve seen a number of companies marketing their solutions as ’fully-automated’ with no human interaction needed. We encourage law enforcement agencies to be very skeptical of these claims as the consequences of failing to protect identities could be catastrophic.”
For more information on Ikena Spotlight, visit www.motiondsp.com/ikena-spotlight.
MotionDSP is a leading provider of advanced image processing and computer vision software that helps police departments and organizations both redact and extract critical information from video. MotionDSP’s software is currently used by the U.S. Secret Service, Scotland Yard, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and many other law enforcement agencies in the US and around the world.