Zac Giammarrusco, Digital Forensics Expert and Steve Bufalino, Business Executive
Proponents of using body-worn cameras in law enforcement agencies point to several potential benefits. Not only does it help increase accountability, transparency, and civility, but it helps collect and corroborate evidence, ensures quicker resolution of citizen complaints, and offers several avenues to train new recruits. Despite opening up such opportunities to deter unprofessional and inappropriate behaviors of both police officers and the public, the recorded visual content on body-worn camera systems has invited certain unforeseen challenges for law enforcement agencies. To elucidate, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives every citizen the right to request for the full or partial disclosure of unreleased information (if that does not fall under the nine exemptions, including national security, internal personnel rules, and practices of an agency, to name few). However, while publicly releasing any form of digital evidence, federal entities need to rightly identify and redact sensitive citizen identities and information, including vehicle license plates, undercover officers, confidential sources, the faces of innocent bystanders, body tattoos, and many others.
“Video redaction is extremely complex, time-consuming, and needs to be perfect every time. The traditional tools that law enforcement agencies implement oftentimes fail to keep the legitimacy and relevancy of digital evidences intact. Additional, these applications burden federal establishments with unnecessary manual tasks. Our mission is to help law enforcement departments simplify the task of video redaction, while ensuring 100 percent accuracy,” says Zac Giammarrusco, Digital Forensics Expert, Focal Forensics, a leading provider of video redaction services.
Our mission is to help law enforcement departments simplify the task of video redaction, while ensuring 100 percent accuracy
One of the basic principles of Focal Forensics' redaction-as-a-service offering is the security of information. The company receives all the videos following the CJIS guidelines, a Federal mandate that defines the minimum standard of security controls required for interacting with criminal justice information, and stores those in their offline repositories. The company's digital forensic professionals then leverage both manual and semi-automated video redaction tools to redact videos according to their clients' demands. “Once the work is completed, we closely scrutinize every frame to ensure the optimum quality of our work and send the videos for our clients' final review. We keep a keen eye on security throughout the entire process, which is a key differentiator of Focal Forensics in the market,” prides Steve Bufalino, Business Executive, Focal Forensics.
Focal Forensics' video redaction services provide law enforcement departments with the opportunity to eliminate the quandary of implementing multiple tools and hiring seasoned professionals to use it. Such tools also come with monthly subscription that increases the cost burden the users. As opposed to this, Focal Forensics' clients enjoy cost-efficiency owing to its pay-per-request model.
Such a secure service delivery model forged with flexible pricing has enabled Focal Forensics to successfully cater to a plethora of government agencies across the United States. Additionally, many large corporations utilize Focal Forensics' redaction-as-a-service to report their warehouse events, with complete privacy. Bufalino believes that their video redaction services are also beneficial for school districts where it is essential to redact the minors' faces while reporting or presenting the information of an unwanted incident. Striding ahead, Focal Forensics has plans to offer their redaction-as-a-service to other sectors and make it more streamlined.
"Being in this market for 3 years, we understand that there is still a lack of knowledge about the need of redaction and everyone perceives it to be a complicated manual task. As such, we are participating in several public conferences to educate people about it and show them how easily they can offload the task of video redaction to us with minimal expenditure and effort," concludes Giammarrusco.