On February 2, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 0040 – Public Information Act – Inspection of Records From Body-Worn Digital Recording Devices.
If signed into law, this bill would update Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) rules in order to protect the privacy of vulnerable individuals whose identities and personal information may be captured on body-worn cameras. Though requests under the MPIA serve a vital role in ensuring government and law enforcement transparency, the General Assembly has previously carved out exceptions where applicable to serve important policy goals. SB 0040 offers further clarity on redactions to body-worn camera footage requested under the MPIA, and in doing so, furthers the State’s general mission of balancing community needs with the right to privacy.
From the MACo Testimony:
SB 40 recognizes that Maryland’s open government laws require modernization to account for more complex technologies than originally envisioned. Some years ago, Maryland legislation spelled out new rules to encourage distribution of information through electronic media, while creating reasonable standards to protect metadata and other information beyond the document contents. Similarly, footage from body cameras is replete with challenges beyond those presented by paper documents and deserves a law to properly frame its distribution.
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