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San Francisco Fire Chief Bans Helmet-Mounted Cameras For Firefighters 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the politics-trumps-truth dept.
New submitter niftymitch sends this quote from an article at SFGate: "San Francisco's fire chief has explicitly banned firefighters from using helmet-mounted video cameras after images from a battalion chief's Asiana Airlines crash recording became public and led to questions about first responders' actions leading up to a fire rig running over a survivor. ... Filming the scene may have violated both firefighters' and victims' privacy, Hayes-White said, trumping whatever benefit came from knowing what the footage shows. 'There comes a time that privacy of the individual is paramount, of greater importance than having a video,' Hayes-White said. Critics, including some within the department, questioned the chief's order and its timing — coming as Johnson's footage raised the possibility of Fire Department liability in the death of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan. .. [Battalion Chief Kevin Smith, president of the employee group that includes Johnson, said,] 'The department seems more concerned with exposure and liability than training and improving efficiency. Helmet cams are the wave of the future - they can be used to improve communication at incidents between firefighters and commanders.'"
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San Francisco Fire Chief Bans Helmet-Mounted Cameras For Firefighters

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  • Hah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:56PM (#44622815) Journal

    Since when did government care about the right to privacy?

    • Re:Hah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:59PM (#44622873)

      When it became so very important to them...when using it to justify not having any record or documentation of their misdeeds.

      Just like everything else people in power pretend to care about.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "So if you read all my emails/texts/communications and have my phones tapped and use my webcam to spy on me, why exactly can't cops be forced to wear cameras to help ensure they stay honest?" "Well, heh, you see, hahaha....it would violate your privacy and the privacy of the cop if they had to walk around with cameras on them. The info might get leaked, no matter how secure it is."

      • by giorgist (1208992)
        Amm .. that is fair enough. Its not out of their own pocket but if these guys run on a limited budget and a single court case can blow the whole budget ... they may as well return to picks and shovels if they can avoid being sued.
    • Re:Hah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:21PM (#44623127) Homepage
      They only care about it when it shows their incompetence or leads to a lawsuit.
    • Re:Hah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omnichad (1198475) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:31PM (#44623241) Homepage

      Since when is having a camera for private recording a privacy issue? It's the stupid act of sharing those images publicly that they should be worried about.

      • Re:Hah (Score:5, Informative)

        by icebike (68054) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:03PM (#44623595)

        Since when is having a camera for private recording a privacy issue? It's the stupid act of sharing those images publicly that they should be worried about.

        The wearer was a a public official performing his public duty, and even if it was his own camera, documentation of the event would immediately become evidence once the coroner determines the girl was alive when run-over. Withholding or destroying evidence is also a crime.

        Also there is nothing in the story saying it was a private recording. Its likely the fire department purchased the cams.

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          What I meant was - it's not for public broadcast.

    • I guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:40PM (#44623357)

      when they say "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" only applies to us private citizens. What's good for the goosed is not, they're arguing good for their gander, and so ironically, they want to hide behind "privacy".

      We must respect the privacy of the girl who was run over by the fire truck, (or future victims like her, more to the point) by NOT recording events that could facilitate knowing how she died, or how to prevent other such tragedies in the future. Apparently her 'right to privacy' trumps the right of society for justice, or government accountability, (including government employees).

      By this same piss-poor argument, I'm sure a number of people in the LAPD wished someone had respected Rodney King's PRIVACY by not videotaping his brutal beating and (let's face fact, folks,) attempted murder by LAPD thugs... how much better things would be not only for Rodney King, (who would consequently have been denied justice... oh, wait...) but no one would even know the full extent of what happened unless they happened to be there personally.

      Someone please make sure whoever is San Francisco's fire chief's boss hears this argument, or THAT person's boss, etc., that this is just a step in the direction of banning video footage being taken AT ALL, with the attendant even free-er reign on the part of government and their employees to misbehave while being paid to do what for want of a better word, let's just call THEIR JOBS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by icebike (68054)

      Since when did government care about the right to privacy?

      Exactly.

      I think its probably time for the State Fire Marshal or other public safety official to step in and MANDATE the cameras on chief's helmets (at the very least) and essentially over-rule this guy before he starts a trend.

      This is clearly ass-covering and nothing to do with privacy.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        I would go one step further and have it coded into law that if their camera "mysteriously" fails before a supposed misdeed? They and their dept as well as the state are responsible and WILL be open to lawsuits.

        Because I am noticing a disturbing trend in my area, somebody gets stopped by the cops for "suspicious driving" (driving while black) or "disturbing the peace" (I felt like fucking with him) or whatever BS they want to come up with and the suspect shows up looking like they went 5 rounds in the ring,

        • by skegg (666571)

          Well that's your fault if you live in a screwed-up country that allows that to occur.

          In Australia, we take pride in having a much more ethical police force.
          Err, scrap [smh.com.au] that last statement.

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Australian's can take pride in a more ethical police force because what happens after the incident is far more important than the incident. That some police officers will commit crimes is a given, that they are fully investigated and prosecuted when they do so is the difference between a corrupt police force and a police force citizens can take pride in supporting.

            Don't ever take the corporate marketing line, hiding crimes makes everyone look better. Always demand the law and justice line, all government

    • "Privacy of the victim" seems really desperate.

      You know, because the person who was killed is SUPER concerned about postmortem privacy.

      Why is it all brains evaporate when it comes to liability? Take reasonable steps and be reasonably safe. You can't avoid all lawsuits. Accidents happen.

      I swear, paranoia that the lawyers are going to get you has cost this nation almost as much as paranoia over terrorists.
      • by Xaedalus (1192463)
        Try telling that to the slain kid's parents, who have to face the reality of their child's death forever recorded and replayed over and over again. This is ass-covering due to liability concerns; this is also having to face grief-stricken parents who can't stand the thought of the gruesome death of their child being reduced to a training film for strangers and endlessly replayed.
        • by g01d4 (888748)

          grief-stricken parents who can't stand the thought of the gruesome death of their child being reduced to a training film

          Maybe and maybe not. They could pixelize the child in the film if necessary and the parents might have some small consolation that their child's death was of some use in helping to prevent similar accidents in the future.

      • by LBt1st (709520)

        Not to mention a person in a public street has no legal expectation of privacy.

    • Since when did government care about the right to privacy?

      Since always. Oh, did you mean *your* privacy? Hahahahahaha...

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Since when did government care about the right to privacy?

      Wait wait we can use this. Cop helmet cameras should be illegal because they violate the cops' and criminals' privacy. NSA camera drones should be illegal because they, well, violate everyone's privacy. If that's the way they want to play it, we need to grab the ball and run with it.

      You know the real reason they banned the cameras is because it might have shown someone tragically screwing up. But if that's the excuse they want to use, fine. It provides a good precedent.

      • by skegg (666571)

        Aww, that's so cute that you think we can exploit a contradiction like this against the government.
        In reality, they have our cake and eat it as well.

        We, as a society, need to become much (much) more politically active before we can start to effect real change.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          Aww, that's so cute that you think we can exploit a contradiction like this against the government.
          In reality, they have our cake and eat it as well.

          We, as a society, need to become much (much) more politically active before we can start to effect real change.

          Ok, but we have to start somewhere, why not here?

    • They are not talking about YOUR privacy, but theirs. They want to work (in a public place) in private.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:57PM (#44622825)

    This is all about not creating evidence that could cost the government money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:57PM (#44622845)

    No, you don't understand. The people have privacy, not government officials acting in their official capacity. The firefighter has no expectation of privacy when they are performing their official duties. This camera ban seems like an attempt to jump on the wave of NSA hate in order to provide cover for future incompetence.

    • by aitikin (909209) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:23PM (#44623149)
      Yes, but if I'm sleeping naked in my bedroom and my house is on fire and a firefighter comes in to rescue me, I sure as hell do not want footage of me naked being in government computers. This would fall under MY privacy or the individual who the government agent is trying to save's privacy. I'd say that, in general, emergency response (firefighters and paramedics), really probably shouldn't be filming everything.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:57PM (#44623539)

        Really? Because when my house is on fire they're allowed to point their helmet cams at my dick as far as I'm concerned, as long as they point the water hose at my house!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:58PM (#44623555)

        Seven FOIA requests and a wad of cash, and I was able to see my autistic son being abused by government employees.

        I am grateful for the cameras.

      • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:28PM (#44623819)

        Yes, but if I'm sleeping naked in my bedroom and my house is on fire and a firefighter comes in to rescue me, I sure as hell do not want footage of me naked being in government computers. This would fall under MY privacy or the individual who the government agent is trying to save's privacy. I'd say that, in general, emergency response (firefighters and paramedics), really probably shouldn't be filming everything.

        And what if you felt the firefighter did something very inappropriate when they found you naked and you were looking for proof?

        To an extent the current issue is that the tech is immature and departments are doing their own ad-hoc deployments.

        Done properly the video stored on the memory card is encrypted and access to the keys is strictly controlled. The only way anything gets decrypted is in response to a court order or at least an official logged procedure so neither officers or the public have to worry about random people snooping through the videos.

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        Yes, but if I'm sleeping naked in my bedroom

        There's probably already footage of you naked stored in government computers....

        If you're that shy or insecure, then sleep with pajamas on or nearby in case your house catches on fire. Or post a sign outside your property stating "Please remove all personal recording devices before saving my life."

        I'd say that, in general, emergency response (firefighters and paramedics), really probably shouldn't be filming everything.

        I'd say that they should be recording every single thing they do on duty, for a variety of reasons. But that film should be kept in a secure location, and destroyed as soon as it has no further legitimate use.

    • by icebike (68054)

      This camera ban seems like an attempt to jump on the wave of NSA hate in order to provide cover for future incompetence.

      Nothing to do with the NSA, as banning filming in fire department "Facilities" has been banned since 2009. (Probably if you follow that back to the source you will find someone got sued for something that was filmed in a fire station.

      Cops have been trying to suppress filming of their actions long before the NSA scandal broke.

      This is strictly a liability issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:02PM (#44622897)

    If privacy is what matters, then require that any firefighter with a camera keep the memory locked in a secure location at the station. Simply banning the cameras, especially after this incident, requires that they don't want to be subject to turning over any evidence. It's class CYA, plain and simple. I don't know who has the power to argue against this. These guys are union; but the union reps can surely see that such things might be used against them as well. They'll probably go along with the ban. The politicians are paid by the unions. Nobody really stands for the people here the way I see it. The people would, IMHO, best be served by having as much information as possible provided that it's properly secured, which is really not that hard to do.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:04PM (#44622913)

    Fuck you, you fucking fucks!

    The only reason you could want to ban cameras is to hide your mistakes. You have no expectation of privacy in public, especially when you're working to protect and serve the public. If anything, this shows why cameras should be MANDATORY . With cameras on every responder and 360 degrees of coverage from the top of every vehicle. If you screw up, you need to know it, determine liability, see what led to the mistake(s), and develop ways to avoid screwing up like that in the future.

    SF's fire chief needs a swift kick in the groin.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:13PM (#44623039) Journal
      Given that a firefighters' job description includes "Rush into assorted private buildings with all due speed and an axe because they are on fire and/or contain somebody the paramedics are performing emergency maintenance on" there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about the process for handling some of the footage they generate (I, for one, would be deeply vexed if somebody's helmet-cam of 'sleepy-looking guy runs out of house in underwear' turned me into a youtube star...); but the notion that those concerns rise to the level of banning cameras seems like transparent CYA, especially given the training utility of having a record of past fuckups to work with.
      • Fuck-ups seem like a thing that will happen. There's not a lot of standard shit in a burning building; you're dealing with a lot of non-standard, not-to-code things like doors that are jammed into warped frames and on fire.
        • That would be why having field video would seem like a useful training tool: not because you can eliminate 100% of error; but because you don't want Joe The New Guy to encounter any more totally unexpected things than necessary, under conditions where fast responses count.
      • (I, for one, would be deeply vexed if somebody's helmet-cam of 'sleepy-looking guy runs out of house in underwear' turned me into a youtube star...

        There is a ton of absolute inane shit that is on youtube, but I think even youtubers wouldn't be too interested in that.

        Now if your underwear was on fire while that happened, or got hit in the nuts, yeah, they'd probably eat that up.

    • I was thinking of more of a 2x4 to the groin but if one is wearing those fancy firefighter boots that would be acceptable as well.
    • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:20PM (#44623117)

      I have repeatedly requested camera views from publicly owned but privately operated buses in the southern suburbs of the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area.

      These cameras exist both inside and outside of the buses but whenever an issue arises which negatively impact the bus drivers or the system itself, the camera feeds are unavailable, usually due to some sort of unknown malfunction: http://www.lazylightning.org/bus-2-0-directs-mvta-driver-onto-dirt-shoulder [lazylightning.org]

      However, when they are not at fault, the videos are available to me right away and without question: http://www.lazylightning.org/mvta-rider-alleges-racism-over-bus-incident [lazylightning.org]

    • You have no expectation of privacy in public

      No, but the public they are rescuing from a private burning building do. Or should they be dressed in their best dinner attire, in the event that they may require emergency assistance?

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Exactly. The only screw up is that someone made this public. They should be focusing on that!

    • by thomst (1640045) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:58PM (#44623549) Homepage

      jtownatpun.net snarled:

      The only reason you could want to ban cameras is to hide your mistakes.

      Yep. And that that's the reason behind the imbecile SF Fire Chief's ban is so obvious that she's already walking it back [sfgate.com].

      Can you say "Streisand Effect", anybody?"

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      SF's fire chief needs a swift kick in the groin.

      Would you change your mind if you'd be to learn that the SF fire chief is a she (Joanne Hayes-White)?

    • by giorgist (1208992)
      Pick up a helmet you plick ... it easy to say. If you want them to do everything safely in their business, they may as well wait to the fire goes out by it self. Its a high risk job, with shortcuts and quick decisions with some bravery. Mistakes might be made. You wont be making those mistakes, so you can be judgmental. Don't call them
    • Given that the SF fire chief is a woman, there might be better places to kick.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      SF's fire chief needs a swift kick in the groin.

      Well yes. You just cant do it with a helmet cam on.

  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:08PM (#44622961) Homepage Journal

    If you don't have anything to hide, why are you against cameras?

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:10PM (#44622987)

    They (partially) backtracked and may allow cameras:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SFFD-backtracks-may-allow-helmet-cameras-4744090.php [sfgate.com]

    In an apparent about-face, San Francisco Fire Department officials said Monday they will revisit restrictions on firefighters' use of helmet-mounted cameras after concluding that footage from the Asiana Airlines crash showed the value of the devices.

  • by cryptomancer (158526) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:12PM (#44623025)

    "In an apparent about-face, San Francisco Fire Department officials said Monday they will revisit restrictions on firefighters' use of helmet-mounted cameras after concluding that footage from the Asiana Airlines crash showed the value of the devices."

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SFFD-backtracks-may-allow-helmet-cameras-4744090.php [sfgate.com]

    • by Beorytis (1014777)

      Good. A sensible decision.

      Now the best way to handle the case of Ye Meng Yuan, if SF first responders did in fact accidentaly run her over, is with some kind of restorative justice [wikipedia.org]: Apologize to her family for the accident that happened while working to rescue others. Offer restitution and acknowledge that it is not meant to replace the young woman who is now gone.

  • "There comes a time that privacy of the individual is paramount" - Joanne Hayes-White

    Joanne Hayes-White and James Clapper should trade jobs.

  • For their protection and ours.

    Police more than firemen obviously.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:20PM (#44623113)

    laws for government:
    smashed your hard drives?
    We protected public from chinese data theft!

    cell phone stolen by cops while recording cops?
    We need it for evidence!

    no manslaughter charges for fire chief throttle spaz?
    We need to protect your privacy and ours!

    laws for citizens
    intentionally smashed someones hard drives?
    felony assault/reckless endangerment

    stolen cell phone left at bar (Apple/Engadget fiasco)?
    theft of lost property.

    ran over someone at accident scene?
    vehicular manslaughter
         

  • Not (Go)Pro anymore...

  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:29PM (#44623219)
    When cameras are outlawed, only outlaws will have cameras.

    Doesn't it seem odd that while they're adding more cameras in the streets and using surveillance drones that they're also banning helmet cams? When will they start banning individual business security cameras-- when a police or fire or other government "mistake" is recorded by them? Welcome to the modern age, cameras are ubiquitous. If ANYTHING ought to be continuously recorded on video for posterity, it's GOVERNMENTAL activities.
  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:36PM (#44623297)

    It would be more effective to ban stupid things like driving through the debris field.

    • by coyote_oww (749758) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:05PM (#44623613)
      To get at fire inside the aircraft, positioning near the aircraft is necessary. They are going to have to move around.

      The real issue is why a girl was left lying on the tarmac by first responders. The general rule is RECEO
      Rescue - get any people to safety, first-aid as needed
      Exposures - secure/protect any nearby structures or other risks
      Confinment - prevent the spread of the fire, limit it's growth
      Extinguish - put out the fire
      Overhaul - go over the scene to ensure no remaining embers/restart risk, begin investigation

      You did these things in this order, back in the day. Someone in need of rescue preempted putting out a fire. So, I would have expected a body on the ground to get priority attention. Someone(s) should have had her on a stretcher and away from the scene as quickly as possible, or at least posted a person to ensure she didn't come to further harm in the melee. Off-hand, it seems the excitement of the fire got priority. After she was covered in foam, it was near inevitable she'd get hit by something moving around the scene.

      But firefighting rules have changed over the years, so what do i know. Wait for the investigation, then decide whether to get angry or not.
      • by quantaman (517394)

        It sounds like she was incorrectly assessed as DOA, does this change the proper ordering? I could see containing a potentially dangerous fire as a higher priority than a potentially dangerous body retrieval, though I don't know if it would have been dangerous in this case. Either way I could see a "dead body" being forgotten easier than an injured person.

        • by coyote_oww (749758) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:40PM (#44623939)
          "dead" people are dead when a doctor says so, otherwise, CPR continues. There are extreme cases, where someone is obviously dead, but if there is any doubt, CPR continues. If you can't tell whether she needs CPR or not, she is alive, and her need for first aid is first priority.

          Sorry, this thing has me a little pissed. I did firefighting for a while, and the more I read or think about this, the sloppier it looks, and the angrier I get.
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        More than once, an injured person moved to safety gets up and walks back into a fire. Any trained first responder would sit a person with any casualty. The problem wasn't the fire truck, but the person who put her there, as you indicate.

        Around here it's "acceptable" to put a better-off survivor in charge of the worse off, to scream if any of the "dead" get up (any willing member of the public can be "deputized," if the need arises, it's just very rare). It wouldn't be done in practice unless there was
      • My impression from various sources (partly news, partly being in aerospace, though not aircraft) is that for aircraft crashes people often survive the crash and die from the fire (fueled by lots of jet fuel spilled around), so there's a high priority placed on putting out the fire. The news reports even said that the modern airport fire trucks start dousing the fire with foam from a pretty good distance as they rush to the scene.

        The foam certainly complicated things, and even if she was standing, a foam jet

    • Are you sure that's a good idea? It might end up killing more people than it saves. What if it delays their arrival at the aircraft, and more people die as a result? Sometimes there are no good options, only a few bad options.
  • Filming the scene may have violated both firefighters' and victims' privacy, ...

    Since when are a firefighter's (or Police) actions done in the commission of their duties, especially in a public setting, private? Furthermore, since when are the victim's (or anyone's) public setting actions/circumstances private?

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:57PM (#44623541)

    The last thing I want to see is some "lol cool" video of firefighters trudging through the burning ruins of my life. I think it's bad enough that 911 calls are made public. Those calls are made in desperate, personal times in a victim's life and they get turned into reality tv for the Nancy Grace's of the media. No need to add video to the soundtrack of my life in flames.

  • by Upton Sinclair applies here:

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
  • by dclozier (1002772) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:09PM (#44623651)
    Is that a KTVU confirmed driver's name? :D
  • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @04:11PM (#44623665)

    As others have pointed out, the original story is very out-of-date and ignores the fact that the policy has been in-place for a long time.

    Privacy vs. public access is not completely black and white. Just a few issues that could be reasonably debated (not on the Interwebs, of course, where no reasonable debate occurs) are:

    Should firefighters be rescuing people and fighting fires or d*cking around with their GoPro to get cool Youtube videos?

    As medical responders, what about HIPPA? Does a person have the right to call for help secure in the knowledge that the rescuer won't be spreading helmet-cam footage of their nude mangled body across the Internet or news?

    I see some similar issues with radio traffic and release of 911 recordings. While I enjoy checking the local goings-on with a scanner I wonder if "...respond to 1234 Main Apartment 3 for a 34 year old female suicide attempt via overdose..." is broadcasting just a bit too much personal medical info.

    And don't get me started on search-warrants. The cops *love* to issue press-releases about all the stuff they have recovered even though nobody has been charged or convicted. A couple bricks of .22, a Playboy and the pills from your doctor are "drugs, pornography and thousands of rounds of ammunition" by the time it hits the blotter. It just a bit too much power to smear someone's reputation without trial for my taste.

  • When I worked for a municipal department in Texas, we had policies concerning any and all video shot while on duty. First of all, cameras were to be carried by fire trucks. Whether they were helmet-mounted or not was actually kind of a silly question. Second, all photos or videos shot with during incidents had to be reviewed by officers before it could be used for any purpose. Third, and most importantly, it doesn't matter how many years you have been in the service, you keep yourself acutely aware of a

  • No augmented reality [youtube.com] for you my son.

  • I'm as confused as the next guy with all the conflicting news reports about this:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SFFD-backtracks-may-allow-helmet-cameras-4744090.php [sfgate.com]

  • Because as long as the publicly released footage only show brave firefighters saving members of the public its a "great tool", but as soon as they show mistakes/incompetence they are "a threat to privacy". Seems kind of like law enforcements mentality in regards to dash cam (and probably future badge-cam) footage, if it shows police in a good light it ends up on dozens of "caught on tape" style shows, but if the footage is of officers threatening to kill members of the public, shooting people in the back,

  • Filming the scene may have violated both firefighters' and victims' privacy,

    The wheels crushing them to death violated their right to life before their right to privacy was violated. The only way their survivors can defend the deceased's right to life is by violating their right to privacy. So it looks like a good tradeoff, so long as you aren't a fire chief covering up for departmental misdeeds.

  • Next thing you know, consumer dash cams will be illegal because they violate cops privacy.

  • Filming the scene may have violated both firefighters' and victims' privacy,

    I would like to hear him explain how a public employee out in public doing their duty for the benefit of the public while being paid by the public is not subject to public scrutiny?

    What, do I have to avert my eyes from firefighters while they are doing their job?

  • They have been caught trying to cover their asses, and now are backtracking on their self-serving decision:

    . http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/SFFD-backtracks-may-allow-helmet-cameras-4744090.php [sfgate.com]

    In an apparent about-face, San Francisco Fire Department officials said Monday they will revisit restrictions on firefighters' use of helmet-mounted cameras after concluding that footage from the Asiana Airlines crash showed the value of the devices.

  • Hayes-White said Friday that helmet cameras were covered by a 2009 ban on video cameras "in any department facility."

    I didn't realize that San Francisco International Airport qualified as a fire department facility.

  • by Chuckstar (799005) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @05:34PM (#44624577)

    This is especially weird for two reasons directly associated with the Asiana crash:

    1) The department has generally been lauded for being upfront and honest about having run over the girl. It's weird that the takeaway from that is to do something which appears to be just "cover your ass".

    2) I haven't seen the video, but by the accounts I've read the video corroborates the claim that running over the girl really was just a tragic accident. It's weird that in the future they want to avoid having corroborating evidence like that.

  • A lot of comments are comparing this to police wearing cameras and while they're both public servants, the situations are very different. Why? Because the majority (if not all) cameras on firefighters (FF's) helmets are owned by the FF. I've not heard of a dept that is actually buying and distributing these. TFA mentions that 2 other big FD's have banned them and the SFFD implicitly banned them in 2009 when all cameras were banned from fire stations.

    There has been mild controversy [examiner.com]in the fire service

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