The use of body cameras on police officers is a controversial issue, but the technology behind the actual cameras doesn't get much press coverage. As in turns out, the leading maker of of police body cams, Axon Enterprise, has a lot in common with social media platforms and other businesses that leverage machine learning algorithms. The company provides body cameras to police departments at no cost, hoping that the departments will subscribe to their Evidence.com data storage service. And, to save on manpower, the company is developing machine learning algorithms to automatically process raw police camera footage. While there are obvious benefits to this approach, technologists Dan Greene and Genevieve Patterson point out that there are some serious ethical and practical issues with automatically processing police footage. Axon claims that it will train its AI system using its existing trove of body-camera data-currently standing at 30 petabytes of video, collected by 200,000 officers. The system will then be able to redact the video to protect people's privacy, interpret and describe in written form the recorded events, and eventually help generate police reports from those descriptions. Such automated tools would free police officers to perform more valuable tasks, and they would create a searchable database of police interactions with the public. Axon has also filed a patent for real-time face recognition, which a number of its competitors are also actively developing for police body cameras. Almost two years ago, Axon founder and CEO Rick Smith predicted in an investor earnings call that the company would roll out its AI-assisted video systems in 2018, but so far the capabilities of Axon's Evidence.com product are more mundane. It can automatically blur or black out faces or otherwise redact personally identifiable information (after someone marks who or what is to be so masked) and tag videos and other evidence with information recorded in a police dispatch system, such as the case number, location, and type of encounter. This is far short of what’s been described in Axon's sales pitches. At the 2018 Axon Accelerate Conference in June, for example, Smith said, "One day we will be able to have AI work on [body-camera] video and in-car video to create a first draft of a report that an officer can go into and edit."