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Another Mobile App Lets Cops Use Cellphones Like Body Cams

Blueforce Development is actually the second company to try the concept out in recent years, but its app plugin would allow users to integrate with facial and object recognition software for the video they stream.

What would happen if police used their cellphones to record what they’re doing instead of body cameras?

That’s a question the startup Callyo sought to answer a coupleof  years ago when it introduced a video streaming app. Now, a second company — Blueforce Development — is trying out something similar, but with added capabilities like AI-powered facial and object recognition.

Blueforce partnered with another company, Wowza, to create a plugin for its app Blueforce Tactical that allows users to stream video from mobile devices.

“The app supports location sharing, sensor fusion, and incident collaboration,” a case study about the plugin reads. “Streams can also be integrated with a suite of cognitive services such as facial recognition, object identification, and character recognition (e.g., insignia, signage, written word).”

Blueforce Tactical is a situational awareness app that allows users to see where other members of their teams are and share information with one another, so video streaming would essentially serve as one more function for police — or anyone else — using the app.

The use of AI to bring face and object recognition to public safety videos has been a controversial development, with some decrying the technology as an erosion of privacy and others pointing to inaccuracies in face matching. San Francisco recently banned its city officials from using facial recognition.

Blueforce Development offers two other apps for similar customers, and entered into a program earlier this year that allows companies to work with Verizon 5G technology as they develop technology for first responders.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.