New Paper Outlines Best Practices for Processing Video Records

If the government produces a record, requesters will want it. That is according to a new paper published by the Video Redaction Working Group of the Chief FOIA Officers Council’s Technology Committee, which describes ways that agencies can meet this challenge when processing requests for video records such as law enforcement body camera footage, security footage of federal facilities, video conference meeting recordings, or training videos. 

The Video Redaction Working Group of the Technology Committee asserts that “FOIA professionals must be able to respond to requests for emerging types of Federal records within the statutory mandates.” The document lists a number of best practices for agencies to consider as they review and redact video records. Those best practices include recognizing that agencies will receive requests for video records, and planning ahead for the review and redaction of those records in terms of technology, staffing and time. 

Other best practices include:

  • Right method, right release: agencies must apply the right method of segregating exempt and releasable content from video records, whether that means blurring or “blacking out” portions of the screen, artificially modulating voices, or other methods;
  • Communication is key: agencies should communicate with requesters early and often regarding the special considerations that processing requests for video records demands; and
  • Retention schedules rule: agencies should know what video records they create or maintain and how long they are required to retain them. 

You can read the entire report here