Are Body Cameras on Politicians the Next Wave in Digital Transparency?

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Body cameras on police officers are meant to bring more transparency to what those in law enforcement do and to discourage unethical behavior. Whether they have succeeded is still a matter for debate, but could the use of body cameras on members of Congress bring more transparency to and help curb corruption in our political system? One candidate, Jason Lindstrom (D) of Arizona, thinks so.

In a recent debate, Lindstrom committed to wearing a body camera for the duration of his term. The moderator of that debate questioned the legality of wearing a camera during the legislative session, and Lindstrom responded:

I’m going to wear it wherever I can … but if someone tells me I can’t … they’re going to be on camera telling me that I can’t … and as a public we can decide whether or not we need to change that. … I’m also going to talk to you about that reason and decide if that’s something that needs to change, because I’m your representative. Is there something they’re telling me that they don’t want you to hear?  I hope not, and I hope there is nothing I’m saying that I wouldn’t want you to hear as well.  I think we all need to be participants in the system as it was designed.

While it may seem unlikely that politicians en masse will adopt this unorthodox approach to transparency, at least in the short term, that approach does appear to be resonating with potential Lindstrom voters. His example could set an interesting precedent for future public figures in a digital age.

Two of the leading makers of the body cameras being used by police are Digital Ally Inc. (NASDAQ: DGLY) and TASER International Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR). The latter, best known for its stun guns, is the market leader, with more than 10,000 body cameras already in use in the field. Digital Ally, in addition to wearable cameras, also makes police cruiser dashboard cameras.

These two may not be the only game in town, though. Tech behemoth Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has already made great strides in wearable technology with its Google Glass, and it isn’t hard to image the company taking advantage of the growing demand for body cameras suitable for what police, not to mention politicians, get up to. Another potential player is GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO), maker of wearable and mountable action cameras.

So if 535 members of Congress, not to mention countless state and local politicians, were to begin wearing body cameras, setting a precedent that might be followed in other industries where more transparency would be a good idea, it definitely would be a boon for these makers of body cameras and other wearable technology, and likely it would encourage others to get into the market as well.

Now if we could only get politicians to display their “sponsorships” on their attire the way NASCAR drivers do.