Accelerating Jury Trials with Instant Access to Videos

According to UT Austin’s website, Police officers with University of Texas at Austin will now be equipped with portable video cameras that will be worn in front of their uniforms. The cameras will record official interactions only such as responding to emergency calls or making an arrest. The digital recordings will be retained for 90 days for routine content and for one year or longer if related to a specific criminal investigation. The purpose of these videos is manyfold such as deterring somebody from taking an irrational action while dealing with officers or using the videos as proof when needed in a trial.

To store, protect and access all these videos quickly, there needs to be a robust infrastructure and architecture that scales to millions of recordings.

From a technology standpoint, the requirements would look like:

  1. Data retention – Retain the data as long as needed as per the policy. This could easily grow to PB of storage.
  2. Protection – Protect these videos via data backups. However video data is not compressible, and so backups using deduplication won’t be effective.
  3. Instant Access – Traditional mechanisms of backing up the data to tape won’t make sense because it would take too long to recover and access the recordings.
  4. Immutability – Nobody should be able to tamper the video. And there should be audit trail when someone accesses the video.

Instant access with long term retention, but no tapes and no deduplication!!! What if there was a solution that can do the following?

  1. Backup only the new video files. This will reduce the backup window and make the whole process very efficient.
  2. Object storage is elastic, cheap and would be a great medium to store video files. So you could backup these video files to either on premises object storage or a cloud object storage such as Google NL, Azure, AWS IAS. This eliminates the 10s of PB of storage management headache for IT operations.
  3. The video files won’t compress and can’t be deduped. So it doesn’t make sense to use deduplication. Moreover instant access from these backups are needed during trials. So the best solution would be to store data in such a way that multi GB or TB of video files can be instantly accessed even from object storage, within minutes.
  4. The data should be encrypted and stored in object storage.
  5. And lastly every time someone accesses the video files, there should be an audit trail.

An ideal solution would use ObjectStorage to store video data for short and long-term needs.  The security model must include strong access controls and auditing to track who has rights to access the information and who has actually viewed.  Finally, instant video access is critical to ensure that footage is available on-demand which is particularly critical since lives could literally depend on it