Weapons and picture frames: Taser International acquires a photo sharing service


It may seem strange that one of the country's largest non-lethal weapons manufacturer is purchasing a Seattle-based tech startup that turns smartphones and tablets into digital picture frames, but Taser International is steadily growing beyond its widely adopted electric stun gun and into the first-person video market with products like Axon Flex and Evidence.com.

The New York Times reports that Taser International will be acquiring Familiar, a digital picture frame service that allows friends and family to share pictures and video across a variety of devices, such as computers, smartphones and tablets. Five people from the startup will be joining Taser International, presumably working on building the infrastructure for more advanced handling the contents of the always-worn police officer camera.

Helps determine if the use of force is reasonable

Both police departments and Taser International have reason to document the use of the weapons. Although Tasers are categorized as non-lethal, the devices still pose health risks and have been cited as the cause of numerous deaths. Equipping police officers and Tasers with a camera helps document each incident to protect both officers and Taser's brand reputation by determining if the use of force is reasonable.

Currently, Axon Flex videos are uploaded to Evidence.com, where police officers can view, manage, and share captured clips. The acquisition of Familiar could bring an expansion of this service to include support for a variety of different devices, which could lead to an even wider adoption of the police camera system.

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