While the Taser brand is strongly associated with weapons that give you an electric shock and are sometimes wielded by police officers who appear to be looking for a fight, the company is currently rebranding by expanding into body cameras for police officers. And like any company trying to fire a little juice into their rebranding, they're doing a good old fashioned giveaway, announcing that they'll give free body cameras away to any police department in America.
The company formerly known as Taser will be now be known as Axon, according to TechCrunch, and in order to get people real amped up for this exciting new brand, the company will give any police department that asks a full set of Axon 2 cameras to use for a year, and the training on how to use them.
Axon's CEO is thinking about the future of body cameras as incredible time saving devices in addition to (potential) police misconduct reduction devices, telling Quartz that future versions of the camera will come with advanced AI that automatically goes through all the data it collects to come up with automated police reports. Oh, also there's no promise the camera won't come with facial recognition software down the line but haha just ignore that potential dystopia.
One city that for sure won't be taking advantage of this generous offer to expand the surveillance state is New York City. We're locked into a contract with competing body camera manufacturer VieVu, despite the protestations of Comptroller Scott Stringer's office when the NYPD went ahead with the $6.4 million contract. As of press time, neither Taser/Axon or the NYPD could tell us whether the free camera offer was ever part of Taser/Axon's bid.