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Cellphones Crime Handhelds Privacy

Subject To a "Stop and Frisk"? There's an App For That 201

Posted by timothy
from the get-insurance-on-the-phone dept.
lightbox32 writes "The New York Civil Liberties Union released a free smartphone application on Wednesday that allows people to record videos of and report police 'stop and frisk' activity, a practice widely denounced by civil rights groups as mostly targeting minorities and almost never resulting in arrests. The app was thoroughly criticized by the New York Police Department, which said that the tool might prove useful for criminals."
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Subject To a "Stop and Frisk"? There's an App For That

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  • Porcupine 411 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:17AM (#40267503) Homepage

    Liberty activists in New Hampshire have had a system set up like this for years, Porcupine 411 [porcupine411.com]. It's just a basic audio recording and distribution system, so it works on anyone's cell phone, not just smart phones. Call the number and, typically within less than a minute after you hang up, every subscriber receives either an MMS message on their phone, or an email with an MP3 attachment.

  • wait, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:51AM (#40267643)

    It's a useful thing to be able to videotape cops. It's a check on them ABUSING THEIR POSITION [louisvillepeace.org], which they often do [time.com]. It is also allowed [wikipedia.org] by [barkingdogs.net] Law [legislation.gov.uk]. I'd go one step further than that and say that it's an obligation to self to do all one can to protect oneself since NOBODY ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT FOR YOU. Do not ever kid yourself that anyone will.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:59AM (#40267697)
    The article alluded to the ACLU keeping the up loaders info along with the video. If that's the case, the person filming could conceivably become a witness and the video used in a court case. As was noted, that could help law enforcement (or defendant claiming police abuse) defending a stop or developing a case against someone who turned out to have committed a crime.
  • Useful to criminals (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beowulfcluster (603942) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:04AM (#40267723)
    "The app was thoroughly criticized by the New York Police Department, which said that the tool might prove useful for criminals."

    Food and water might prove useful to criminals as well, let's ban that as well.
  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:35AM (#40267899)

    It is also pretty handy to know where the police are if you, you know, want to know what your tax money is being used for.

    I used to work third shift, and took lunch every day around 2:30 AM. Every day, I would drive down to the gas station a block from work and get a muffin and some coffee, and every day, there would be a minimum of 5 cop cars and 8-10 officers hanging out drinking free coffee. According to the clerk, they pretty much hang out there all night, shooting the shit, drinking the coffee, doing fuck all.

    I pass one cop every morning on my way to work now and the guy is asleep almost every time I see him. He's hidden back behind a store (where he must think nobody notices him) in his cruiser, head thrown back, mouth wide open almost every time. Part of me really wants to walk up and knock on his window just to see what his response to me catching him asleep is, but self-preservation obviously keeps me from making a big deal about it.

    Still, part of me wants to turn in a complaint (if he's on the job, he damn sure shouldn't be sleeping), but after watching this video [youtube.com], I think turning in a complaint form would be a quicker way for me getting arrested and thrown in a cell than knocking on the officer's window while he's sleeping.

  • Police in the hood (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gone.fishing (213219) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @11:00AM (#40268691) Journal

    I live in the toughest part of Minneapolis which is a fairly large city. It is bad enough so I have a carry permit and carry my pistol whenever I go out, even to mow the lawn. I've had to go for my weapon to avoid being robbed in the busy parking lot of a local store.

    Watching drug deals going down is a normal thing to see, some bus shelters serve almost as drive through windows. The weekly police reports always reveal multiple felon in possession of firearms charges, guns taken away from juveniles, and people arrested for other crimes having weapons. Every week there are people shot, stabbed, and gravely injured.

    I see police stops and searches all the time and sometimes stopped and filmed them. I keep a respectful distance, always make it apparent that I am taking pictures or video. I never try to interfere with or distract the officers while they are doing their job. I've never been asked to stop taking pictures, I've never been asked to step back or leave.

    There are bloggers in this same neighborhood who have not had the same experience, some have had their phones/cameras seized as evidence, been threatened with arrest, and other things (or so they say on their blogs). But I have to say, these bloggers are loudmouths in their blogs and I have to believe that they probably push the envelope in real life as well.

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @03:56PM (#40270233)

    I believe a simple solution that would prevent a lot of police brutality and sometimes even murder would be to require every police officer to record every encounter they have with a suspect. If there is no recording and no unbiased witnesses (as in someone who isn't a cop or other government agent) then the suspect is presumed 100% innocent without a trial. Full stop. And the recording should be immediately uploaded to a police server which no police officer has any direct access to without the presence of a witness representing the people. Ideally someone who was themselves a victim of police brutality. Or it could be uploaded somewhere public where anyone can watch the footage and where the police don't have any ability to remove or delete it. Time after time the police have shown that they cannot be trusted, that they will abuse their power if given half a chance, and that many are willing to act as badly as the most violent criminal. Any search for "police brutality" on youtube can tell you that. It's idiotic that we still treat them like they are some kind of angel impervious to even so much as an impure thought. They are just people. People who in many cases used to beat up other kids for their lunch money. Now they have a badge and a gun and no real limits on their actions. To them it's like heaven. To us, a nightmare.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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