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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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  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:03AM (#40267441) Journal

    Weren't there cases of people getting in more trouble recording their police encounters?

    • Re:Record Videos (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gabrill (556503) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:09AM (#40267465)
    • Re:Record Videos (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hyperhaplo (575219) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:09AM (#40267471)
      • Re:Record Videos (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hyperhaplo (575219) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:17AM (#40267501)

        As it stands, in many places, it is legal to record video in public, including of police and their actions.

        As it stands, in many places, it is illegal for the police to harass citizens who decide to record video in public.

        • Re:Record Videos (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:00AM (#40268025) Journal

          It needs a "live feed" option to put it live to some web site that records it, just in case the police seize the phone for video evidence then "lose" the video.

          • Re:Record Videos (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:04AM (#40268045) Journal

            And it needs to be fast and easy. Tap the app, boom, instant video transmission and recording. During an incident is not the time to have to plow through all kinds of crap.

            • by cayenne8 (626475)

              And it needs to be fast and easy. Tap the app, boom, instant video transmission and recording. During an incident is not the time to have to plow through all kinds of crap.

              Very true.

              Darn...was looking for the iPhone version...then, read it won't be out till later this summer.

              At the very least...even on a locked phone (you DO keep your phone locked to keep the cops from looking at it easily, right?)....you need to be able to somehow easily hit the 'record' button quickly and not have it turn off till YOU

          • by trawg (308495)

            I keep Qik video [qik.com] on my phone for this reason. It's an Android app that is developed by (or owned by?) the Skype guys. Videos are "instantly" uploaded online, although there's presumably a small time gap during which the upload is happening that the phone could be stopped/destroyed/etc.

      • Re:Record Videos (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bengie (1121981) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:17AM (#40268101)
        btw, thanks for the link

        "the police department purposefully targeted black and Hispanic neighborhoods and said officers are pressured to meet quotas as part of the program and are punished if they don't"

        "It's taken more than 6,000 guns off the streets in the last eight years, and this year we are on pace to have the lowest number of murders in recorded history"

        I could give a fly f*ck about their effectiveness, they're breaking the law to up hold the law?! String them up and hang the bodies in public as an example. What someone in power knowingly and actively ignores the constitution, they need the wrath of God to fall down on them to remind people not to do that.

        Above ALL crimes, someone abusing their power and ignoring someone else's rights is the worst.

        The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
        • Replying to undo an incorrect mod. Consider this a +1

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          String them up and hang the bodies in public as an example

          You're no better than the cops by saying that.

          First of all, it has yet to be determined if the department is actively targeting specific groups. It may be the case, but that's why it is in court. Some groups commit crimes at a higher per-capita rate than others. So thus, a higher arrest rate for one specific group is not in of itself evidence of discrimination.

          Second, assuming the police are not profiling, then the stops are legal. I don't like it, b

          • by DarkVader (121278)

            A Terry stop (and the court WAS wrong to allow them, hopefully a better court will overturn someday) still requires that the cop have a reasonable suspicion that the person stopped committed a crime. That's not what's going on in NYC. They're stopping random people on the street, with no reasonable suspicion.

            What the NYCLU is doing here is building a body of evidence for the court challenge to NYC's illegal practice.

        • by rhook (943951)

          Those quota's are illegal and the NYPD is being sued over them. This case is likely what caused this app to be created.

          http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/02/24/44142.htm [courthousenews.com]

        • by VMaN (164134)

          "Could give a fuck" makes no sense in this context whatsoever....

          • Perhaps we should string up all the idiots who don't understand that "could" is not a synonym of "couldn't."

        • "It's taken more than 6,000 guns off the streets in the last eight years, and this year we are on pace to have the lowest number of murders in recorded history"

          The assumption here is that this is (a) all true, and (b) a direct result of this policy.

        • "...they're breaking the law to up hold the law?! String them up and hang the bodies in public as an example."

          Doesn't sound very legal either...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:22AM (#40267519)

      I'm black, and I grew up in areas commonly referred to as "the ghetto" by outsiders. Luckily, I took school seriously, and I was able to escape this environment, unlike many of the people I grew up with.

      Let's cut the bullshit, though. In most major American cities, it is blacks and Hispanics committing the majority of the crimes. I don't like this fact, but I can't deny it. Nobody else should, either, regardless of his or her background.

      I completely understand why the police may target blacks and Hispanics. It's not about race, though. It's about targeting those who are most likely to commit crimes. It's about targeting those whose culture, not race, emphasizes violence, substance abuse, prostitution and crime.

      I don't buy the line of reasoning that it's poverty that causes these people to be more inclined to partake in criminal behavior. I grew up in that very same poverty, and the only thing I did differently than many of my peers was to study hard, and avoid drugs and gangs. It was that simple. In fact, if they just avoided spending huge sums of money on drugs, many of them would no longer be poor!

      I'm black, and I've traveled extensively throughout America and many other nations. I have never run into problems with the police anywhere. But perhaps that's because I don't go out of my way to wear baggy pants with the waist at my ankles, I don't wear a straight-brimmed baseball hat with the price tag still on it, I don't drive around blaring hip hop or rap music, I don't choose to talk like I'm mentally disabled, and I don't partake in crime.

      Many of the people who whine and moan about being targeted by the police merely need to clean up their acts. If they don't act like criminals, and act civilized instead, then they won't raise the suspicion of the police and wouldn't be stopped. Yes, it's that simple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I totally agree. If you don't dress like me then you should be harassed by authorities regardless of your innocents.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by c0lo (1497653)

        But perhaps that's because I don't go out of my way to wear baggy pants with the waist at my ankles, I don't wear a straight-brimmed baseball hat with the price tag still on it, I don't drive around blaring hip hop or rap music, I don't choose to talk like I'm mentally disabled, and I don't partake in crime.

        Many of the people who whine and moan about being targeted by the police merely need to clean up their acts. If they don't act like criminals, and act civilized instead, then they won't raise the suspicion of the police and wouldn't be stopped. Yes, it's that simple.

        Gosh, this is a day I'm obtuse: you say that people who wear baggy pants and straight-brimmed baseball hats, driving around... (etc... up to and excluding the partake in crime)... are, it's that simple, actually performing dirty down acts (which need to be cleaned up) and are most likely to commit crimes?

        'Cause if that's what you are saying, then the application the TFA mentions comes not a moment too early: I imagine that at least the ones that are not that likely to be criminals would be happier to have t

      • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@@@carpanet...net> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:55AM (#40267667) Homepage

        Yes and so what? They are still supposed to follow the law and respect peoples liberties. If they are actuallty only targeting criminals, then why do these actions so infrequently lead to arrest?

        Besides that...if they are targeting criminals, and these are legal actions within the powers of their job, then why should they fear having their actions documented? If they are doing nothing wrong then they should be happy to have people showing them doing the fine job that they do.

        Its THAT simple.

        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:11AM (#40267765)

          Yes and so what? They are still supposed to follow the law and respect peoples liberties. If they are actuallty only targeting criminals, then why do these actions so infrequently lead to arrest?

          New York is talking about decriminalizing possession of small amount of marijuana, in case you were unaware.

          Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is punishable by a fine.

          You can't fine someone for having marijuana unless you know they have it. One way to find out is to stop and frisk them.

          So, they're not targeting criminals, they're targeting people they can issue tickets to.

          Think of it as a speed trap for pedestrians....

          • "One way to find out is to stop and frisk them. "

            Where is the probable cause?

            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              by Rhodri Mawr (862554)
              Probable cause? Odour, pupil dilation, behaviour. You can smell a dope user from a distance and you don't need to be a trained sniffer dog to do so, either.
              • "... You can smell a dope user from a distance ...

                That's because he's a dirty hippie! But seriously, you can't smell a pot user from two feet away outdoors, never mind "from a distance". What you can do is claim that you smell it and then go on national TV and refer to it as narcotics just to make it truly clear that you have no idea what you are talking about, which is about 100% more likely to happen.

            • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:34AM (#40268193)

              Where is the probable cause?

              Isn't a question of probable cause. USING marijuana isn't the issue, POSSESSING it is.

              Are they profiling? You betcha!

              Is the profile something on the order of "blacks are more likely to commit crimes"? Nope. It's more like "young black men are more likely to have some weed on them, and we can get ~$150 in revenue from ticketing them if we see it"....

              Note that sobriety checkpoints don't have to have probable cause either.

              • by snowgirl (978879)

                Note that sobriety checkpoints don't have to have probable cause either.

                Sobriety checkpoints don't need probably cause, because they're stopping everyone.

                If sobriety checkpoints selectively chose who to actually stop, then they would require probable cause for those whom they are stopping.

                Short of a cop stopping and frisking every person they walk past, "stop and frisk" requires probable cause. No less in most jurisdictions, they need reasonable suspicion that you are carrying A WEAPON.

                • by adamstew (909658)

                  A cop stopping and frisking every person that they walk past as a "stop and frisk" is definitely very illegal and unconstitutional. It's not a matter of frisking some people and frisking everyone. They are not allowed to stop and frisk ANYONE without probable cause.

                  The reason it's different for driving is because you don't have a right to drive. You are licensed to drive, that license can be revoked, and one of the conditions of receiving that license is that you are required to stop for a police officer

            • by EdIII (1114411)

              Long hair, those trippy t-shirts, flowers, and kind of flowers on your person, hemp based clothing, colored glasses.

              If you use the words, "Like", "Yeah", or "Man" in a single sentence.

              Ohh, and if you have Lesbian Seagull playing that is instant probable cause.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            This guy points out how police are misusing their powers to frisk people so they can find marijuana and issue a profitable ticket, and this is modded flamebait?

            Ok, Hitler Youth.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:14AM (#40267787)

          I'm going to guess that you've never really ventured out of white, suburban America. You've never spent any significant time in the run-down, black-majority portions of some of the nation's major cities, right? You've never been to the bad parts of Philadelphia, Chicago, N.Y.C., L.A., Detroit, Atlanta or Houston, have you?

          The suburban reality that you're familiar with is very different from the reality in the "bad part of town". Maybe only two or three people in your entire subdivision have even faced some sort of serious criminal prosecution, never mind an actual conviction. In the ghetto, however, it's not unusual to find 85% to 90% of the population who has actually served jail time for committing a serious crime. It's truly that bad in some places, even if you choose not to accept this reality.

          The gang culture is inherently a criminal one. Committing crime is the most important aspect of this lifestyle. It's virtually impossible to be a part of this culture without having been involved in criminal activity.

          When the police see somebody who goes out of their way to be a part of this culture, it's almost guaranteed that such a person has committed some serious criminal activity in the past. We aren't talking about jaywalking, or speeding, or getting a parking ticket. We're talking about real crimes like assault, robbery, and murder. The police have every reason to be suspicious of such people. After all, law-abiding people don't wear their pants around their ankles, don't get their teeth gold-plated although they're simultaneously unemployed and collecting welfare, and they don't go out of their way to appear to be part of a wholly-criminal culture.

          • by 0111 1110 (518466)

            It's also not unusual to find that 90% of 'police' gang members have committed some kind of violent crime. They should be stopping and frisking each other. No one has as much disrespect for the law as the police themselves. Police become police because they want to be able to commit violent crimes without having to worry about the law. They would have joined street gangs themselves but they were too afraid of going to jail or getting shot.

          • Maybe, maybe not. But two points:

            Saying the way someone dresses justifiably gets them stopped for stop and frisk is akin to saying that a girl deserves to be raped for the way she dresses, a difference in degree yes but not as much as you might think.

            If the cops did the same in a suburban neighborhood you can bet a ton of lawsuits would result and the courts might just come up with different rulings.

      • by markdavis (642305)

        +1 Insightful for parent poster.

        It is far less the color of one's skin, but the way people choose to present themselves or act. When one acts like or mimic people who do not care about the law, or don't care about other people, then that automatically puts one at a disadvantage.

      • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:19AM (#40267813)

        I'm black, and I've traveled extensively throughout America and many other nations. I have never run into problems with the police anywhere. But perhaps that's because I don't go out of my way to wear baggy pants with the waist at my ankles, I don't wear a straight-brimmed baseball hat with the price tag still on it, I don't drive around blaring hip hop or rap music, I don't choose to talk like I'm mentally disabled, and I don't partake in crime.

        What on earth does my method of dress have to do with my level of intelligence? Why does the manner in which I speak imply something about my character? I'm educated, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start dressing like a hipster douche in a GQ ad, and certainly not to avoid being hassled by police that have no business harassing me in the first place. I've been in those situations, too, although when I was growing up, it was the grunge look (flannel shirts, chain wallets) that was a target by our local police. Just wearing a Tool shirt [dementedferret.com] was enough to get me harassed. Hell, just carrying (not even riding, just carrying) a skateboard was enough to get someone harassed by the cops in my town.

        I had a 4.0 GPA, perfect attendance, and volunteered, but that all goes out the window because I'm wearing a t-shirt for a band the cops don't like? Come on.

        Many of the people who whine and moan about being targeted by the police merely need to clean up their acts.

        Thanks for the tip, mein fuhrer.

        • by Jiro (131519)

          Why does the manner in which I speak imply something about my character?

          Because the world doesn't run in a geekish way. Geeks and people with borderline Asperger's think that everything is a logical deduction and that if there is not a straight chain of 100% causality between dressing in some ways and being a criminal, making the connection must be worthless. There is such a thing as probability, and there's certainly such a thing as social cues.

        • What on earth does my method of dress have to do with my level of intelligence? Why does the manner in which I speak imply something about my character? I'm educated, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start dressing like a hipster douche in a GQ ad, and certainly not to avoid being hassled by police that have no business harassing me in the first place. I've been in those situations, too, although when I was growing up, it was the grunge look (flannel shirts, chain wallets) that was a target by our local police. Just wearing a Tool shirt [dementedferret.com] was enough to get me harassed. Hell, just carrying (not even riding, just carrying) a skateboard was enough to get someone harassed by the cops in my town.

          I had a 4.0 GPA, perfect attendance, and volunteered, but that all goes out the window because I'm wearing a t-shirt for a band the cops don't like? Come on.

          I am for freedom, and if I choose to exercise my freedoms in a legal but socially unacceptable manner, I understand society cannot stop me but nor is society required to embrace my behavior.

          Your behavior, dress, and speech means everything in the real world. For people we don't know, just met, or see passing by we judge them based on these characteristics. Welcome to the real world. You are free to dress like a thug, even if you have an 200 IQ and use your genius to clone puppies, but I am also free to l

        • So what you're saying is that you deliberately behaved and presented yourself in a way consistent with people who regularly did things that attracted the cops attention, and can't understand why it attracted attention?

          There is a *reason* that the stereotypes that lead to profiling arise -- it's not just because some cop somewhere thinks it's inappropriate. So yes - when you dress and act like a stereotype, you should absolutely expect to get treated as one. It's not fair, but outward appearances and past

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        I remember reading a story a long while back about Will Smith getting pulled over because police thought he stole the car. You know, black guy in a fancy car in a fancy neighborhood.

        As much as I agree with what you've said, I also think there are better ways than hiring more police to put more blacks/etc in jail. We need social reform, not stronger/stricter enforcement. Better education, stop making pot illegal, etc. The cycle must be broken.
    • Yes there were. But the resulting court cases are consistently deciding in favor of the public right to record police activity.

      For example: Motorcyclist Wins Taping Case Against State Police [slashdot.org]
    • by kheldan (1460303)
      Sure they did, because criminals don't want to be recorded committing their crimes and get rather upset with the people doing the recording.
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:09AM (#40267467)

    If you've done nothing wrong officer, you have nothing to worry about, do you?

  • While it may serve some use with the targeted person(audio), this seems targeted primarily towards the witnesses to the act.

  • Porcupine 411 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:17AM (#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 @08:51AM (#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.

    • Oh, on the BarkingDogs link: in the UK, you can covertly record a conversation you are involved in (in person or on the phone), as long as one person in the conversation is aware and consents to the conversation being recorded. That'd be the one holding the recording device (ie, you). So, you're covered. 1998 (c.29) Section 36.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I'm surprised nobody brought up this case: John T Williams [youtube.com] (warning - rather disturbing footage)

      A guy shuffles across the screen at 0:58. We hear Officer Birke yell at Williams to stop, then at 1:15 he issues an order to drop the knife Williams is carrying, and at 1:21 he opens fire. He never once identified himself as police. The officer was not charged, because he claimed that what was going on off-screen was that Williams was turning in a way that could threaten Birke. This is despite plenty of counterin

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:59AM (#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.
    • 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.

      Actually, it was the Police Commissioner saying that:

      “It's one thing when providers learn what pizza or movies you like. It’s another to create a database of stops and arrests by police,” [Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne] said in an email statement. “On the plus side, the videos may capture images of suspects in the vicinity of a stop and be helpful to the police in that regard. Presumably, the NYCLU database will [include] the names of the videographers and provide a rich vein of potential witnesses to crimes being investigated by the NYPD and other authorities.”

      Translation: we're coming after the videographers. You upload a video, expect a knock at your door from a hostile police officer, demanding to know what you saw, why you were in the area, maybe you were part of the crime, what's your alibi, mind if I look around your house, we're going to need you to come downtown and answer some questions, etc.

      • Actually, it was the Police Commissioner saying that:

        “It's one thing when providers learn what pizza or movies you like. It’s another to create a database of stops and arrests by police,” [Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne] said in an email statement. “On the plus side, the videos may capture images of suspects in the vicinity of a stop and be helpful to the police in that regard. Presumably, the NYCLU database will [include] the names of the videographers and provide a rich vein of potential witnesses to crimes being investigated by the NYPD and other authorities.”

        Translation: we're coming after the videographers. You upload a video, expect a knock at your door from a hostile police officer, demanding to know what you saw, why you were in the area, maybe you were part of the crime, what's your alibi, mind if I look around your house, we're going to need you to come downtown and answer some questions, etc.

        While some individual cop may decide to do that; my experience is that most police agencies don't have the time to waste doing that nor, in general, are even interested in doing what you say. They really do want to catch bad guys while not trampling civil rights, believe it or not. That's not to say they all are perfect or card carrying ACLU members, but they do care about following the law.

        • Actually, it was the Police Commissioner saying that:

          “It's one thing when providers learn what pizza or movies you like. It’s another to create a database of stops and arrests by police,” [Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne] said in an email statement. “On the plus side, the videos may capture images of suspects in the vicinity of a stop and be helpful to the police in that regard. Presumably, the NYCLU database will [include] the names of the videographers and provide a rich vein of potential witnesses to crimes being investigated by the NYPD and other authorities.”

          Translation: we're coming after the videographers. You upload a video, expect a knock at your door from a hostile police officer, demanding to know what you saw, why you were in the area, maybe you were part of the crime, what's your alibi, mind if I look around your house, we're going to need you to come downtown and answer some questions, etc.

          While some individual cop may decide to do that; my experience is that most police agencies don't have the time to waste doing that nor, in general, are even interested in doing what you say. They really do want to catch bad guys while not trampling civil rights, believe it or not. That's not to say they all are perfect or card carrying ACLU members, but they do care about following the law.

          Sure, but they want to protect their own before they do any of those things. That's why, for example, the police department here in Boston fought all the way to the 1st Circuit of Appeals to protect their officers who arrested the guy filming them beating a guy in Boston Common. That's why, for example, a guy who filmed cops was arrested, beaten, and had his phone erased. That's why these people [pixiq.com] were arrested.

          And most importantly, that's why the police commissioner in the article is laying the ground work

        • by 0111 1110 (518466)

          They really do want to catch bad guys while not trampling civil rights, believe it or not.

          Uh. No they don't. Believe it or not. They are not there for any kind of philosophical reason. Most cops don't know or care about philosophy any more than any members of a street gang. What they do know is what to say in order to fool gullible people like you into believing their bullshit. They are there because they love their job, which from their point of view is to beat the shit out of as many people as possible and maybe even occasionally get to shoot some. Don't ever, ever forget that they are not on

  • Useful to criminals (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beowulfcluster (603942) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:04AM (#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 Mashiki (184564)

      Well they do have a point though a small one. The real problem is though, is most police dept's in the US don't currently have 'on uniform' recording either. So you're only getting one side of the stop/arrest. In Canada about half of our services now use these when doing a stop/arrest. So the last thing I heard on the issue when you don't have one was: Cross you t's, dot your i's, and don't be a fucking retard and follow the rules and procedures when doing a stop.

      • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @04:56PM (#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.

  • A pencil and a piece of paper are useful for criminal activity. So are food, shelter, oxygen, roads and cars. Ban everything!
  • an app that can record video! wait...can't every phone from the last 10 years do that?
  • Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne denounced the app, saying criminals would find it “useful” because it would alert them to where police stops were happening.

    It sounds like someone needs to do their policing inside their private residence, instead of in public. If you just leave a cop sitting on the front seat of your car where any citizen can see it, you shouldn't expect your cop habit to remain a private matter.

  • by epp_b (944299) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:06AM (#40268053)

    I'm getting really tired of hearing that $technology or $application_of_technology may be "useful to criminals".

    In a supposedly free country (yeah, I know, who am I kidding?), shouldn't we always err on the side of liberty instead of trying to "pre-regulate" criminal activity?

    • I'm getting really tired of hearing that $technology or $application_of_technology may be "useful to criminals".

      In a supposedly free country (yeah, I know, who am I kidding?), shouldn't we always err on the side of liberty instead of trying to "pre-regulate" criminal activity?

      Nah, Minority Report [imdb.com] gives the legislatures huge boners. So do the phrases "for the children" and "to prevent terrorism."

    • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:27AM (#40268155)

      In a supposedly free country (yeah, I know, who am I kidding?), shouldn't we always err on the side of liberty instead of trying to "pre-regulate" criminal activity?

      Precisely! That goes with a lot of issues lately...gun control, gay marriage, etc...why do so many look for ways to reduce liberty just because they disagree with something? That's a byproduct of freedom, get used to it.

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:43AM (#40268257) Journal

    They get to beat up JUDGES [timesledger.com] with impunity, and nobody on the force sees anything. Sure, you can record all this data. The ACLU will do press releases Maybe they'll even get a judgement in Federal court. Won't stop the activity, because the state courts (including the one run by the judge who got judo-chopped) believe in the infallibility of cops.

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

    by gone.fishing (213219) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @12:00PM (#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 Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @12:31PM (#40268877) Homepage

    The definition of a criminal:

    1. Anyone who records police officers.
    2. Anyone who gets stopped and frisked.

  • by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:27PM (#40271085)

    Police car mounted infra-red LED's have been photographed in Montreal during the current student uprising. The LED's blast out infra-red, which while invisible to the human eye will overload digital camera sensors if they're not equipped with an IR filter (virtually all inexpensive cameras are not). The picture I saw was taken on a bus, the view out the sides of the bus were unaffected, but the windshield was completely white. The person taking the camera said the screen went white whenever the cop car was in its field of view.

    Long story short, in Montreal at least, cops are clearly under orders to abuse and harass protesters. RIP Canada.

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