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Crime Cellphones EU

Dutch Police Build a Pokemon Go-Style App For Hunting Wanted Criminals (csoonline.com) 62

"How can the police induce citizens to help investigate crime? By trying to make it 'cool' and turning it into a game that awards points for hits," reports CSO. mrwireless writes: Through their 'police of the future' innovation initiative, and inspired by Pokemon Go, the Dutch police are building an app where you can score points by photographing the license plates of stolen cars. When a car is reported stolen the app will notify people in the neighbourhood, and then the game is on! Privacy activists are worried this creates a whole new relationship with the police, as a deputization of citizens blurs boundaries, and institutionalizes 'coveillance' -- citizens spying on citizens. It could be a slippery slope to situations that more resemble the Stasi regime's, which famously used this form of neighborly surveillance as its preferred method of control.
CSO cites Spiegel Online's description of the unofficial 189,000 Stasi informants as "totally normal citizens of East Germany who betrayed others: neighbors reporting on neighbors, schoolchildren informing on classmates, university students passing along information on other students, managers spying on employees and Communist bosses denouncing party members."

The Dutch police are also building another app that allows citizens to search for missing persons.
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Dutch Police Build a Pokemon Go-Style App For Hunting Wanted Criminals

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  • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @11:53AM (#55368671) Homepage
    The alternative is sensors and cameras automatically finding persons of interest and uniformed officers grabbing people without notice. Having at least one citizen in the loop may make the police more trustworthy, if the system is set up only for serious crimes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The alternative is sensors and cameras automatically finding persons of interest and uniformed officers grabbing people without notice.

      And what do you think will happen when someone gets "reported"? Hell, TFS mentions the Stasi. Do you not remember anything from history class?

      Having at least one citizen in the loop may make the police more trustworthy, if the system is set up only for serious crimes.

      Mission creep makes that impossible. Corruption makes that impossible. If there is one thing you should know

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      This is basically the same though but instead of buying sensors on a state budget where it can be controlled with oversight, this is making every citizen's device the 'sensor'.

      The goal is that you take pictures of people's license plates (including the GPS location) and then you get rewards. The fact that a particular car may be stolen is only matched after the plate has been stored and processed. So they're building a giant database of people's whereabouts without having to invest in the camera systems all

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @11:57AM (#55368689)
    Hey, I know, let's encourage the general populace (particularly the younger set) to hunt down potentially violent criminals. Surely there is no way this can backfire?
  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @12:28PM (#55368811) Journal

    These methods have been used throughout time. The only new thing here is the modern tech boost.

    Germany was certainly very actively using these tactics during WWII to root out those destined for concentration camps. Informing on neighbors was highly encouraged and not doing so was very dangerous.

    This is a tactic most utilized in social policing and tends to reemerge with populist movements. It may start out with "crime", but the crimes tend to evolve because citizens routinely think people with different belief systems need to be punished and feel empowered to do it themselves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      These methods have been used throughout time.

      It's funny how Slashdot's idea of time begins in the twentieth century. Police didn't really exist until the nineteenth century. Before that there were soldiers to quell riots, and in some societies there were jailers and kinds of soldiers ("marshals" in American parlance, from "martial" meaning military) to enforce court orders. There weren't investigators or detectives like we have today: that's why detective fiction begins in the nineteenth century. In ancient Athens, the "Cretan Archers" existed to

    • >It may start out with "crime", but the crimes tend to evolve because citizens routinely think people with different belief systems need to be punished and feel empowered to do it themselves.

      Yep. This is why the police is the police, and everyone else is not.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Want to reflect back on Maximilien Robespierre https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] then? The EU and its past nations are filled with efforts to find people and alter the way entire nations think and function.
  • I don't think policing is psychologically healthy. Distributing the load can only be a good thing... Also that slippery slope? I wonder what fallacy that logic is using.
  • by abies ( 607076 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @01:09PM (#55369005)

    There is a huge difference between crowd-sourcing 'wanted warrant' search versus asking people to report perceived offenses against a state on their own volition.

    East Germany (and other Eastern Block states) problem with citizens spying and reporting crimes was that it was mostly interested in political crimes/dissent. As it was something hard to prove or disprove, people were often reporting people they disliked, just for sake of causing them trouble.

    It was:
    1) possible false accusations due to personal hatred
    2) being hunted for 'thought crimes' or any disapproval of state
    3) not being able to trust your neighbors(or even family)
    which was making it bad, not a pure fact that it was civilian reporting a crime.

    That article kind of equates calling police when you see/hear somebody beating his wife in apartment next door to falsely accusing your coworker of anti-state collaboration so he will get taken to Gulag and you can get his position. In both cases you are turning against somebody who possibly trusted you and reporting him to state-run enforcement. But there IS a difference - and I think that finding stolen cars firmly fit into former category.

    If police will start falsely flagging cars of political dissidents as stolen and using other citizens to hunt them down, only then it becomes a problem. But guess what - if they do that and do NOT involve other citizens, it is problem of same size.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is a huge difference between crowd-sourcing 'wanted warrant' search versus asking people to report perceived offenses against a state on their own volition.

      Sure, but a crowd-sourced 'wanted warrant' search is very close to a government-sponsored witch hunt or lynch mob. It enourages people to form unregulated vigilante mobs to unquestioningly enforce the will of the government. What if you were wrongly accused of a crime? Would you rather be arrested by an official police officer who was trained to be professional and to respect your rights (although, I admit, they do not always follow their training), or would you rather be arrested by an angry mob of rand

    • 1) possible false accusations due to personal hatred,

      2) being hunted for 'thought crimes' or any disapproval of state

      Those sound strangely like tactics used on social media sites (just replace state by crowd).

  • If the Dutch police made this application then why are they working as police rather than programmers? ;)

    Oh, the police didn't make this at all. Words matter.

  • ... the authentic documentary about Dutch police work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • by craXORjack ( 726120 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @04:30PM (#55369937)
    This sounds like Stephen King's novel, The Running Man. The movie diverged a bit but was similar. Citizens help the authorities catch someone on the run.
  • How authors who had eye witness generational access to the politics and ides of the 1920-50's told readers of what advances in tech would give governments.
    Made for escapist fictional reading and movies in the 1940-90's.
    Now a new generation are happy to work as unofficial informants digitally finding people for "crimes".

    Thought crime? Wanted for the wrong kind of comment on social media?

    Its a chilling way to ensure police only have to do one interview with a person who was reported for using social m
  • There was a scene like this in the movie version of The Circle (dunno if it was in the book, haven't read it). Governments must be harvesting ideas from dystopian sci-fi.

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