Thursday, June 30, 2011

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” (Darth, on covert cop apps.)

Smartphones are impressive devices, to say the least. A smartphone user can consume TV, music & movies; communicate via streaming video; check the weather; record audio; take professional quality video footage; snap high quality photos… The list just continues to grow and grow. With all of these incredible capabilities, why not add surveillance?

A recent article over at the Atlantic highlights a fascinating project by 23-year-old hacker Rich Jones. CopRecorder (iPhone) and OpenWatch (Android) are part of an experiment Jones describes as "a global participatory counter-surveillance project which uses cellular phones as a way of monitoring authority figures." In short, CopRecorder and Openwatch are apps that covertly record audio during encounters with authority figures, enabling the user to submit the audio anonymously to the OpenWatch site.

Here's a brief explanation of the project (plus instructions for installation): (more)