Thursday, March 8, 2012

From that wonderful state that brought you the Hatfield–McCoy feud... The Rat App

“If every West Virginia resident that owns a smart phone (and knows how to use it) gets this app . . . you'll literally have 10 (sic) citizen spy's working for you!” – a review at the Google Android app store

Snitching has eventually entered the digital age thanks to a new smartphone app that lets anyone, anywhere tell the police: “Hey! That’s kind of weird!”

Authorities in the state of West Virginia are encouraging residents to install an Android and iPhone application that lets alerting law enforcement of suspicious activity become as easy as a click of a button — or, for some smartphone owners, the touch of a screen.

The official government website for the state of West Virginia now prominently features a product available for download on select mobile devices. It’s the Suspicious Activity Reporting mobile application and it lets users type up notes about any mundane yet worrisome incident they witness and send it straight over to local law enforcement. The app even allows the user to capture and upload a photo of someone they might consider suspicious, only to then provide the police with a detailed visual description of someone who may — or may not — be up to no good...

The device’s manufacturers add that any tips, such as suspicious vehicles or mysterious packages, can be reported anonymously if the user opts for that choice. (more)

FutureWatch - The actual process of filing a report with a live police official filtered out most casual / grudge / unfounded / harassment complaints in the past. With app-happy ease and the promise of anonymity might not the floodgates of neighborly bile open? And, should we really believe that identifying information (phone number, GPS, etc.) won't get transmitted just because you pressed an app's anonymous button? When you call 911, caller ID blocking doesn't block.