Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Rights we don't use can erode

The law says we can photograph and film law enforcement officers while they are about the people's business. This often feels a bit risky. The ACLU in California is making it easier.

Their new iPhone app lets anyone shoot and automatically upload of interactions between cops and the rest of us. The app's best feature is that all it takes is one tap on the screen to send the recording off through the ether; unless police departments have the capacity to jam (do they?) the ACLU has it and there is no longer any reason for the cops to attack the phone. Maybe they'll even figure that out someday if enough of us wander around equipped to make instant reports?

I've installed the app. It seems simple to operate; there's a test feature and everything seems to work as described. If you allow the phone to geo-locate, it can even point you to locations where others using it are filming. There's a video tutorial here.
I can imagine using this even though I'm just an old white lady who happens to live in a conflicted neighborhood. Twice in the last couple of months I've observed police-civilian interactions that might have been worth recording. Having this option will likely make me more inclined to film next time -- that's probably part of the point for the developers.

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