Several members of the Occupy movement were disgruntled, to say the least, after police arrested 26 protestors on Sunday night. “We were just doing our march” one Occupy member said. “The police were just being rude.”
Well, we’ve now got some hope for angry Occupiers. A newly released smartphone application may allow you to catch police officers in wrongful acts of “rudeness.” That’s right- policing the police? There’s an app for that.
After years of filing law suit after law suit against wrongful police officers, the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has developed a smartphone application for Android (the iPhone version should be released later this month) called Police Tape, which allows state residents to secretly record interactions with police officers.
The company that developed the app, OpenWatch, calls its programs “reverse surveillance.” The app operates in “stealth mode,” meaning that it’s virtually impossible to tell when it’s in use. While users record video, the smartphone screen goes black, appearing to be turned off. While audio recording, the app instantly disappears from view. Pretty sneaky, right?
After the release of the app, New Jersey police officers maintained that they “have nothing to hide” but they did add that the app could “blindside” an officer. James Stewart, president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police, said that he hopes that people using the app act cautiously.
“I also hope that if a police officer is attempting to stop an individual on the street, that person is not suddenly trying to pull of phone from his pocket in an attempt to film a police encounter,” he told NJ.com.
Members of the New Jersey ACLU are confident that the app will support good police behavior. “When people know they’re being watched, they tend to act better,” said Alexander Shalom, ACLU’s New Jersey policy counsel.
Does this mean you’ll get less speeding tickets? Probably not, but it’s worth a shot. If you want to challenge The Man (and you also happen to be a New Jersey resident) the app can be downloaded for Android right now.