Feeds

back to article New York cops testing Big Brother crime-data Android app

Watch out, crooks! The New York Police Department is trying out a new weapon in the war on crime – namely, putting its own intelligence in the hands of patrol officers. As The New York Times reports, the NYPD has issued around 400 specialized Android smartphones to officers as part of a pilot program begun last summer. The …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

And what happens when the information is wrong, or out of date?

Are they going to be updated every time one of those apartments changes occupant?

4
0
Bronze badge

"are they going to be updated?"

Don't hold your breath. See, for example, this story http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/12/opinion/leon-ice-raid/index.html?hpt=hp_bn7 and note how many mentions there are of cops using bad, and known to be bad, data,,, and no warrants. And then there's this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_shooting. I can't _wait_ to see what the NYPD does with its Droids.

(memo to self: don't visit New York for a while.)

4
0
Bronze badge
Coat

Hey, hold up! A link in your post mentions Atlanta!

Don't confuse any other cities in the USA with Atlanta or L.A. in regards to race crimes by police officers. Those 2 cities are notorious nightmares for non-white people, especially brown skin people.

A lot of readers (especially overseas) would think race crimes are horrible in states like Kentucky or W. Virgina, etc. ...and they would be right. However, those states do not have a high enough density of non-white people in many areas to sky rocket hate crimes. I personally believe if you combine the race crimes in those 2 states, that number is still lower than either city of L.A. or Atlanta.

New York might be bad, but compared to L.A. or Atlanta, it's Disney Land.

0
0
Silver badge

Well, they've got to keep all those nasty Latinos out of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@christoph

Correct,

The information is only as good as what has been inputted into the system.

Mistakes of course cannot be made, the US legal system is infallible.............

2
0

@ MyBackDoor

Official city motto:

Welcome to Los Angeles

Where we treat you like a King!

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

close your back door.

You say: "Those 2 citiies are notorious nightmares for non-white people".

Do you mean for the mayor (black) and city council (black) and a large part of the police force (black) and so on. Or are you just ignorant.

What color do you think the shooters were who shot up the Maybach on I-20, in Atlanta, on Friday? If you guess the same color as the victim: black, you'd be correct.

All race crimes are horrible, but so are the rest of them.

0
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

New York Cops use Google Maps

Keystone Cops used Apple Maps

1
1
Bronze badge
Meh

Officer Judge Dredd.

On one hand I can see this as an advantage to the cop, on the other I can see this as a starting point in making cops both judge and jury. Well, maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but I can see how MANY cops will think this, as many already do, so this is sort of like fuel to the flame.

Besides that, I can also see a new era of cyber crime intercepting the signal and using it to profile for harmful deeds. Cyber crime fighting tools could very well create new cyber crime.

One more possible point: With this in effect, and when a serious criminal gets pulled over, what are the chances now he "cooperates"? Seems like the probability of that is going the wrong way.

2
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Blargh

It doesn't matter what the warrant is for, parking ticket or murder, if you're interacting with the cops and you've got a warrant and they ID you then you're going to be arrested. It isn't optional for the officer. The only difference it could make in that scenario is how hard they hit you. It is a pity that the police have to possess a device telling them how shitty they can be to you.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Blargh

I guess whether your wanted for a parking violation or murder might alter the way in which they approach you though.

0
0

Is the NY court system prepared for increased prosecutions?

I'm guessing that if New York's Finest can go to any apartment building and get names/ apartment numbers for anyone therein with an oustanding warrant, that'd be easy quota, right? One-stop shopping. So a dozen open- warrant cases are brought in from just one apartment building, and two dozen from another, et cetera. Are the courts equipped to deal with this spike? (I'm also guessing once this easy fruit has been shaken from the trees, the arrest rate for open warrants will go back down.) Add in false- arrest cases from the inevitable bits of outdated/ incorrect data, and the bottleneck tightens. Good times!

0
0

How about...

Maybe it's time someone did a similar app for individual police offiers/stations. That way people can look up a cops record and how they score on beatings/false accusations/arrests and so on.

The cop shop data would feature number of arrests and for what, as well as complaint ratios and so forth.

Let's see how they like it.

4
0

I am not saying "if you have nothing to hide"....

But, problems with the quality of convictions / policemen / the law aside, information is good.

Police having all this information might mean they waste less of your time. It might also highlight errors in records more effectively and may even spur another app with information about police.

We may live in a growing police state, but we are generally policed by consent.

0
1
FAIL

Re: I am not saying "if you have nothing to hide"....

"information is good."

But too much info is not. Can you say "Information overload".

Even if the cop is a speed reader it will take extra time to assimilate the info beyond "has out standing warrant". After a short time any benefits this app may have will be lost. The only thing the cops want to to know is "can I arrest/ticket this person", all the extra comments about how there are children present in the house or a 72 year old grandmother will get ignored.

0
0

Re: I am not saying "if you have nothing to hide"....

There could be a visual assist such as displaying the subject's name in red if they have a history of violence. Something that the user could key on quickly.

I agree that the biggest hurdle will be updating the database from multiple sources.

0
0
Alert

It's not the information but the way you use it

I can understand both points of view because if someone has a warrant for outstanding fines that can be treated differently to someone suspected of kidnapping someone. I mean if I had outstanding fines that I paid today and the police pulled me over I could produce the receipt and confirm it has been paid and be along my way without wasting lots of time.

The most worrying part about the article is there was no mention of auditing. If police use the information from this system to set someone up or unfairly persecute someone and it goes to trial can the defendant find out how many times your name, location, vehicles, etc were searched and detailed information was retrieved and by who. How do we know that police are not entering the licence plates of the cars they see to find out who has an interesting record to then pull someone over and hand out tickets, check for defects, do an inspection of a persons contents, etc to meet internal quotas and raise money for the police (not that police officers would ever do something like that).

Also with the person who hides drugs in their socks, can the cops be allowed to question the person when their socks look bulgy because a note in their record says that's where the hide their drugs? If I have a record for 'transporting prohibited substances' can the cops use that as a reasonable suspicion of a criminal activity when they see me driving around and do a full search of my car?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not the information but the way you use it

> How do we know that police are not entering the licence plates of the cars they see to find out who has an interesting record to then pull someone over

They are. In the UK it is called ANPR (automatic number plate recognition). The system instantly tells the police if it is insured and taxed, if it has previously been involved in any crime, if the owners are "known" to the police, if any member of the public has reported the vehicle for anything. I would imagine the US has something similar.

Cops patrolling in vehicles already have nearly all of this information available through on board computers. All this is doing is giving the same information to patrol cops.

0
0
Bronze badge
Holmes

"The New York Police Department is trying out a new weapon in the war on crime – namely, putting its own intelligence in the hands of patrol officers."

What could possibly go wrong?

0
0

How long before a cop loses the gadget

and someone has a field day with everyones information?

3
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Reminds me of Demolition man:

automated assistant: In a firm voice, order Maniac to lie down with his hands behind his back.

...

Squad Leader: Maniac has responded with a scornful remark.

automated assistant: Approach, and repeat ultimatum in an even firmer tone of voice. Add the words, "or else".

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Not too sure if a normal police officer should be able to have data like that at their fingertips. Sometimes it's better to give them only the information that they really need, not about the whole street/building.

I don't want to know what happens if one of those devices gets lost or stolen, ending up in the wrong hands...

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge
Stop

Bloody Stross

Charlie Stross had a pretty similar idea to this he called 'CopSpace' (basically this combined with AR) in his novel Halting State.

Clearly he should stop giving them ideas.

0
0
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Logical Limits

This changes (yest again) the concept of a what constitutes a primary offense (how low the bar is set as to what a person can be stopped for). It might seem to be a bit ridiculous to stop a person for jaywalking, but that can endanger other people (notably those driving too fast through town). Where should we draw the line? How about smoking in public? Should the perp be ticketed, hauled away in cuffs, or just given a warning?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.