Seizing on a terrorist attack halfway around the world, the governor of New York has vowed to make his state safer by adding more bodies to the NYPD’s overstuffed counterterrorism units and, as is the style of the time, introduced an app that will allow any New York resident to report anyone with a camera near a public building, bridge, tunnel, parked car, or power line.
“See Something, Send Something” allows anyone to capture suspicious activity as a photo or written note and send the information to the New York State Intelligence Center. From there, the tip will be reviewed and if relevant, sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Public service announcements promoting the campaign will be played at DMV offices and service areas along state highways.
By using the app, which can be downloaded for free for iPhone and Android phone users, there is no worry about who to send the tip to or what phone number to call—users can simply send a photo of the suspicious activity using their device’s camera, by choosing a photo from its library, or sending a written note. It also includes information on what to look for and when to report suspicious activity. The service is already available in Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The governor’s press release reminds New Yorkers that the app is for reporting of suspicious people/objects/actions only and very definitely not for criticizing the government’s terrorist hysteria or regaling local DHS Fusion Centers with an assortment of dick pics.
In order to keep the app focused on safety, users should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or briefcase in a public place) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity.
Well, good luck with that.
The office also reminds users that no matter how often they send messages about the suspicious Muslim listening to ISIS instructions on his headphones with ever-increasing amounts of exclamation points/capital letters, it will never result in local law enforcement instantly arriving to “control the scene.”
The app does not replace 911 and should not to be used for someone needing immediate police action or to report an emergency.
Not included in the press release is any disclaimer or warning that “immediate police action” may result in serious injury or death, even (or especially) if impending injury/death is what’s hoping to be prevented by the summoning of law enforcement.
The governor’s office also links to recommended reading material to better inform would-be See-Senders about the warning signs of potential terrorist activity.
Terrorist cells have been known to record and monitor activities, taking pictures and making drawings.
ALSO: new parents, artists, people with excessive amounts of time on their hands, public sector employees, everyone who possesses a smartphone, etc.
A clarifying note inside the app that will probably be read by no one adds some cautionary wording not found on the NY DHS website.
Taking pictures or video of facilities, buildings, or infrastructure in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person…All reporting on photography should be done within the totality of the circumstances.
But acting as an extra set of eyes for a city that has millions of them — some even located in human skulls — doesn’t just help fight the War on Terror. It also helps fight the War on… Fire.
Being observant supports homeland security and fire prevention efforts.
If nothing else, the app comes highly recommended by someone who watches a lot of cable news programming.
This App was on Cnn, Cnbc, Msnbc.. Due to IsIs we have to do all we can to protect ourselves
The app itself has been around since January 2013. Despite that, it’s apparently still only usable in six states. And there seems to be no information available on how many suspicious activity reports the app has generated, much less if it’s actually resulted in any attacks prevented.
What it is, though, is “something,” the favorite activity of politicians looking to capitalize on tragic events. My Mobile Witness is nothing more than “Do Something: the App.” It gives those who feel they need a direct line to local DHS offices something to do with their idle fingers/paranoia and gives the state’s top legislator something to say in the wake of the Paris attacks. Everybody wins… except maybe those who are accosted/arrested for whipping out their sketch pad within eyeshot of a public structure.