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Why N.J. cops should beware of Android users: ACLU 'Police Tape' app released

textdriving070711_optBY MIKE OLIVA
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

New Jersey cops will soon have another reason to look for cell phones.

New Jersey's branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has developed an app that will let users discretely record audio and video during a police stop.

The app, dubbed “Police Tape,” is being hailed as another weapon for civilian defense against police brutality, and mirrors a similar app that was introduced in New York to fight against stop-and-frisk discrimination.

"This app provides an essential tool for police accountability,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs. “Too often incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed. Here, the technology empowers citizens to place a check on police power directly.”

The ACLU website announced that the user can choose to send videos to the ACLU-NJ for backup storage and analysis of possible civil liberties violations, as well as save a copy on the phone itself.

“Police often videotape civilians and civilians have a constitutionally protected right to videotape police,” said Alexander Shalom, ACLU New Jersey’s policy counsel, to the Star-Ledger.

On the contrary, the NYPD fears apps such as “Police Tape” can tip criminals off to stop-and-frisk locations, which New York police credit for a lower crime rate and higher gun seizures, according to the New York Daily News.

ACLU is looking to expand the app, which is already compatible for Android users, to iPhones as well.

 

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