Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice recently wrote a blog article about the new mobile snitch app released by the Tampa Police Department. Any iPhone or Android user can download the app to their smartphone for free. Now you can rat out your enemies with great ease and convenience.
In his blog post, Scott Greenfield made this point:
But the banality of it, coupled with the utterly uncritical news report about it, reflects both the love of apps and the depth of problems that confront us in the everyday digital world…. Let’s put the tools of our own destruction into every smart phone in the hands of every idiot and wannabe law enforcer in town. What could possibly go wrong?
As one of the comments in Scott’s blog post points out – the “app permissions” required the following:
“This app needs access to the following:
– Storage (add/delete)
– Services that cost you money (directly call phone numbers)
– Network Communications (full internet access)
– Your Location (Fine GPS location)”
That means if you download the app then you give permission.
The majority of people who will submit tips using this app are crazy people, other law enforcement officers, and wannabe cops. Although they can snitch all they want, TPD is misleading them by claiming anything about this app is anonymous.
The framework for the app was built by Cloudspace Mobile that teamed with a local company Fast Forward Marketing. The president of Fast Forwarding Marketing is Bill Todd, who is the son of retired Tampa Police Sgt. Bill Todd. Although TPD said they didn’t pay for the app, they certainly generated a lot of free publicity for Bill Todd’s company.
Think fast. If you hit the wrong button then you are giving TampaPD access to all of your contacts.
Here are screen shots of more prompts to make a report, or submit issues and tips anonymously. You can even take a picture. It is actually quite easy to upload the picture if you want to ensure TPD knows your exact location.
Yes, TPD does make it clear in the fine print that it can track your location. Although this page doesn’t use the word “anonymous” at all.
If you plan on snitching frequently, you will save time by adding your contact information so that it is automatically included in the reports or “volunteer inquires” you submit.
To encourage middle school and high school students to snitch more frequently, the app has a special button to help you direct your snitch to the appropriate school resource officer.
The Tampa Police Department loves a snitch. Now there’s an app for that…
If you really want to help law enforcement gather more data then use the app at 15th Street and 122nd Avenue. Learn more about the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Tag Reader (the automatic license plate reader) which is coming to an intersection near you soon.