CrimePush: yet another citizen spy application for smartphones

By End the Lie

Recently I reported on the concerted effort to bring citizen spying into the digital age with applications on smartphones which can be used to report “suspicious activity” to local homeland security fusion centers.

This has expanded even more thanks to the hard work of individuals like 25-year-old Eman Pahlevani, a student at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Pahlevani launched an application last month called CrimePush after several months of development with his brother and a friend.

The application allows users to send in reports in the form of text, pictures or video directly to local law enforcement after police dispatch centers set up their accounts with CrimePush.

After the dispatchers have registered, users of Android-based devices and Apple iPhones within the given area are able to download the application dedicated to that location and start sending in tips, no matter how erroneous.

Interestingly, Pahlevani claims that at least one county in every single state in the United States had expressed interest in using the application in just the first three weeks after launching it.

He said that he has been getting a great deal of support from his professors, saying, “They’ve all given me a lot of feedback of: ‘It’s going to be a game changer for people who want to report crime and get information to police.’”

While this might be true, it’s also going to be a game changer for police officers who are inundated by false reports, misleading information, maliciously submitted reports and so on.

In a question and answer session with the Concord Monitor out of Concord, New Hampshire, Pahlevani revealed that he decided to turn his idea into a mobile application to appeal to young people, or as he put it, “this generation growing up with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We thought this would be a good way to open up lines of communication between the younger generation and police authorities.”

It’s also a great way to condition people into reporting every little thing to police, especially when the federal government classifies just about everything as an indicator of possible terrorism.

Pahlevani said that users are able to choose from nine kinds of crime in the app when submitting their crime report, although it is unclear what these categories are in the article. However, I was able to locate a screenshot from the application (shown above) which shows the following categories: theft, threat, altercation, sexual abuse, medical, accident, vandalism, drugs and harassment.

He told the local news outlet that police and sheriffs across the nation have been requesting that they be integrated and they have been customizing the application for every county that has expressed interest.

Pahlevani boasted that 300-500 counties across America are trying to get integrated with them right now, but he did not say how many counties are already integrated into the system.

He said that while he is offering this to counties for free for now, this is going to become a for-profit endeavor.

After they get enough counties and police districts involved in using the application, he plans on forcing them to pay a licensing fee of $1,000 per year per county, something which he claims is “an extremely nominal fee.”

Sure, it might be nominal if one county was using it, but when you consider the fact that there are 3,141 total counties and “statistically equivalent entities” in the United States as of January 1, 1990, the “extremely nominal fee” starts to add up, although it would remain free for users.

Obviously this is not being done purely out of the kindness of their hearts, as evidenced by an advertisement (screenshot here in case it is removed) for a Vice President of Business Development offering “$65,000 – $85,000 first year commissions.”

It gets even more interesting when he brings up the possibilities that these could be used in schools, further criminalizing our children and making the public education system an even more efficient school-to-prison pipeline.

“We also are working right now with high schools and middle schools because superintendents in different counties and principals want to use this with students between periods,” Pahlevani said, “so if they go from class to class and they see a fight or they see a drug deal … they can just send it directly to school authorities.”

All of this is just intended to encourage what some might call snitching, which I prefer to call voluntary citizen spying.

The most absurd part is that there is no incentive given to the users other than the good feeling they might get from reporting what they think might be criminal activity to the “authorities.”

Furthermore, this is a massive waste of police time and resources. People could report their unfriendly neighbor or their ex-mate with whom they had a less-than-amicable break up in order to have the police kick down their door and hassle them.

I do not see any real reason for applications like this to exist. If there is an emergency or an actual crime, it would be much faster and more efficient to just call 911 directly rather than opening an application, choosing a type of crime, typing some report out or snapping a picture.

Hopefully young people won’t be silly enough to snatch this up and start accepting this type of society just because it’s a cool application on their shiny new iPhone or Android device.

Did I miss something? Want to share your view or tip me off to a story? You can even send me your original works to be published! Email me at [email protected]

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12 Responses to CrimePush: yet another citizen spy application for smartphones

  1. Larry Walters March 6, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Maddison, your article is a joke. I downloaded this app and its awesome. Instead of talking about how people will be sending in false reports (which people already do with 911…30% of police 911 calls are fradulent), why not discuss how this app can possibly send information to police that may save lives in schools, in the public, and on college campus. its interesting how this article is completely one sided and has not real solid argument. I am an app developer, and creating an app costs alot of money…and I have made many and of course you want to get compensated for the work you put into it.

    Lets see, younger people who dont want to call 911 because they are scared, but now can use this app to show police a possible murder, rape, or assualt…you telling me this is a bad thing?? why dont you wait for people to use this across the country and then write joke articles.

    Kudos to the makes of this app for opening up new lines of communication between police and a younger generation of people.

    Your old school mentality of “ooooo new technology, must be the government trying to eat us alive” is so played out. Please stop wasting our time with your articles or start writing things that make sense. Your probably not even going to post this because it would make you look bad.

    here is my final blow to your ego: how can you possibly write an article on an app without even downloading it??? you have not used it, but you can write an article on it? thats just bad reporting and writing my friend. Simple writing 101.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous March 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I don’t really see why he’d have to actually download and use the app to make his points valid? His argument has nothing to do with the quality of it, and everything to do with the concept. Just sayin…

    Reply
  3. S00001111 March 7, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    I agree with Anonymous and this article. Apparently, the concept will be lost with Larry or anybody else like him in which they don’t realize how our communities are being “programmed” to make each of us suspicious and vicious to each other. Divide to conquer. This is why the NDAA was even allowed to be signed into law. People don’t care about their individual civil liberties anymore. At least not until its too late. The concept of this app or any one of these “spy” apps is to support the already encroaching police state into our individual lives and liberties.

    Reply
  4. Top March 7, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    I agree with Walters. Why are we not talking about the murder rate in this country? why are we not talking about how America has the biggest criminal problem in the entire world? Apps like this is exactly what our country needs. Its disgusting that we talk about how our liberties are being stepped on when we have the highest murder rate in the world. We have 1 murder every hour in the US. We have one of the biggest drug addiction problems in the world. We have one of the biggest human trafficking problmes in the world…yea thats right, HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Criminals arent scared of anything because of our weak justice system and weak sentences. We need more apps like this, we need everyone to have somthing like this so people think twice about commiting rapes and murders. America is going down fast and its becaues of the hill-billy cowboy attitude that runs rampant. Our country is full of criminals and we have no way to put them in check. GREAT APP, MAKE MORE PLEASE.

    Reply
    • zendeviant March 22, 2012 at 3:25 AM

      Maybe because there was a televised murder on 9/11/2001 and our law enforcement has yet to investigate or prosecute the crime. PLUS we can all cheer for assignation which is what–political murder.

      Restore rule of law, checks and balances…apps aren’t the solution.

      “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

      Shine Bright.

      Reply
  5. Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    good point, we do have alot of crime, its disgusting.

    Reply
  6. End the Lie March 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    For the sake of transparency, I think I should show where some of these comments are coming from. Obviously everyone is more than entitled to their opinion and I encourage critical comments on all of my articles. Honestly, I don’t have the time to respond to all of the concerns raised, but I appreciate the feedback regardless.

    However, I think it might be enlightening to just look at were these comments are coming from and perhaps what ulterior motives might (emphasis on might) be at play here.

    First off is Larry – Larry Walters (IP: 70.88.195.245 , 70-88-195-245-franklin-pierce-law-center-ne-ma.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)

    Now, this might be total coincidence, but Larry is posting from the same school that the creator of this application attends, UNH Law School. Would you happen to be the other individual who is working on this project? This does not make your comments any less valuable, it would just be nice for you to be upfront about your associations with the project.

    Now comes “Top” – Top (IP: 159.142.13.6 , host.159-142-13-6.gsa.gov) Posting from the General Services Administration network. That is odd.

    The above Anonymous who agreed with “Top” also posted from the GSA’s network, from the same exact IP – Anonymous (IP: 159.142.13.6 , host.159-142-13-6.gsa.gov)

    For the record, all of the other comments appear to have originated from residential ISPs.

    Keep the critical comments coming though, I enjoy reading dissenting opinions. But Larry, would you please tell us if you know the creator of this application or just happen to go to the same school and post comments defending his work?

    Reply
  7. Susan L March 7, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    For those talking about the surging crime rate in this country, perhaps it would interest you to hear that crime (both violent and property crimes) is actually DOWN in many cities and states: Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego, Florida, New York, just to name a few. Just do a Google search and see for yourself.

    I think encouraging people to spy on each other is abominable. Our schools are already training our kids to do it, through seemingly-innocuous (even helpful) programs like anti-bullying (“if you spot someone being bullied, tell!”) and ‘Turn Off Electronics Week’ (“if you spot someone using a cellphone or iPod, be sure to tell!”)…it’s an insidious practice. Where does this lead? Ask the Chinese who lived through the Mao years, they’ll tell you. We’ve been warned that, in the last days, people will give up their freedom for promises of safety and security. Why haven’t we listened?

    Reply
  8. JT March 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    This is a information war and it does not surprise me that the above posts are suspicious and not forth right. Most of the media is owned by the same people who push the direction of our society, because of this most people follow the herd mentality, cause after all man is insecure and just wants to fit in.

    Problem is our leaders are at best….pyschopath’s who know pyschology (heck they funded the experts of our century Sigmund Freud/ and others) You can trace most our problems back to the creation of our money / private central banks (Rothschilds) Them and the people who follow them create the problems and then offer the solutions.

    Fear is a great tool when used against the ignorant.

    Reply
  9. Andrew May 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    This is a tough subject but i do believe that protecting ones family and loved ones is paramount. I have friends who have fallen victim to cheating partners and needed proof to really move on with their lives.

    Reply
  10. Martin November 21, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Tough thread, interesting. will test application myself

    Reply
  11. EndIllegalSurveillance April 19, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    I agree with S00001111 that this is becoming a police state. This app only encourages “citizen spying”. This reminds me of a tactic citizens may be using to spy on innocent people known as organized stalking. Citizen spies use their cell phone to report the targeted individual’s every move only to harass the person wherever they go.

    Reply

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