Mobile Phone Biker News

BNN: N.J. ACLU unveils 'stealth' app allowing citizens to secretly record police: Biker News Network, Out Run By No One,1%er,Outlaw
Biker News Network
Bikers -N- Friends  | Who's Online  | Product Reviews  |  Shop OBWorld  |  DONATE  |  Brothers Memorial  |  Contact Us

Keep Me
Logged On:

    Register  Register
    Forgot Password  Forgot Password

Add Your E-mail Address to our Mailing List

BNN's Favorite Links

The Big Schwag's Official website
(views 66824)

Bikes That Suck
(views 102402)

Bikers -N- Friends
(views 121215)

General News:

N.J. ACLU unveils 'stealth' app allowing citizens to secretly record police

(Click ESC to stop the shaking)

BY: Eunice Lee

New Jersey - N.J. ACLU unveils 'stealth' app allowing citizens to secretly record police Published: Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 6:30 AM Updated: Tuesday, July 03, 2012, 9:22 AM

By Eunice Lee/The Star-Ledger

For years, the American Civil Liberties Union has aggressively tried to police the police, filing suit after suit against law enforcement agencies it believed crossed the line.

Now, the ACLU's New Jersey chapter has gone beyond the courtroom, introducing a smartphone application to allow state residents to secretly record police stops, protect the recordings from being deleted by displeased officers and report the incidents to civil rights groups.

"This app provides an essential tool for police accountability," said Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey.

The arrival of the app, called Police Tape, follows some high-profile cases in which police have clashed with citizens over their recording of officers. It also speaks to the notion that, anywhere, any time - whether it's by a police department's security camera or a motorist's cell phone - everyone can be recorded.

Citizens have been hassled and even arrested after recording police officers in public places, said Alexander Shalom, ACLU New Jersey's policy counsel. At times, their phones have been taken away and recordings deleted, he said.

"Police often videotape civilians and civilians have a constitutionally protected right to videotape police," Shalom said. "When people know they're being watched, they tend to behave well."

The app, which debuts only for Android devices but will be available for iPhones later this month, is simple to use and can be downloaded at It opens to a screen with three buttons: video recording, audio recording and a tutorial on knowing your rights.

The app's signature feature is its ability to operate in "stealth mode" while recording. When you start video recording, the screen goes black, as if it's off. When recording audio, the app automatically minimizes and disappears.

The issue of recording police on smartphones has drawn controversy in Newark, where then 16-year-old Khaliah Fitchette recorded two officers aiding a man on a public bus in March 2010. Police removed Fitchette from the bus and handcuffed her after she refused to stop filming, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the teen by the ACLU and the Seton Hall Center for Social Justice last March. After a three-hour ordeal, Fitchette was released to her mother, the lawsuit says.

New Jersey is only the second state to have this type of app available to smartphone users, Shalom said. The app developer, a watchdog group called OpenWatch, calls these types of programs "reverse surveillance."

New York Civil Liberties Union introduced a similar smartphone app last month called "Stop and Frisk Watch," a reference to the New York Police Department's controversial search practices.

Recordings are protected from erasure because it's not readily apparent how to delete without going through a multi-step process. Incidents sent to the ACLU via the app get reviewed and also saved to an external server. The iPhone version will only have an audio recording option.

Chris Tyminski, longtime president of Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 183, which represents Essex County sheriff's officers, said an app like this can "blindside" a law enforcement officer but maintained, "We have nothing to hide."

"Guys are basically told, conduct yourself as if you're always being recorded, that's the safest way," he said. However, he said, it's unfair when groups like the ACLU "judge a life or death split second decision that a cop makes, when they have days and days and roundtables to discuss what a cop should have done in those three seconds."

James Stewart, president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police, said people using the app also need to use common sense.

"I also hope that if a police officer is attempting to stop an individual on the street, that person is not suddenly trying to pull a phone from his pocket in an attempt to film a police encounter," he said.

Shalom agrees that the majority of law enforcement don't need to worry about the app.

"Police officers who break the rules, who don't behave, are the exception not the rule," he said. "It's only the minority of officers who are flouting the rules who should be concerned about the app."

Star-Ledger staff writers Alexi Friedman and Ryan Hutchins contributed to this report.


Click Here for the original article

Click Here to open the original article in a pop-up new window

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are solely those of the writer, and may not reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Biker News Network/Outlaw Biker World.
This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement and is accessible on this site or through this service, you may notify our copyright agent, as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). For your complaint to be valid under the DMCA, it must meet certain criteria, and you must Click Here to contact acting agent.

Posted on 7/4/2012 7:21 AM | General News

You must be logged in to read all comments or to add comments

Click here to get the news on your site

Click here to get the news on your site

Recommend Us

Get your news on

Click Here for your counter
Search Site:     Flush Cache    
©Copyright 1997 - 2016
By Law, these pages and graphics herein are under copyright and are under ownership "Biker News Network, Out Run By No One,1%er,Outlaw" and may only be used if requested by Email.