Citizens are taking police accountability to a new level.
One of the biggest issues facing the United States in recent years is police brutality. Ferguson. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. We've all seen the news, again and again. Some departments have implemented police body cameras to curb misconduct, but even cameras have their problems -- they can be conveniently turned off and they aren't widely used.
But some app developers think that citizens at risk should be able to bypass the system and out corrupt officers themselves, rather than waiting for the government to deal with police misconduct cases. Apps like Cop Block, PocketJustice, and Police Tape aim to give average people the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves against unlawful arrest and police brutality. Even the ACLU has its own app called Mobile Justice that helps users record interactions with officers and submit them to the organization for review.
This issue isn't unique to American culture. In Iran, the app Gershad allows its users to crowdsource data and track where the morality police are stationed. Cops everywhere aren't exactly thrilled about these developments. Last year, Mashable reported that officers want to disable the police-tracking feature in Waze that allows drivers to see when cops are near, claiming it infringed on their privacy.
They bring up a good point (and it's worth noting that it's illegal to record police in many places, even in the United States). But if we've learned anything from tech, it's that it's a difficult beast to regulate. I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but I'm pretty sure World War IV will be fought with apps.