NY Governor Announces App Version Of State's 'See Something, Say Something' Program

from the swipe-left-to-report-as-potential-terrorist dept

Seizing on a terrorist attack halfway around the world, the governor of New York has vowed to make his state safer by adding more bodies to the NYPD's overstuffed counterterrorism units and, as is the style of the time, introduced an app that will allow any New York resident to report anyone with a camera near a public building, bridge, tunnel, parked car, or power line.

"See Something, Send Something" allows anyone to capture suspicious activity as a photo or written note and send the information to the New York State Intelligence Center. From there, the tip will be reviewed and if relevant, sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Public service announcements promoting the campaign will be played at DMV offices and service areas along state highways.

By using the app, which can be downloaded for free for iPhone and Android phone users, there is no worry about who to send the tip to or what phone number to call—users can simply send a photo of the suspicious activity using their device’s camera, by choosing a photo from its library, or sending a written note. It also includes information on what to look for and when to report suspicious activity. The service is already available in Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The governor's press release reminds New Yorkers that the app is for reporting of suspicious people/objects/actions only and very definitely not for criticizing the government's terrorist hysteria or regaling local DHS Fusion Centers with an assortment of dick pics.
In order to keep the app focused on safety, users should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or briefcase in a public place) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity.
Well, good luck with that.

The office also reminds users that no matter how often they send messages about the suspicious Muslim listening to ISIS instructions on his headphones with ever-increasing amounts of exclamation points/capital letters, it will never result in local law enforcement instantly arriving to "control the scene."
The app does not replace 911 and should not to be used for someone needing immediate police action or to report an emergency.
Not included in the press release is any disclaimer or warning that "immediate police action" may result in serious injury or death, even (or especially) if impending injury/death is what's hoping to be prevented by the summoning of law enforcement.

The governor's office also links to recommended reading material to better inform would-be See-Senders about the warning signs of potential terrorist activity.
Terrorist cells have been known to record and monitor activities, taking pictures and making drawings.
ALSO: new parents, artists, people with excessive amounts of time on their hands, public sector employees, everyone who possesses a smartphone, etc.

A clarifying note inside the app that will probably be read by no one adds some cautionary wording not found on the NY DHS website.
Taking pictures or video of facilities, buildings, or infrastructure in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person…All reporting on photography should be done within the totality of the circumstances.
But acting as an extra set of eyes for a city that has millions of them -- some even located in human skulls -- doesn't just help fight the War on Terror. It also helps fight the War on… Fire.
Being observant supports homeland security and fire prevention efforts.
If nothing else, the app comes highly recommended by someone who watches a lot of cable news programming.

This App was on Cnn, Cnbc, Msnbc.. Due to IsIs we have to do all we can to protect ourselves
The app itself has been around since January 2013. Despite that, it's apparently still only usable in six states. And there seems to be no information available on how many suspicious activity reports the app has generated, much less if it's actually resulted in any attacks prevented.

What it is, though, is "something," the favorite activity of politicians looking to capitalize on tragic events. My Mobile Witness is nothing more than "Do Something: the App." It gives those who feel they need a direct line to local DHS offices something to do with their idle fingers/paranoia and gives the state's top legislator something to say in the wake of the Paris attacks. Everybody wins… except maybe those who are accosted/arrested for whipping out their sketch pad within eyeshot of a public structure.

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Filed Under: andrew cuomo, neighbors, new york, overreaction, say something, see something, send something, spying, surveillance, terrorism, trust


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:39pm

    Obligatory comment about turning this program on its creators.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:50pm

      Re:

      Obligatory joke coming down 5th Avenue: I can't wait until they get nothing but pics of the NYPD.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:08pm

      Re:

      I was figuring someone needs to submit a picture of someone else using the app to take a picture of something suspicious...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:44pm

        Re: Re:

        I was figuring someone needs to submit a picture of someone else using the app to take a picture of something suspicious...

        Me too, but it was at the back of a line of people all taking pictures of the person in line in front of them, stretching all the way down 5th Avenue to the vanishing point.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 1:04am

        Re: Re:

        My first thought was this could go so recursive, people photographing people photographing people....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:46pm

    Aw, I can't hide inside a comically large backpack in public places anymore, but I still have my trusty cardboard box. I have yet to get an exclamation mark while using it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:50pm

    New York State's gift to performance artists....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Charles (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:55pm

    So a person taking a picture of a type of building is suspicious, but the person taking the picture of a person taking a picture is not?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:19pm

    "It's like Uber for counter-terrorism"

    Oh man, what I would have given to be a fly on the wall during that sales pitch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:23pm

    911

    "The app does not replace 911"

    Of course not! 911 was a horribly tragedy and this app will of course make all things better!
    How can they even think that an app will replace 911? Are they planning to blow all phones up with that app? If not then why even mentioning 911? Aren't they ashamed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:25pm

    I suggest the name "iSnitch".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:27pm

    "It's like Uber for counter-terrorism"

    Isn't New York City one of those where Uber is being repressed for being un-American or something?

    (there are days when plugging a block of granite in series with an irony meter isn't sufficient protection)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:04pm

      Re:

      Isn't New York City one of those where Uber is being repressed for being un-American or something?

      The mayor tried that, but it was just his duty to campaign contributors (as everybody immediately recognized) and soon was laughed out of town.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:29pm

    Paranoia: There's an app for that!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:57pm

    Peek- A-Boo Preet Bharara See's You

    NY Governor Announces App Version Of State's 'See Something, Say Something' Program

    I see something:

    Emboldened by Silver conviction, Bharara to indict Cuomo Jan 2nd

    Three sources are confirming that Bharara intends to indict Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 2nd — along with a half dozen associates and former staffers — on public corruption, racketeering, conspiracy, and honest services fraud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:01pm

    Ooops I Forgot to Include the Link to Report

    Emboldened by Silver conviction, Bharara to indict Cuomo Jan 2nd

    Three sources are confirming that Bharara intends to indict Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 2nd — along with a half dozen associates and former staffers — on public corruption, racketeering, conspiracy, and honest services fraud.

    http://buffalochronicle.com/2015/12/01/emboldened-by-silver-conviction-bharara-to-indict-cuomo -jan-2nd/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:25pm

      Re: Ooops I Forgot to Include the Link to Report

      If you want TD to cover a story, there's a link at the very bottom of the page, 'Submit a Story' you can use.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:12pm

    Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it. I've already reported the Traffic Division of the NYPD for their speed cameras in many public areas, and the curators of monuments for their security cameras.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:30pm

    Of course if you see government at the state or local levels committing a crime say nothing see nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:32pm

    I forgot to add, Are you envious of your neighbor and want what he has? just report him with no proof and get rewarded for making something up to the stasi.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:40pm

    Things to do today ...

    In order to keep the app focused on safety, users should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or briefcase in a public place) ...

    1. Go for a walk:

    i) Stuff backpack.
    ii) Walk to City Hall, Central PD station, Dept. of Sanitation Office, ...
    iii) Lean backpack against something and take pic with "ii" in background.
    iv) Send pic to governor.
    v) Pick up backpack and continue to next location.
    vi) Alternatively, take pic of any backpack you can that you can take without owner in resulting pic.

    And this looked like a good idea to someone, why exactly?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 1:58am

      Re: Things to do today ...

      Yes, but while they want you to report unattended items that may be potential bombs, they don't want you to report anything urgent that would require an immediate police response.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sigalrm (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 8:18am

        Re: Re: Things to do today ...

        You have to wonder about the state of mind allows someone to be so concerned that something is a bomb that they move closer to it in order to get a better picture.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re: Things to do today ...

        Yes, but while they want you to report unattended items that may be potential bombs, they don't want you to report anything urgent that would require an immediate police response.

        Such as a backpack with a pressure cooker inside at the finish line of the Boston Marathon? Yeah, we'll send someone around when we have time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:50pm

    Now please everyone who lives in a non communist state of america please take a picture of your loaded legally owned firearm and send it into the nystazipolice to inform them them life liberty and the pursuit of happiness still does exist outside of communist NY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:26pm

    A terrorist App? Their first tip will be a drunk wanting cigarettes and pizza. Call it apathy if you must, but I don't care who wins or loses, for me it isn't a game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:38pm

    Permissions: What, you worry?

    So I couldn't find a download for it (for Android). But if I could, I'm guessing the permissions needed would be something like this:

    * Determine your exact location
    * Determine your network state
    * Monitor and change your WIFI state
    * Access and modify your accounts
    * Create, listen to, and delete your voicemail
    * Monitor battery state
    * Initiate, monitor and terminate phone calls
    * Create, read, and delete text messages
    * Listen via your microphone
    * View via your camera
    * Monitor VPN connections
    * Monitor Bluetooth
    * Monitor body sensors
    * Install, remove, and administer applications
    * Read, create or modify all your accounts
    * Monitor your tasks, initiate new tasks, terminate any task
    * Read and update your calendar
    * Record audio and/or video
    * Download, upload and change, or remove fingerprints
    * Read and/or update your external storage
    * Device administration

    But it's not like that list should concern you: what, you worry?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 7:53am

      Re: Permissions: What, you worry?

      There's a link to it in the story. The actual list of permissions:

      This app has access to:
      Identity
      Uses one or more of: accounts on the device, profile data
      Location
      Uses the device's location
      Photos/Media/Files
      Uses one or more of: files on the device such as images, videos, or audio, the device's external storage
      Camera
      Uses the device's camera(s)
      Device ID & call information
      Allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call

      Most of which make perfect sense. Not sure about the last one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:23pm

    Endless terrorists

    I can see a fun way to protest this. If someone taking a picture of a public place is 'suspicious', then get enough people to completely encircle a public building, with each person taking a photo of the person in front of them and sending it in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:06pm

    App Runs On Smartphones ...

    ... smartphones invariably have cameras nowadays ...

    ... Why not just have the app autoreport its users, and close the loop?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tin Foil Hat, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:21pm

    Shit like this ...

    And the fact that everything in the US is illegal are the reasons I don't go anywhere besides my job.

    I don't want the police storming my house and killing everyone inside because some idiot thinks the scarf I put on my head to keep my hair from getting frizzy in the rain is suspicious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:04pm

      Re: Shit like this ...

      Trying to avoid being seen as suspicious huh, well that's certainly suspicious behavior...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 4:17am

      Re: Shit like this ...

      several countries have a travel advisory warning to their citizens about the dangers of being abused by the police if they travel to America.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 4:47am

    Just send in random pictures of downtown NYC, especially around Wall street, bound to be illegal activity in everyone of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 5:23am

    It looks to me that the best result that can come from this is a game of infinite mirrors. If people engage in this as it is designed, you will have large numbers of people taking pictures of (large numbers of people taking pictures of (large numbers of people taking pictures of ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      I think I've seen at least ten people (including me) so far pointing out the *obvious* recursive repercussions of this boneheaded idea, yet this never occurred to anyone connected to the app or the governor's office? The voters are sure getting taken for a ride when this level of incompetence is what they get for their money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 6:41am

    This is gonna be sweet...

    SO, now there's an App for Swatting at the Municipal, State, and Federal levels, without using Anonymous hackers.

    George Zimmerman, wouldn't have posted nude pics of his "cheating with a dirty Muslim" Girlfriend, if he had this app available to him in Floorda.

    It's been around since 2013? Now that it's getting attention, it is gonna get really funny, really fast...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 7:00am

    Just think of all of the extra revisionists Mao could have taken care of if they had phones!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymouse, 4 Dec 2015 @ 9:00am

    Use it on them

    This would be great to capture them violating the law, give the cops more leverage on the other government workers in the city(not that they dont already have it).

    Nice try, the government is the last people you call...and by then you're fighting them instead...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 2:24pm

    Go to Wall Street

    Go to Wall Street and take pictures of all the traders who keep tanking the economy by trading on bad derivative stocks. Or is that not what the app's supporters meant by "report a crime"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2015 @ 11:48am

    Just like the Stasi.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 1:45pm

    Considering how politicized terrorism is right now, all we need is an "official" app that allows us to "see something say something" that allows the goobermint to single you out for dong exactly that - seeing and saying.

    After all, we have a president telling us "see something say something; while is Texas they know a little bit about seeing and saying - aka CLOCK BOY.

    Folks saw something and said something, and as a result, the President invited CLOCK BOY to the whitehouse to congratulate him for taking a Micronta clock out of its case and shoving it "bomb-like" into a pencil case.

    Meanwhile CLOCK BOY wants $15 MILLEEON DOLLARS from the folks that saw something and said something. And Mr. President does NOT have the backs of the see'er/sayers.

    So all we need now is an "official" app that allows AG Loretta Lynch to pull us out and shove us into the spotlights for seeing and saying.

    Anyone that "sees something says something" with this app runs a real risk of having their life ruined. If you're going to see-say - do it anonymously - not with an app that allows "them" to ruin you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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