Virginia State Police released a new “crime-fighting” app that encourages citizens to photograph citizens who are legally photographing in public, the latest chapter in the War on Terror that further criminalizes photography.
But considering how local police are already collecting data from our cell phones, would anybody in their right mind download an app that would make it even easier for them to collect our data?
Virginia State Police are offering an opportunity for every motorist and every pedestrian in the Commonwealth to be “eyes and ears” for suspicious or criminal activity. A new app, available for most smartphones, encourages citizens to either directly text a message to state police, or snap a picture and send it (with a message) to police.
Police believe younger cellphone users are more prone to text than they are to call traditional tip lines.
What do Virginia State Police want people to report using the new app?
“Suspicious photography, vehicles or people in places that just look ‘out of place,'” explained Maj. Rick Jenkins.
AMC and Regal movie theaters are now playing a public service announcement showing a mom snapping kid pictures. She then notices a man photographing a security camera. She takes a picture of him, and forwards it to state police.
The narrator in the PSA then says, “If you see it, send it. Download the app today. Protect your family. Protect your community. Protect Virginia.”
The general manager of the huge Potomac Mills Mall applauds the new police tipster service because, she says, safety and security are her company’s top priorities. Many shoppers agree.
“Why not?” asked Colleen Krepps of Arlington. “You know, if it saves someone, or it makes you respond to an accident faster, I’m all for it.”
Taking pictures or video of facilities, buildings or infrastructure in a manner that would arouse suspicion. Examples include taking pictures or video of:
Infrequently used access points
Personnel performing security functions
Security-related equipment (fencing, security cameras, etc.)
Not only is there nothing illegal about taking pictures in any of the above examples, there have been no documented examples of terrorists taking pictures of their targets before committing acts of terrorism.