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NJ ACLU offers iPhone app to secretly record police

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Video Credit: YouTube

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: New Jersey’s ACLU has come up with an free app for Apple devices that allows citizens to secretly record interactions with police, “even without their knowledge.”

From ACLU-NJ video about the “Police Tape” app

The iOS “Police Tape” app, which works on iPhone and iPad devices, vanishes from the screen once the recording begins — which ACLU-NJ says “prevents any attempts by police to squelch the recording.

“In addition to keeping a copy of the audio recording on the phone, the user can choose to send it to the ACLU-NJ for backup storage and analysis of possible civil liberties violations,” a release issued this morning says.

“Too often incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed,” said acting ACLU-NJ Executive Director Ed Barocas. “Here, the technology empowers citizens to place a check on police power directly.”

“Firsthand documentation is critical to ensuring police accountability, and it reminds police that the eyes and ears of the public are on them at all times,” added the ACLU-NJ Policy Counsel Alexander Shalom.

More than 35,000 people have downloaded a “Police Tape” app for Android released in July, the organization claims.

And it’s all legal, the ACLU-NJ says:

“In May 2012, a federal appeals court struck down an Illinois law that had made it illegal for citizens to record police officers on-duty.

“Also in May 2012, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice released a letter affirming the constitutional right to record the police in public.

“These two developments came on the heels of a landmark ruling in August 2011, which recognized the right of citizens to record police officers after a Massachusetts man in Boston Common was wrongfully arrested for filming an interaction with a police officer.

The New York Civil Liberties Union released a similar, New York City-specific app to target “stop-and-frisk” searches.

This video by the ACLU-NJ explains what it’s about:

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