Law Enforcement 2.0 – cops going social

The fact that various police agencies are using services like YouTube, Facebook and even Twitter there has been an increasing number of social networks starting up that cater specifically to police forces. For example one service called CrimeDex bills itself as Facebook for law enforcement and was started by a former police officer by the name of Jim Hudson.

Now owned by 3VR, a company specializing in image recognition systems, CrimeDex is used by around 1,000 law enforcement agencies as well as private businesses like banks and retail chains. For a monthly fee the members can submit information, photographs and videos relating to possible crimes in order to help each other determine if patterns are forming.

CrimeDex isn’t alone in the field as seen by Salt Lake City’s who say that part of their purpose is to increase the transparency of law enforcement agencies and help strengthen their interactions with the public. This services allows police agencies around the country to record instances of crime on a single nationwide map that is powered by Google.

Currently 450 police agencies pay up to $199 to use the service among which you will find cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and all of Utah and Maryland. Reaction isn’t all rosy though

But civil liberties advocates wring their hands at possible abuses of CrimeDex. The police typically file subpoenas or make other formal requests to get companies to hand over evidence of a crime. There is no legal process, or oversight, for sharing information on CrimeDex.

Privacy advocates also worry that a bank or another company may wrongly put an innocent person’s name or image onto the system, and that the person could suffer consequences elsewhere.

Source: New York Times

I wonder if they have to suffer through things like Super Pokes or other such garbage?

Photo: Dean Guernsey for The New York Times