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Cops To Start CrimeTube To Report Offenses 238

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the voluntary-participation-clause-to-be-removed-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "UK citizens may soon be able to report crimes by uploading videos taken from their mobile phones. Ian Readhead, director of information for the Association of Chief Police Officers, told silicon.com that forces want to build a video reporting portal to allow the public to upload potential evidence. Checking YouTube is now a routine part of many police investigations, he said, and police want to build on the extra functionality that this gives them."
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Cops To Start CrimeTube To Report Offenses

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  • Holy crap! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover (150551) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @02:57PM (#27705207) Homepage Journal

    So as a subscriber, I get to see stories before TFA is slashdotted. The preview stories come with this little question: "See any serious problems with this story? Email our on-duty editor." I don't think emailing the Slashdot editors is going to fix the problems I see with this one!

    TFA gives the example of a white van involved in some crime. Well, I have a neighbor whose dog barks all night, but drives a brown van. No problem, a little Photoshop here and there, and voilá! "Instant Evidence"! The neighbors dog spends 6-8 months in the kennel while his owner does the same thing.

    • by JohnFluxx (413620)

      How is that any different to doing that then posting the 'evidence' to the police?

      • Re:Holy crap! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snowraver1 (1052510) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:47PM (#27705829)
        It makes it too easy. Let's say that your neighbor likes to smoke pot from time to time, and that bothers you. Normally you would have to call the police and file and official complaint. Not anymore. Just get your crappy cell phone out and submit the video and wait for the police come to take them away.

        To me, it is one of those "whatwouldpossiblygowrong" type things. I feel that it should be at least a "little bit of a pain in the ass" to file a complaint with the police. Making small amounts of red tape (i.e. you actually have to call a phone number and talk to somone) limits the number of frivilous complaints.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          It makes it too easy. Let's say that your neighbor likes to smoke pot from time to time, and that bothers you.

          I'm not saying that the behavior should be any more illegal than smoking tobacco (Arguably it should be far less so) but if you smoke weed where it's illegal and you do it in plain sight of someone you don't know you can trust then you're a bozo.

          Making small amounts of red tape (i.e. you actually have to call a phone number and talk to somone) limits the number of frivilous complaints.

          You'll probably have to fill out a form when you upload the video, too.

          • Re:Holy crap! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by vandon (233276) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:16PM (#27706101) Homepage

            Even better, how many videos will be deleted because they show a cop running a red light, illegally parked, littering, sleeping in their cars, making illegal turns, etc?

            • Re:Holy crap! (Score:5, Informative)

              by AxeTheMax (1163705) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:51PM (#27706543)
              That's easy, all of them will be deleted. Because they would be information about the police that may be of use to terrorists, and it's illegal to collect such information.
              • by eleuthero (812560)

                Even better, how many videos will be deleted because they show a cop running a red light, illegally parked, littering, sleeping in their cars, making illegal turns, etc?

                seems likely

                That's easy, all of them will be deleted. Because they would be information about the police that may be of use to terrorists, and it's illegal to collect such information.

                Instant way to arrest anyone who has posted such a video for supporting terrorism--nice. Who needs a PATRIOT act in Britain!

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by blitzkrieg3 (995849)
              This website would become a veritable Mecca for such videos! If the cops were to take them down, they would be spending all of their time doing that.
            • When did sleeping in your car become illegal?

              • Re:Holy crap! (Score:5, Interesting)

                by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:04PM (#27706743) Homepage Journal

                It's illegal in a lot of places, the state, county, or even city can make it illegal to sleep in your vehicle in their jurisdiction. That's pretty much the norm these days, and in fact in some places it's even illegal to sleep in a tent in your own back yard, although in practice this is almost never enforced... a bad law is still a bad law. It's illegal to live in a trailer on your own property in Lake County, CA unless you have plans and permits to build a house. It's hard to see how that serves society, unless you want people to be homeless. Hmm...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by causality (777677)

            It makes it too easy. Let's say that your neighbor likes to smoke pot from time to time, and that bothers you.

            I'm not saying that the behavior should be any more illegal than smoking tobacco (Arguably it should be far less so) but if you smoke weed where it's illegal and you do it in plain sight of someone you don't know you can trust then you're a bozo.

            Making small amounts of red tape (i.e. you actually have to call a phone number and talk to somone) limits the number of frivilous complaints.

            You'll probably have to fill out a form when you upload the video, too.

            It's problematic because the police, in fact the entire government, are supposed to be servants of the people and this did not arise due to overwhelming demand from the people. I don't know if I have ever seen anything fitting that description that was actually a good or desirable thing. That alone should be a giant red flag.

            I think this is connected to what may go by various names, but the term I have heard for it is "proactive policing". At least in the USA, it arose during the 80s. It's what has f

    • at last (Score:5, Funny)

      by Chapter80 (926879) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:17PM (#27705481)
      I finally have a server that I can store all my snuff films on!
    • Re:Holy crap! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by csartanis (863147) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:19PM (#27705497)

      I wonder what will happen to the videos of police committing crimes?

      • Re:Holy crap! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cs02rm0 (654673) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:00PM (#27705967)
        I wonder what will happen to the videos of police committing crimes?

        If believed to be connected with terrorism (and isn't everything?) then taking pictures/video of police offers is against the law in the UK.
      • by nametaken (610866)

        Silly citizen, that only happens in the movies.

    • Re:Holy crap! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by A non-mouse Coward (1103675) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:21PM (#27705529)
      Where do I upload suspected thoughtcrime?
      • You're modded funny, but that's the same thought I had. All the coppers need to do now is organize local chapters of 'The Junior Spies' and the circle will finally be complete.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      TFA gives the example of a white van involved in some crime. Well, I have a neighbor whose dog barks all night, but drives a brown van. No problem, a little Photoshop here and there, and voilá! "Instant Evidence"! The neighbors dog spends 6-8 months in the kennel while his owner does the same thing.

      Wouldn't you think that they'd notice he really drives a brown van when they show up?

      Its not as if you can report people as it is with certain authorities. In my city the official city website allows you to

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:46PM (#27705817)

      Arguments like yours seem not well thought out to me. Yes you could frame him for a crime. Hell, why not shoot a few people and leave the smoking gun in his garage too?

      Well I'll tell you why, because police actually INVESTIGATE a crime. They aren't going to look at one video or piece of evidence, throw him in jail, and call it a day. They are going to look at all the evidence as a body to see what fits...

      So what happens when the evidence YOU submitted turns out to be the only information that doesn't mesh with everything else they have collected? They are going to come asking you some tough questions, and if you really tried to frame someone I hope you like sharing rooms with rough men because that's where you are headed.

      There's a reason in the past why people generally don't try to make up evidence and video is no exception. Personally I think it's great that people can submit video to help catch criminals if they are too concerned about personal safety to get involved. Wouldn't you rather have user submitted videos of crime submitted by real people than have monitoring cameras everywhere "just in case?". I lean on the side of trusting people in an area to say "hey, there's a problem here".

      • by Tanktalus (794810) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:05PM (#27705993) Journal

        Well I'll tell you why, because police actually INVESTIGATE a crime.

        I'd like to know where this mythical place is where police are both sufficiently funded, and incorruptible.

        (Maybe you've been watching too much CSI:NY?)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        and if you really tried to frame someone I hope you like sharing rooms with rough men because that's where you are headed.

        Dear Sir,

        I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms, about the comment which you have just submitted about the rough men that are frightening to be in the same room with.
        Many of my best friends are rough men, and only a few of them are transvestites.

        Yours faithfully,

        Brigadier Sir Charles Arthur
        Strong (Mrs)

        P.S.: I have never kissed the editor of TFA.

    • Re:Holy crap! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dwiget001 (1073738) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:47PM (#27705827)

      Yeah, it's not so much "Big Brother is watching you" it is "Little Brothers and Sisters are watching you".

      This can't be good.

      • Yeah, it's not so much "Big Brother is watching you" it is "Little Brothers and Sisters are watching you".

        This can't be good.

        Can't it? Supposing you're walking home from the pub some night and you see an argument brewing. You pull out your phone and start filming, and you catch a local thug kicking the crap out of an innocent person over a bag of chips. Wouldn't it be nice to have somewhere to upload it to? Or supposing you have a problem with unruly kids terrorising the neighbourhood but the cops give the usual 'too busy' excuse and let them run riot.

        Sure there's potential for abuse, but quite frankly that's what the checks an

      • Better than Big Daddys and Little Sisters. ^^

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Hopefully the videos are simply used to generate leads, since as evidence there is no way to verify their authenticity. But it seems that it'd be more productive to simple have the people, you know, call on the phone to report suspicious activity. They could send a patrol to check it within the hour, rather than waiting for it to show up on YouTube.
    • No problem, a little Photoshop here and there, and voilá! "Instant Evidence"!

      Even a dude defending himself in court could dodge that. "Here's a picture of my not-brown-van and documentation to back that up."

      Theoretically speaking, if the photograph is all they have to go on, it shouldn't lead to jail time. Of course, I understand reality is more theatrical.

  • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Friday April 24, 2009 @02:58PM (#27705213)
    How long before people start using this new tech to make bogus insurance claims??
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      How long before people start using this new tech to make bogus insurance claims??

      If most people can watch a staged youtube clip and call it out as a sham, I think the cops will be even better equipped at spotting a faked clip. And making a false statement to the police is itself a crime, so their 15 minutes of youtube fame will run out pretty fast...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So what are they going to do when people start uploading videos en masse of the police breaking the law?
  • What's the point? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @02:59PM (#27705221)

    Your every action is already videotaped in England.

    • by bazorg (911295)
      yeah, there are many terabytes of footage of hooded persons doing all sorts of dodgy deeds.
  • Crimes by cops? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ShadesFox (1534855)
    I think that this will be mostly used to video tape cops doing terrible things and uploading it for all to see. I also can't help but think that it will be largely ignored.
    • Re:Crimes by cops? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:23PM (#27705549) Homepage Journal

      Post it on YouTube AND their site. If it doesn't appear on their site, come back to YouTube and say "I sent this to the official crime-reporting site but they pretended it didn't happen" and watch your view counter spin like Orwell in his grave.

      • ...watch your view counter spin like Orwell in his grave.

        You may need to gear it down and use a tachometer. I understand he's starting to fly apart in there.
    • Actually recently riot police have been done due to footage caught on cctv AND footage submitted by individuals

  • by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:00PM (#27705231) Homepage Journal
    This is brilliant, but I don't know how well it will work.

    I tried it out, to see if I could get results. After spending a full day videotaping the dealings of the CEO of a major US company this week, and posting it, the police responded "Well, I mean, we don't really deal with this kind of stuff. Find me a guy who stole some cigarettes or something"
  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@g m a i l .com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:01PM (#27705263)
    Orwellian much?
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:06PM (#27705343) Journal
      Not a huge surprise. They already have the "If you suspect it Report it" [police.uk] campaign.

      Not to mention good old "Secure beneath the watchful eyes". [flickr.com](yes, they are actually serious. As in, that poster is not ironic.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by raburton (1281780)
      And here is another fine example... http://jamesholden.net/billboard/ [jamesholden.net]

      This nice webpage allows you to generate your own, but the ones shown are genuine ones, I've seen both these billboards around my own town, and it's not like I live in London.
    • Classic all-time backfires much?

    • by JohnFluxx (413620)

      What exactly is wrong with reporting a crime that your neighbor did?

      • What exactly is wrong with reporting a crime that your neighbor did?

        What's wrong with reporting a crime that your [boss|teacher|brother|parent|child] did?
      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        Nothing. But being cynical, we look at every intrusion into the technical field by amateurs as just begging to be abused. Because, based on something simple like email, it will be abused.

        The question isn't how useful this technology will be when used properly, but how many resources it will tie up when being utterly abused by people uploading staged and/or doctored images and video through Tor. Because it will happen.

        And probably by actual terrorists who want to tie up said resources in Northern London w

      • What exactly is wrong with reporting a crime that your neighbor did?

        I'm glad I'm not the only person here who understands that, sometimes, people who are reported to the police find themselves in that position because they've committed a crime.

        I'm also glad that most of the population of /. seems to live in crime-free areas where the only offense ever committed is the illegal downloading of a bit of music. Other people in this world have more serious problems to deal with and actually need to be able to report crime to the police.

        Here is the news: Crime happens, and when i

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:33PM (#27705649) Journal
      How fitting, then, that the Wikipedia article of the day is the biographical article on Judge Learned Hand, who said:

      [M]y friends, will you not agree that any society which begins to be doubtful of itself; in which one man looks at another and says: "He may be a traitor," in which that spirit has disappeared which says: "I will not accept that, I will not believe that--I will demand proof. I will not say of my brother that he may be a traitor," but I will say, "Produce what you have. I will judge it fairly, and if he is, he shall pay the penalties; but I will not take it on rumor. I will not take it on hearsay. I will remember that what has brought us up from savagery is a loyalty to truth, and truth cannot emerge unless it is subjected to the utmost scrutiny"--will you not agree that a society which has lost sight of that, cannot survive?

    • You may say that, but if I look out the window and see you robbing my neighbor, you better believe I'm going to report you. And if I see you raping someone, I'm coming out with a baseball bat.

      Same goes for if you're a policeman, although in that case I think a cell phone and video camera would be a more potent weapon. There is no better way to stay safe than watching out for each other as a society. It's not Orwellian to report crime, it's Orwellian if 'crime' is redefined to mean 'unpatriotic behavio
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:01PM (#27705271)

    If they had this in the US, I would upload video of my ATT phone/wireless/internet bill.

  • ... are BIG BROTHER ... Who knew????

    • by Reziac (43301) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:46PM (#27705803) Homepage Journal

      Exactly what bothers me about such schemes. Your neighbour becomes your possible enemy... divide the people so they cannot possibly move against an oppressive gov't, because they all distrust one another too much.

      Cue the "in Soviet Russia" jokes... oh, how about this one??

      Subject: KGB
      Place and time: Somewhere in the Soviet Union in the 1950s.

      The phone rings at KGB headquarters.

      "Hello?"

      "Hello, is this KGB?"

      "Yes. What do you want?"

      "I'm calling to report my neighbor Yankel Rabinovitz as an enemy of the State. He is hiding undeclared diamonds in some fallen trees on his property."

      "This will be noted." Next day, the KGB patrol arrives at the Rabinovitz's house. They chop the trees into pieces, but find no diamonds.

      Later the phone rings at the Rabinovitz house.
      "Hello, Yankel! Did the KGB come?"

      "Yes. Did they chop your firewood?"

      "Yes, they did."

      "Okay, now it's your turn to call. I need my vegetable patch plowed.

  • what.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:03PM (#27705293)
    I don't see any way this could possibly go wrong!
  • Police Abuse Videos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MasterOfMagic (151058) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:03PM (#27705297) Journal

    What happens when you upload a video of the police abusing a citizen (assuming you can smuggle your copy out of the situation)? Do they auto-delete or does the spin machine automatically fire up?

  • CopTube (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weedhopper (168515) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:07PM (#27705367)

    I'm more interested in a mobile phone YouTube to report misdeeds and abuses by police officers.

    I say that even though most of my interactions with police officers, even if they haven't been necessarily pleasant due to the circumstances, have been professional. It's just that I've been there and seen enough abuses of authority by bad cops to know that when it does happen, the only thing that's going to help you is video evidence.

    I wish those nine out ten good cops wouldn't cover for that one bad cop.

    • Re:CopTube (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:48PM (#27705839) Journal
      Any "good cop" who covers for a bad cop is a bad cop.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I wish those nine out ten good cops wouldn't cover for that one bad cop.

      What makes you think those are nine out of ten good cops, and not just nine out of ten situations where a cop is good? People who often do the wrong thing also sometimes do the right thing. And as the sibling to my comment says, if you're covering for misdeeds of another officer, you are a bad cop. Don't want the label? Quit, or fess up. Don't want to get shot fessing up? That's understandable, but it doesn't make you any less hypocritical, or any better a person.

      • I wrote that because it would be hypocritical of me to condemn all police, in the same way that an officer who assumes wrong might lead to him making a serious mistake.

        I wrote a much longer post, but I skipped it for brevity's sake but the short version is this.

        I believe that cops should be held to a higher standard that the average citizen. To accept a position of authority comes with it the responsibility to wield that authority with moral caution. I also don't buy the argument that cops cannot think of

        • by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:39PM (#27707099)
          I don't know how we ever got the idea that police work is particularly dangerous. (Wait...yes I do...from the police!). Police work isn't even in the top 10 most dangerous occupations. Death rate for Loggers about 95 per 100,000 per year, pilots about 90, steel workers about 50. Police are about 6 per 100,000. Only about 1/2 of the police deaths are due to encounters with violent criminals, the rest are things like traffic accidents and heart attacks. We don't condone brutality on citizens by garbage collectors, and their job is 5 times as dangerous as the police.
    • 9/10 good and 1/10 bad?

      You are really optimistic. We had a guy die in the airport here after an encounter with the police (Robert Dziekanski). All 4 cops told the same lies in their statements, and all 4 only recanted after they were confronted with a citizens video of what really happened. The cops "borrowed" the video camera, promising to return it, but then refused, and only gave it back after they were threatened with legal action. The cops said they tasered Mr Dziekanski because he attacked them with
    • Re:CopTube (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday April 24, 2009 @04:51PM (#27706551) Homepage Journal

      >I wish those nine out ten good cops wouldn't cover for that one bad cop.

      The thing is, it's that collusion that makes them all bad cops.

  • ...crimes committed by cops

    Right?

    Right?

  • Checking YouTube is now a routine part of many police investigations

    I'd bet that checking other kind of *tube sites is more like their daily routines for a part of them.

  • by mraudigy (1193551)
    My concern is that this will turn into citizens adopting a semi-crazed state of vigilantism. In the States where I'm from people around here take the Neighborhood Watch program WAY too seriously -- 24/7 neighborhood patrols in their cars, radio communications, etc. Now that people can upload possible evidence, I can see people taking a fairly innocent concept to a whole new level -- actively looking for "crimes" and recording the footage. And, what about privacy issues? It would only be a matter of time be
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I can see people taking a fairly innocent concept to a whole new level -- actively looking for "crimes" and recording the footage

      Since people are already doing this, I guess you should be able to see it.

      And, what about privacy issues? It would only be a matter of time before people start suspecting their neighbots of "crimes" and put 24/7 surveillance on them.

      The nosy old lady across the street is already doing this, too.

      I can put you under some level of 7x24 surveillance totally legally if I so choose. I won't be able to watch you in your bedroom with the shades drawn, but I'll know if you leave your house and what you're wearing.

  • CPD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chicago_scott (458445) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:15PM (#27705455) Journal

    If this were Chicago the system would eventually become overwhelmed by police crimes.

  • by Millennium (2451) on Friday April 24, 2009 @03:16PM (#27705467) Homepage

    These evil word bastards are perpetuating non-Cubic myth. Only Dr. Gene Ray, wisest human, can possibly understand the depth and importance of this harmonic system with 4 simultaneous days in a single rotation...

    Oh, wait; Crime Tube? Um, err, sorry about that. My bad.

    Man, that sucks.

  • If you have something to share, just post it to YouTube. If the police are interested they know where to look.
  • Now when people upload video evidence of police officers committing crimes and the cops delete them there are TWO crimes committed. Something tells me that this is not going to replace youtube any time soon.
  • What about downloads? Does this mean we can watch every crime ever filmed? That would beat the heck out of COPS.

    Youtube better watch out.

    • > Youtube better watch out.

      Youtube better not cry,
      Youtube better not pout,
      I'm telling you why:
      Crimetube COPS is coming to town.

  • nationoffinks
  • Does no one remember the trouble those guys go into in their last episode...?

  • In England, they've spent loads of taxpayer money to carpet the country with video cameras. Here in the good old US of A, we leverage the network effect by spying on each other. Much less cost to the taxpayer.

  • Film a cop abusing his authority or breaking the law and post said film and one is a hero.
    Film a criminal breaking the law and post said film and one is a fink, or snitch, or any of a dozen other insults.

    Have you all forgotten

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    Yet, you would have bystanders do nothing while crimes are committed, then you cry about the crime rate.

  • I bet the submitter releases all rights to the material as part of this deal. In a sense that's sorta ok, but if you don't own the rights anymore, you can't use the material to make a big fuss independently if the material is ignored.

    I also bet that the rights are not grabbed is not the case if the material is from the press. 'cos the press are savvy are copyright.

  • I for one can't wait to see all the G20 videos [today.com] up there for extensive public analysis.
  • Can we have this in the US, for my local sheriff's office? They like to speed near the park where the kids play. Sure, it's a 40 mph zone, and kids have some self responsibility, but 55 with no lights? When they ticket at 45? They also like to run the stop sign next to the school where the drunk driver's insurance company got to replace their brick wall and most of their furniture. If they think it's a yield sign for them, then maybe they can back off on ticketing my neighbors?

    When I come from, law enf

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:02PM (#27706715)
    Is there a such a thing as a wireless streaming video camera? Then if you happen to film the cops in some sort of dubious behavior, you can hand over the camera like a good little citizen when the cops ask for it, knowing that the video is safe on a server somewhere miles away?

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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