The Phone App That Takes Recording Police Brutality To A Whole New Level


In the summer of 1991, a man recorded a video of Los Angeles Police Department officers brutally beating Rodney Glen King – who was a taxi driver in a high-speed car chase. George Holliday, the man who recorded the video from his balcony, sold that tape to KTLA for five hundred dollars, it became at that time what is now known as a viral video. Part of the film was aired around the world, inflaming outrage in towns where racial concerns were high, and raising public concern regarding the police’s approach to those within minority groups.

However, ACLU or the American Civil Liberties Union recently released a mobile software that supports men and women who record law enforcement brutality. The application has been created to safeguard videos which are taken with smartphones. The application works by encrypting the video, which ultimately prevents the footage from being deleted or destroyed. When the application is in use, the video is transferred and transmitted to the American Civil Liberties Union immediately after the streaming or recording has been stopped. The American Civil Liberties Union stated that they shall review the videos they receive and decide if the behavior warrants any action(s) on the part of their agency.

Everyone wants to keep an eye on the police. But in these incidents, the police are interacting with an individual involved in the worst conduct of their lives. The American Civil Liberties Union needs to consider their privacy rights,” says Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School.

However, this recording software is not the first application introduced by the American Civil Liberties Union to help those recording police. “We want to multiply the number of cameras that can be trained by police officers at any time. They require to know that whatever they do could possibly be seen by the entire world,” said Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Furthermore, other states currently are using the system include California, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Oregon. New Jersey had previously used a comparable application; however, they discontinued it’s use after experiencing technical issues. The new American Civil Liberties Union application is available from both the App Store and Play Store.

Image Source: American Civil Liberties Union – Kary L. Moss has served as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan since 1998. She earned a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and a JD from CUNY Law School at Queen’s College.

With this application, we empower citizens to know their legal rights and to record ominous interactions,” said Kary Moss, Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. The application was introduced on the heel of numerous shootings; the American Civil Liberties Union has cited that these shootings were one of the components that pushed the launch of the application. The most high profile and terrible incident mentioned was the shooting of Terrance Kellom, who was shot by officers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement back in April.

The introduction of this software should also aid the development of data collection organizations, some of which are already looking to profit from this project. In addition, people who are on the move are able to wear an external camera or body cameras and connect it to their cellular device. Despite unanimous support for the body cams, it is thought that local governing bodies will be not able to handle the storage of all the data, leaving it to online storage space providers to store the data.

We are living in times where misuse of power is being challenged, being questioned and no longer being overlooked,” said Patrisse Cullors, a director at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The American Civil Liberties Union’s application signifies just how crucial video recordings have become since Holliday captured those blurry images almost twenty-five years ago.

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