Technology is a double-edged sword. It has enabled the government to become more intrusive than ever with its online spying capabilities. However, cheap and discreet recording devices make it much more feasible to hold cops on the street accountable.
Police State USA encourages holding government officials accountable but advises everyone to research the laws in their own states regarding secretly recording audio conversations (Read more: The Reporter’s Recording Guide). Encounters with police officers in public generally do not fall under such restrictions, particularly after the recent court decision in Illinois.
Here, we intend to look at the technologies that facilitate that recording.
Streaming App for Cellphone
Ustream is a cell phone application that allows a user to begin recording video and audio — and simultaneously stream the data to an online account — at the click of a button.
If you are in a tense situation with the police, click the app button and the rest is done automatically. While running, it doesn’t look like a streaming app.
The video files will then be available online when viewing the user’s Ustream account.
Pros: Easy to use. Preserves video even if cell phone is confiscated. Does not give obvious clues that the app is streaming.
Cons: Police may assume that cell phones are recording. Depends on having a sufficient phone signal.
Hidden Keychain Camera
YKS 808 Keychain Camera (Source: Amazon.com)
This tiny recording device looks just like a vehicle remote-starter that might be found on your key chain. It’s an inconspicuous option for video and audio recording that is unlikely to be seized by police. The price is unbeatable, and with a large micro-SD card it can record for 2.5 hours. To recover the video, the device must later be plugged into a computer using a USB cable.
Even if an officer confiscates a a keychain from someone, it is unlikely to be determined to be a recording device and will more than likely have its evidence intact after the keys are returned.
Pros: Low price. Tiny size. Discreet. Easy to use. Always with you. Unlikely to be confiscated. Useful even if there is insufficient cell tower signal.
Cons: Capable of being lost or stolen.
More options to come.