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  • Time Magazine Profiles Hack Uncovering iOS Apps That Make Police Officers Nervous


    Time magazine's Techland published an interesting report this morning about the growing number of iOS apps that make authorities nervous. As it turns out, the list of apps causing worry for police extend far beyond the controversial DUI checkpoint apps that recently prompted Apple to revise its App Store review policies and guidelines.

    The genesis of this story stems back to a hacker group (go figure) called LulzSec. The organization, according to Time, has been targeting Arizona law enforcement "by releasing thousands of pages of confidential documents and communications presumably acquired in a security breach." Within the treasure trove of findings are documents that point to the iPhone and several apps that have drawn scrutiny and concern from law enforcement.
    Originally Posted by :
    One document, titled “iphone apps- used against officers.doc”, is classified “Law Enforcement Sensitive” and lists several apps of which officers should be aware. These include an app called “Cop Recorder,” which according to the police document “can be activated while in a pocket and record everything the officer is saying,” as well as a speed trap avoidance app and a police tracking app, and an app for jailbroken iPhones that turns the device into a scale in grams or ounces.
    According to the contents uncovered in this particular document, authorities are encouraged to “take the time to look at an arrestee's cell phone to see what applications they have.” In a similar document - one originating from the US Justice Department in 2009 - police are further advised to blanket all iDevices from receiving wireless signals so that "remote wipe" can't be used to erase any potentially incriminating information.

    Following the publicized hack, the Arizona Highway Patrol Association confirmed that the leaked documents are, indeed, real. Referencing the hackers who brought these police policies and procedures to light, Jimmy Chavez, President of the AHPA, says: “These individuals maliciously released confidential information knowing the safety of DPS employees, and their families, would be compromised. A threat to release more DPS files demonstrates how heinous the hackers are willing to act. The AHPA would like to see the people brought to justice and prosecuted to the highest degree of the law.”

    Source: Time magazine (Techland)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Time Magazine Profiles Hack That Uncovered iOS App That Make Police Officers Nervous started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      If they do their job correctly, why would police have a problem with being recorded? They record stuff when they pull people over why not the other way around? Speed trap avoidence slows these speed demons down, isn't that the purpose of cops pulling people over or is it interfering with them making their quotas? Is there more information the hacker released that is not posted up? Because I do not see any of this info hurt these cops families.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      Put a passcode on your iPhone. You're not obligated to tell Police what it is.

      On the subject of the DUI/Checkpoint apps. If you're using them to harmlessly avoid inconvenient, but tiny, delays in your journey then fine. No problem there.
      The problem is with people using the apps to avoid checkpoints because they know they have something to hide or are driving over the alcohol limit. I'd rather endure as many checkpoints as possible on a journey over those apps enabling a single person to drink and drive.
    1. cranie's Avatar
      cranie -
      It SHOULD say

      "Time Magazine Profiles Hack(ers) That Uncovered (a file listing the) iOS Apps That Make Police Officers Nervous"

      Which is still long and clunky.
    1. Doran's Avatar
      Doran -
      While reading this article I don't understand what the problem is..... Policy and Procedure for a Police Department (as far as I know) isn't a "secret". Police have guidelines to follow to protect themselves and the person they are dealing with.

      For a citizen to record a conversation during a stop is not illegal, it's a protection method just like police do.

      As far as the DUI check point app. Police are required to inform the public when and where one is, but they don't have to make it easy for you to find. ie: in the newspaper on page 20 in the Social Living section.

      The speed trap app..... Try not speeding and you'll be fine..... I have never been a fan of the term "Speed Trap". If you don't speed...... you have nothing to worry about....

      I believe there should be more information in this article explaining why this Police Department's officers are worried..... Maybe I'm missing something or didn't understand what this article is about.....

      FYI, I am a Police Officer in South Louisiana and I don't have a problem with these apps. I have friends with iPhones and Android phones that have some interesting apps. A friend called me the other day and asked who I was pulling over at (and gave the intersection I was at) then told me about the app. The funny thing is, that stop was made about 20 minutes before he called me about it but he said he just heard it. I thought it was interesting.
    1. kraziebone's Avatar
      kraziebone -
      I don't understand the Arizona police department in this situation. They respond to a recording app by making sure the cops are aware of it so that they can disable it? What happened to training your department to refrain from incriminating speech?
    1. DaveHavok's Avatar
      DaveHavok -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      Put a passcode on your iPhone. You're not obligated to tell Police what it is.
      Actually, the cops in some areas have mobile devices that can bypass you pass lock on your smartphone. You're better off having a failure wipe on frequent error set so you can mis-enter your pass code 3-5 times to wipe it before handing it over
    1. rel1215's Avatar
      rel1215 -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      If they do their job correctly, why would police have a problem with being recorded? They record stuff when they pull people over why not the other way around? Speed trap avoidence slows these speed demons down, isn't that the purpose of cops pulling people over or is it interfering with them making their quotas? Is there more information the hacker released that is not posted up? Because I do not see any of this info hurt these cops families.
      i think the biggest issue that the article failed to address is in regards to personal info of boarder patrol agents being posted. so basically, those a-holes at lulzsec told every drug cartel in mexico where the families of border patrol agents live. yeah, no big deal.

      can't wait for these dicks to get busted.....hope there is some waterboarding involved.
    1. slayorktc's Avatar
      slayorktc -
      Where is that scale app they are talking about.. I don't have no such app in my cydia!
    1. Doran's Avatar
      Doran -
      Quote Originally Posted by slayorktc View Post
      Where is that scale app they are talking about.. I don't have no such app in my cydia!
      I'm sure it's in one of "those" repos that you and I stay away from....
    1. itzthestoff's Avatar
      itzthestoff -
      Quote Originally Posted by clockworkengine View Post
      The headline of this article is incomprehensible!
      Yes it is! Lol.
    1. gthugballin's Avatar
      gthugballin -
      Quote Originally Posted by rel1215 View Post

      can't wait for these dicks to get busted.....hope there is some waterboarding involved.
      Wooo lets fight injustice with injustice yeaaahhhhhhhhhh

      ::insert sarcasm::
    1. JonnyBoy333's Avatar
      JonnyBoy333 -
      Well, I just checked out the jailbroken scale apps they were referring to in this article and I gotta say, one would have to be absolutely retarded to use it as a scale for measuring drugs.

      The apps use the gyroscope to estimate the weight of an object, to ohhh plus or minus 10 grams... or plus or minus about $1000 if you were trying to weigh cocaine.

      "Well sir, here's your gram of coke, according to my iPhone that's going to cost you roughly 0 dollars, hmm that seems reasonable.."
    1. fveilani77's Avatar
      fveilani77 -
      this is complete ********, if they are doing their job right and not abusing anyone then they dont shouldnt have anything to worry about, but since they know their cops abuse rather than serve the public
    1. shminkyboy's Avatar
      shminkyboy -
      So much for the fourth amendment. This article reminds me of Napoleon-era France, not the United States...

      To wit: you're already assumed to be guilty if the cops are rifling through the contents of your phone to look at your apps and info. This falls squarely into the 'illegal search and seizure' part of the fourth amendment, and is pretty deplorable. As someone else posted above, it is not illegal to film OR audio record the police. It actually appears that they have their panties up in a bunch over the idea that their Napoleon-era tactics have come to light, the way this article has been presented! Wake up, you have no rights here anymore...

      And I don't even have any of those apps =)

      Now, to address the personal info part of the lulzsec breach, I agree, releasing the personal info of the officers was NOT COOL, and they should be hunted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, as they did in fact commit a crime...

      Unfortunately, the cops are losing their moral high ground due to ignoring the law (the 4th amendment) themselves ;P
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      Put a passcode on your iPhone. You're not obligated to tell Police what it is.

      On the subject of the DUI/Checkpoint apps. If you're using them to harmlessly avoid inconvenient, but tiny, delays in your journey then fine. No problem there.
      The problem is with people using the apps to avoid checkpoints because they know they have something to hide or are driving over the alcohol limit. I'd rather endure as many checkpoints as possible on a journey over those apps enabling a single person to drink and drive.
      Thats like saying "put a lock on your car so they can't search it". If the officer has trainable cause or a warrant they can sure as heck search your car, just like a cell phone.

      Quote Originally Posted by shminkyboy View Post
      So much for the fourth amendment. This article reminds me of Napoleon-era France, not the United States...

      To wit: you're already assumed to be guilty if the cops are rifling through the contents of your phone to look at your apps and info. This falls squarely into the 'illegal search and seizure' part of the fourth amendment, and is pretty deplorable. As someone else posted above, it is not illegal to film OR audio record the police. It actually appears that they have their panties up in a bunch over the idea that their Napoleon-era tactics have come to light, the way this article has been presented! Wake up, you have no rights here anymore...

      And I don't even have any of those apps =)

      Now, to address the personal info part of the lulzsec breach, I agree, releasing the personal info of the officers was NOT COOL, and they should be hunted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, as they did in fact commit a crime...

      Unfortunately, the cops are losing their moral high ground due to ignoring the law (the 4th amendment) themselves ;P
      So wait, let me get this straight, if you smell of dope or weed a cop can't search your car? And if they ask you if its ok to search it and you say "sure there's nothing" but when they find the stash its violating your rights? I don't really understand. And as an extension wouldn't you say that an officer can search your phone if there is cause to believe there's child pornography on it? And if you don't have child porn on it, big deal! OMG he saw those embarrassing sexts you sent to your girlfriend! BIG DEAL.
    1. shminkyboy's Avatar
      shminkyboy -
      Quote Originally Posted by coolguy742 View Post
      So wait, let me get this straight, if you smell of dope or weed a cop can't search your car? And if they ask you if its ok to search it and you say "sure there's nothing" but when they find the stash its violating your rights? I don't really understand. And as an extension wouldn't you say that an officer can search your phone if there is cause to believe there's child pornography on it? And if you don't have child porn on it, big deal! OMG he saw those embarrassing sexts you sent to your girlfriend! BIG DEAL.

      heheh that, sir is called "probable cause"... the difference here is, they're going to look at it whether they have "probable cause" or not, which is when it becomes 'illegal search and seizure' instead of "probable cause"... so keep your straw man arguments to yourself, thanks, cause you're probably one of those guys that would be the first to whine about your rights if it happened to you... oh wait, you don't have any =P
    1. Imahottguy's Avatar
      Imahottguy -
      So the Author omitted, or did not research, the whole "hacker group releasing border patrol agent names and addresses" part. Perhaps that is why the police are worried, and feel like they are now in danger?

      DUI checkpoint apps should not exist. They only benefit the inebriated, after all. Speed trap apps only benefit speeders, don't try to use the excuse of not wanting the inconenience or whatever.. I personally think it is ridiculous that the police can, at least in some states (I'm not quite sure how many), search your phone on probable cause alone. I don't have anything to hide, but it just feels like we are giving too many freedoms up lately. I should get a recording app that can be launched quickly, if I ever get pulled over! I never thought of recording the officer. It's a good idea, since it protects the citizen.

      Full disclosure: I don't do illegal activities, they're not really my dig However, I, like many many others have a general mistrust and dislike for the police.
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      Quote Originally Posted by shminkyboy View Post
      heheh that, sir is called "probable cause"... the difference here is, they're going to look at it whether they have "probable cause" or not, which is when it becomes 'illegal search and seizure' instead of "probable cause"... so keep your straw man arguments to yourself, thanks, cause you're probably one of those guys that would be the first to whine about your rights if it happened to you... oh wait, you don't have any =P
      I'm aware of what probable cause is... and I disagree that they will look at your phone without probable cause, for the simple reason that they could get into a crap-ton of trouble if you could prove that they searched your property without permission or probable cause. and that point aside, if a cop asked me if he could see my phone, I'd be like "sure, go ahead" BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE.
    1. gravion17's Avatar
      gravion17 -
      [QUOTE=gthugballin;6107698]Wooo lets fight injustice with injustice yeaaahhhhhhhhhh

      ...oh, the bad guys will hurt the Cops and their family members...the bad guys ARE the Cops and their family members!
    1. dhamien's Avatar
      dhamien -
      Quote Originally Posted by coolguy742 View Post
      Thats like saying "put a lock on your car so they can't search it". If the officer has trainable cause or a warrant they can sure as heck search your car, just like a cell phone.



      So wait, let me get this straight, if you smell of dope or weed a cop can't search your car? And if they ask you if its ok to search it and you say "sure there's nothing" but when they find the stash its violating your rights? I don't really understand. And as an extension wouldn't you say that an officer can search your phone if there is cause to believe there's child pornography on it? And if you don't have child porn on it, big deal! OMG he saw those embarrassing sexts you sent to your girlfriend! BIG DEAL.
      It's actually scary how willing you are to give up your basic rights.