Recently, there was a riot in Isla Vista, California. As the investigation behind it continues, the LAPD’s decided to try something unusual in the hopes of gathering evidence; they’re initiating an online app designed for users to help out by submitting their own photos.
Where eyewitness testimony and on-site recordings used to be difficult to obtain, they are now becoming more and more common thanks to how easy it’s getting for us to carry cameras in our pockets. In an attempt to take advantage of this societal shift, the LAPD just made live a website dedicated to crowd-sourcing photos that can be used as evidence by the police themselves. This is quite the opposite of police confiscating cameras and deleting photos that we have grown accustomed to.
Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “Photography is not a crime“, this is a move that’s bound to spark controversy. The positive side of this is that the website is still in what you can call a “beta” mode, where only a few specific criminal cases are listed asking for user-uploaded photos to be used as evidence. The program itself is called the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository (LEEDIR), and it uses Amazon Web Hosting to ensure the bandwidth can handle the traffic.
The website itself, now online, gives you the option to send a photo anonymously or with your name; you can submit it through places like Instagram , Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Honestly, the implications of crowd-sourced evidence open up a range of possibilities and potential, but that strength is also the idea’s weakness. Considering how far photo-manipulation itself has come along, who’s to say someone won’t be wrongfully incriminated from being framed through an altered photograph? That being just one example of how much can go wrong with something like this, it’s interesting to see where this project will go. What do you guys think on the matter? This is something that I don’t see there really being a one-sided opinion on.