A new application for the iPhone launched today which will supposedly prevent crime, save lives, and help you find your kids, not to mention feed the world, cure cancer and invent a perpetual motion machine.
The application, IcePics, which stands for In Case of Emergency Pictures, allows an iPhone user to point their phone at a suspicious individual and click the IcePics button to take a picture of them and automatically email it, along with the GPS location of where the photo was taken, to a pre-selected email address.
Examples given, included in the video below, involve children being accosted by a stranger, who must obviously be a kidnapper, so the children take his photo which then gets sent off with the location to the childrens’ parents. Those parents then panic, the mother drops the frying pan and sets the house on fire and the father runs out of the house screaming while trying to call the police. An hour later the man who the children assumed was a rapist is hunted down and arrested and everyone lives happily ever after.
Except the man was just asking for directions. Or he shouted at the little brats for kicking his car. But now he has to sign the sex offenders register. All, theoretically, what IcePics could do for the world.
That’s not the only major flaw of the application, of course. Jeff Neumeyer, the developer of IcePics, said that “a person with ill intent, such as a child-napper, mugger or rapist, will almost certainly abandon their plans because the chance of them being caught is almost assured.”
That’s assuming that taking a picture of someone scares them enough into not committing the crime. And how does the perpetrator know for certain that you are taking a picture, or, indeed, that it is being emailed anywhere? Unless you shout: “I have an app on this phone – don’t make me use it!” They might just commit the crime and steal or break your phone while they’re at it.
IcePics added: “Even if a person does not have an iPhone, or doesn’t purchase IcePics, once criminals become aware of the app they will flee when any phone is aimed at them. Most criminals will not stop and second guess whether or not someone actually has an iPhone equipped with IcePics.”
Let’s face it, it’s easy to know if someone has an iPhone or not, particularly when they’re pointing it in your face. Pointing a phone at someone is unlikely to stop a crime – particularly if they’re a phone thief.
A “secondary use” for the application involves the parents of a child calling them up and asking them to take a photo using IcePics. This gets mailed with the GPS location of the child to the parents, helping them locate their kid. Simply asking “where are you?” when they called the child might have worked too, but clearly most children are lying through their teeth, must be up to something and need to be tracked by satellites at all times.
And what’s to stop an unscrupulous person using this GPS tracking to also track the child? The same technology could actually put them in danger.
In fact, the examples given are so ludicrous that they even have you snapping shots of a stranger knocking at your door before opening it. So someone knocks to ask if you want to buy something and here you are taking their picture and mailing it off to someone as evidence of a crime that will undoubtedly be committed, because everyone is secretly a criminal.
Is this the beginning of a really rubbish Minority Report sequel?