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NYC 911 to Accept Cellphone Pics and Video

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the looking-through-the-phone dept.

The Internet 251

SpaceAdmiral writes "New York City is developing a plan to allow images to be sent to 911 emergency operators from cellphones. This will likely give emergency operators better information to pass along to responders. They're also planning on implementing a program of street-corner video cameras, as seen in the city of London. According to John A. Feinblatt, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator: 'The more information that the police have and the more quickly that they get it, the more likely that they are going to fight a crime.'" How practical do you think it is to expand this sort of project to cities across the country? Moreover, is it worth the expense?

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Camera Fun (2, Funny)

McFortner (881162) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699094)

I for one welcome our Dispatcher Overlords. Oh, wait, I'm a Dispatcher! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME SWINE! McF

Re:Camera Fun (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699236)

I couldn't work out how to reply to the orignal post (am I blind or is this really well hidden? I've been a Slashdot frequant reader since '98, yet this is the first time I've tried to be a parent poster) so I think I'll just reply here.

I'm an Aussie who recently moved to London, and the last thing that any city wants is as much constant video surveilance of ourseleves as we are objected to as the public in this city. CCTV, road cameras, papparazzi and ambulance chasers galore mean that you can't live in peace around here, somebody has to draw a line somewhere.

Crap, that was off-topic, huh?

Re:Camera Fun (3, Funny)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699310)

Well all of this surveillance is the fault of the tin-foil-hat people. Their campaign has been far too successful and there are too many people these days wearing their hats. The aliens, working through human government leaders, need new ways to monitor our brainwave patterns. These kinds of things are just a start of the next phase of their new monitoring tactic. If you want to see less of these cameras, stop wearing your tin foil hats!

Re:Camera Fun (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699326)

Turns out all you have to do is click the "reply" button, which happens to be only labeled as the "rep" button when using Opera on OSX with default Mac fonts. And, yes, I know, I had a couple grammatical errors, plus I spelt original, frequent, surveillance, ourselves and paparazi incorrectly. Bah-humbug. Each to his own

Re:Camera Fun (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699752)

BOW DOWN BEFORE ME SWINE!

I would but a NYC cop busted my arm for taking a cell phone picture of police brutality in progress.

Well that's shweet and all (4, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699098)

I think sending pics to 911 is nice...

They're also planning on implimenting a program of streetcorner video cameras, as seen in the city of London.

...but this scares the shit out of me, especially because it's buried there as some sort of "oh by the way, we're also doing this kewl thing, kthx".

Re:Well that's shweet and all (4, Insightful)

Uber Lieutenant (894875) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699318)

In complete agreement with you. 911 callers being able to send cell photos to responders is a great concept.

The video cameras? Not a fun idea to entertain, as far as a citizens point of view would go.

Re:Well that's shweet and all (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699558)

I know...scares the shit outta me too. Setting up a little video survellience out there...leads to more and more and more. And while it may not be abused now, I've never seen a law or tool for law enforcement that hasn't been used for other things than it was intended.

Total survellience has SO many possibilities for abuse in the future....

I guess I just don't want to show up on anyone's map, especially the govt's maps unless something bad happens....and it is required.

I often think about the Monty Python skit about the "importance of not being seen...."

Re:Well that's shweet and all (2, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699858)

I've never seen a law or tool for law enforcement that hasn't been used for other things than it was intended.
Shocker that your comment gets modded +5 insightful....

Isn't it safe to say that pretty much any technology/tool has been (mis)used for other things than it was intended. Don't we on /. say it's not the tool but how it's used? Wasn't that the collective argument used in defense of p2p and bit torrent? The amount of hypocrisy on this site never ceases to amaze me.

Re:Well that's shweet and all (4, Insightful)

dosboot (973832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699590)


Someone explain to me why Slashdot has so many people who are afraid to death of cameras? A security camera system maintained by the police department is a *service* for our benefit. We *want* the police looking out for us on the streets. Before you argue 'big brother', '1984', etc. you should take note that public photography is a valuable right in the US (http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm). Why then should make the police's job harder by taking away that right from them?

We don't take away that right from ordinary citizens even though they can abuse it too (if you want to be blunt about it, criminals can use surveillance cameras to lookout for police).

Re:Well that's shweet and all (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699672)

okay try this in a week you are seen on camera in

1 chemical supply store
2 a hardware store
3 a gun store
4 "with" a person of interest

So on the basis of this "evidence" during a sweep you get given a ticket to Gitmo as being part of a terrorist plot

Re:Well that's shweet and all (2, Funny)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699702)

"okay try this in a week you are seen on camera in

1 chemical supply store
2 a hardware store
3 a gun store
4 "with" a person of interest

So on the basis of this "evidence" during a sweep you get given a ticket to Gitmo as being part of a terrorist plot"

Well, that's an awful lot of coincidences isn't it? That's why I spread out my suspicious activities over months, if not years.

Are you really that naive? (-1, Troll)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699732)

Consider someone walking down the street, minding their own business, smoking a joint. Until the police can be trusted to leave peaceful people in peace, their activities need to be curtailed as much as possible.

Re:Well that's shweet and all (4, Interesting)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699742)

As long as the guvmint stays out of my home or anywhere else I have a reasonable expectation of privacy, they can record all they want. I LIKE red light cameras. I LIKE the idea that someone mugging me after an ATM visit might get caught because there are cameras covering the street. Surveillance cameras, public and those used by businesses have become an integral part of getting bad people caught and just as importantly, convicted.

Re:Well that's shweet and all (4, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699758)

There's a significant difference between public photography and the state taking pictures. There are cases where there may be valid security reasons to do so, such as at state-owned buildings to catch thieves and vandals on record.

It has been the history of this nation to provide certain barriers for police to help ensure that they remain as honest as possible. This is why there are requirements for warrants and Miranda warnings. It's not that we don't want evidence to not make it to court, but we want to be as sure as possible that the evidence was obtained without coercion or undue deception, and that it is done with the consent of the people involved in the case. This puts power in the hands of the people rather than the state.

The presence of cameras can allow for intimidation or harassment through automated means (think just about how many traffic laws you break in a given week, including speeding, rapid lane changes, rolling stops, and similar minor offenses), even though they may be useful for solving more serious crimes. Make things too simple for the state, and the state gets lazy. This doesn't cover blackmail potential, or other abuse that can occur -- such as the museum camera that was used to peer into German Chancellor Angela Merkel's home. The kind of devices often mentioned as desired by police are PTZ (point-tilt-zoom) cameras, and depending on placement, may be quite capable of being aimed to peer into the home or yard of a private citizen. Even with oversight boards, who is going to be able to review ~720 hours of use per month, especially when it is over hundreds or even thousands of cameras?

Re:Well that's shweet and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699814)

Let the frames begin! (pun intended)

Better you send those pictures of police brutality and criminal activity to the local police station then to YouTube. The we can arrest you for showing our female officer your equipment.

"How was I supposed to know that was a Cuban cigar I filmed the presidential aide giving to Hillary?" unknown terrorist interviewed at Quantanamo Bay February 14, 2010 before interview was interrupted.

Officer, I swear, there was this over 21 female all over me with kisses and rubbing on me, then she dropped my fly and took it out, then she ran and this teenager in a Catholic school uniform pops out from behind the dumpster and snaps that picture.

etc, etc, etc,,,,

Re:Well that's shweet and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699618)

Place this story firmly in the "wishful thinking" category. NYC's 911 convergence project (where they're trying to bring together NYPD and FDNY emergency dispatch services, with some service improvements like the one Bloomberg is flogging) is a hopeless mess. For months, the parties involved argued over where to hold the meetings to discuss how to bring the services together, and recently they spent 6 months arguing over the kitchen in the central dispatch facility. Unless Bloomberg himself steps in and forces action, the kind of improvement discussed in this article will NEVER, EVER happen.

Re:Well that's shweet and all (2, Insightful)

rubberchickenboy (1044950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699798)

...but this scares the shit out of me, especially because it's buried there as some sort of "oh by the way, we're also doing this kewl thing, kthx".

In this case, just the words "as seen in the city of London" should scare the crap out of all of us.

OTOH, I'm currently posting from China...

The least of our worries are... (1)

mhokie (988228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699100)

...'How practical do you think it is to expand this sort of project to cities across the country? Moreover, is it worth the expense?' But rather, do we want to live in a police state?

Re:The least of our worries are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699206)

Being able to send a dispatcher pictures from a cell phone (or any source for that matter) is a great idea IMHO. This could be a huge aid for paramedics who can diagnose a problem in route and give first aid instructions before first-responders can arrive.

But I am no fan of no fan of hooking up street cameras to monitor the population.

Moo (5, Informative)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699110)

Note that Indiana is doing it first:

Actually, the state of Indiana has already begun a plan to revamp its 911 networks and allow citizens to transmit images wirelessly to emergency responders.

There is a much better article on News.com.com [com.com]: New York to use cell phone photographers to help fight crime [com.com]

The service is to be implemented by PowerPhone [powerphone.com] which has a Press Release here: Technology delivers cell phone photos to 9-1-1 operators [powerphone.com]

re: Powerphone (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699506)

Thanks for the pointer to the PowerPhone press release. What's interesting to me here is that this technology has a shelf life of maybe two years. As it stands, the Cell phone networks are moving from circuit-switched calls to voice over IP; with VoIP,
SIP signalling is used to connect the two end points with whatever types of media are negotiated. With that in place, you can
initially negotiate only the voice side (a codec like AMR or EVRC), then later issue a re-invite to negotiate video codecs (if appropriate). You can also use SIP's message service (A.K.A. SIMPLE) to send still photos; alternatively, many networks offer MMS, which is similar to email (except in charging model).

The number of SDOs already developing work for VoIP is very high: 3gpp and 3gpp2 (cell phone standards groups ); NENA (the
U.S. emergency folks), ETSI-EMTEL (the European emergency folks); the IETF (in the ECRIT working group, as well as the SIP and
SIPPING working groups).

Re:Moo (4, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699660)

The service is to be implemented by PowerPhone which has a Press Release here: Technology delivers cell phone photos to 9-1-1 operators

I just read the article, which says:

PowerPhone's ILM system works like this: a citizen calls from his cell phone to report an emergency or suspicious activity-for example, a suspicious person dumping chemicals in a subway station. The caller dials 9-1-1 to report the sighting and says he can send a picture of the man to help identify him. The call handler sends a text message to the caller's cell phone requesting the photo. The caller then replies to this message with the photo attached. PowerPhone's ILM system stores the photo in an incident record for easy reference. The image can be forwarded to responders who are on their way to the scene.

By following this process, the 9-1-1 center ensures that photos are linked with the appropriate records of the citizen's 9-1-1 call. Even more important, this process discourages citizens from randomly sending photos into the 9-1-1 center-an arrangement that can lead to pranks and other abuses of the system.

Did they bother to check to test how many cell phones can actually do this? I just tried it with my Motorola Razr, and I don't have the ability to attach a photo to a reply.

I dunno.... (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699112)

Right now, I'd be somewhat skeptical of it, but it does seem like a reasonable sort of "future investment". And if there's any place that should be making it and could benefit, NYC is that place (with a huge city and tons of people with media-happy cell phones floating around). I don't think there will be any immediate returns, but... One of the things I guess is problematic is that you can't exactly call 911 and send them a video clip at the same time with today's phones - most seem to have them mutually exclusive.

Anyway. I wonder what the cell phone company will charge you for sending a video clip to the 911 service. :P

In answer to your question ... (4, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699134)

How practical do you think it is to expand this sort of project to cities across the country?

Very. Chicago is, I understand, laying a massive fiber loop for just this purpose. I don't know how far advanced their scheme is though. It is interesting that cities around the country are cutting back on public services, and yet still have plenty of money to spend spying on us.

Moreover, is it worth the expense?

Nope.

Re:In answer to your question ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699212)

I believe the spy money comes from various federal govt programs. Remember, threre's a terrorist on every block!

Re:In answer to your question ... (2, Interesting)

chicagotypewriter (933271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699226)

As far as the camera network goes, Chicago already has many of these cameras in place, but right now they are only in place in high-crime areas. Here [usatoday.com] is an image of what they look like, and they also have microphones on them and can record gunshot sounds. These cameras are very well liked from what I have read and there are plans to install more of them across the city, not just in high-crime areas.

Re:In answer to your question ... (4, Informative)

chicagotypewriter (933271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699296)

As a followup to my vague, sourceless post, this article [rajivshah.com] details some of the stats on Chicago's camera network, for those interested in what the cameras are about.

Re:In answer to your question ... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699586)

"As a followup to my vague, sourceless post, this article details some of the stats on Chicago's camera network, for those interested in what the cameras are about."

I wonder if it is possible to either temporarily or permanetly blind these cameras with a common laser you can buy?

Re:In answer to your question ... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699424)

Cool. Do they have speakers with an Elliot Ness voice telling you to "drop that weapon"? In fact what a great way to clear the streets. Play back gunshots(machine gun fire would be best), instead of recording them.

Re:In answer to your question ... (1)

gregoryb (306233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699828)

I'm fairly certain Baltimore has already put up cameras on a large portion of the street corners throughout the city. It started in high crime areas and then extended throughout downtown. (Granted, some would argue the entire city could be considered a high crime area! :) )

I am NOT a Google Shill, all right then ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699148)



I am NOT a Google Shill, but Microsoft is going down ! Now you know ! All right then !

Steve Jobs is a WITCH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699314)

So I've seen.

911 camera pics (1, Redundant)

vaksion (1024195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699154)

I think this is ingenious. A very good idea. This will help police get a visual aid.

Re:911 camera pics (0, Troll)

yourexhalekiss (833943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699202)

A visual aid?

You know that everyone's just going to stick their cameraphone down their pants, and send pictures of their twig and berries to 911. This seems useful for police, etc, but I feel bad for whoever has to sort through all the pictures on the receiving end.

Privacy dies evermore. (0)

EinZweiDrei (955497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699164)

And yet another instance in a long line extending back perhaps as far as civilization in which personal freedoms are traded off under the guise of short-term security. It pains me to no end to see the citizenry erode its own independence like this.

This will no doubt stop a few crimes, but is it worth the costs?

Honestly, as trifling as it seems and may be, shit like this is why I will never bring children into this world.

Re:Privacy dies evermore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699252)

Actually yes, preventing crimes is worth sacrificing your "right" to tell other people and the police what they can and cannot do with their own personal cell phones. Thanks for not having children btw.

Re:Privacy dies evermore. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699786)

Actually yes, preventing crimes is worth sacrificing your "right" to tell other people and the police what they can and cannot do with their own personal cell phones.

That's not the worrisome part of the article. The worrisome part is where they want fixed streetcorner cameras to spy on citizens.

-b.

Re:Privacy dies evermore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699390)

You're talking like you're expecting people actively committing crimes to video themselves and send it along to 911.

How the ability to send visual information to a 911 call center infringes upon privacy I don't know. Perhaps that guy bleeding all over the place would object to you letting the dispatcher know what his oh-so-very-secret injuries actually look like or perhaps it's invading that muggers privacy when you send his image along for the police.

Sure, a pissed off neighbour could abuse the system and send in private information about the guy next door who they hate but how is that different from him currently being able to phone up and do the same thing?

It'll stop a few crimes, save a few lives and all without any real negative impact on privacy rights.

The CCTV cameras on the other hand...

Re:Privacy dies evermore. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699402)

So why don't you go slit your fucking wrists fucktard so there will be no trace of you in the gene pool?

GO AHEAD, FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR WASTE YOUR GOD-DAMNED MOD POINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!

Re:Privacy dies evermore. (4, Insightful)

Babillon (928171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699510)

This sort of thing kind of makes me curious what world you're living in. What privacy? This is public we're talking about. You don't have any privacy in public. That's why it's called public and not private. Personally, I think this is a very good idea. I've been the victim of crime in a public area, and would of benefited from being able to send the dispatcher a picture of the taxi that the jerks ran off in.

And really... What's the big concern about cameras in public places anyway? Are you doing something in public you don't want video taped? Personally, I think the old mantra works just as well now as it does for putting information on the internet "If what you're doing isn't something you'd like for your Grandmother to find out about, don't do it".

Re:Privacy dies evermore. (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699826)

What's the big concern about cameras in public places anyway? Are you doing something in public you don't want video taped?

Sometimes.

About 40% of the opposition to video cameras comes from people that have been standing in a store, realized their zipper was down, turned away from the other people in the store, zipped up, and then looked up to find themselves staring into one of those black dome cameras, which then giggled at them.

40% is people that don't want a permanent record made of their every move when they cheat on their wife or go out to buy porn.

I think the old mantra works just as well now as it does for putting information on the internet "If what you're doing isn't something you'd like for your Grandmother to find out about, don't do it".

It's not putting information on the internet. It's going outside. They're different.

And the other 20% is not people that expect privacy in public, it's that if you're going to be watched, you want to be able to see the person that's watching you. Anything else is fricking creepy.

Though the weight of any of those arguments against a presumably effective crime-fighting tool is questionable. I, myself, will reserve judgement on the issue.

Practicality (0, Redundant)

WiseMuse (1039922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699166)

It seems very practical to me. If you can do it once, it's a matter of software, so you can copy the code and do it everywhere. Bandwidth is the only issue for some places. But in the major cities, this isn't a problem. In the minor cities and rural areas, the service will be inferior, but then again all serious in such areas is inferior. Giving priority to 911 calls would make sense, of course!

Ummm... what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699174)

'The more information that the police have and the more quickly that they get it, the more likely that they are going to fight a crime.'


Did anyone read this and think WTF? So police don't fight crime if they don't have cell phone pics to solve it for them? Great.

Re:Ummm... what? (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699360)

So police don't fight crime if they don't have cell phone pics to solve it for them? Great.

eyewitness testimony is confused and contradictory. the camera can capture the make and model of a car. a license plate. a face, a figure. details that would otherwise be lost.

Re:Ummm... what? (3, Insightful)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699476)

yeah, but you can take a picture anyway, being able to send it to 911 doesn't really change this.

Worth the expense to who? (2, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699250)

Worth the expense to who? The taxpayers, or law enforcement?

Re:Worth the expense to who? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699498)

Actually, for law enforcement, it's not an expense, it's a windfall of budget increases, more employment, its entire infrastructure benefits, on and off the books. For the taxpayers...well, it's all a matter of how they feel, regardless of actual crime stats.

Potentially VERY useful for EMS (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699280)

One aspect of this that could be especially valuable is for the Emergency Medical Services side of 911. I'm a Firefighter/EMT, and responding to a call, the more information we have the better, and pictures/videos could definitely be useful. Often times we get dispatched for things like a hemorrhage or amputation, and its not clearly communicated to us responders what we are going to find - whether it is just someone that lost a fingertip, or if their whole arm is gone (which understandably affects what we'll bring with us to the scene as well as how we manage the whole call. My guess is this probably mostly a result of the people on scene (understandably) freaking out in an emergency and not being able to clearly communicate the severity/magnitude of an incident, so if they could send 911 operators a picture, that would help a lot.

Re:Potentially VERY useful for EMS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699574)

You mean, when they are freaked out enough to lose the ability to speak clearly, they will have the time to open their cellphone camara feature, point the thing at the scene, snap the picture, press send, type in "911" with "h3lp"?!

I dream of the day when computer is as easy to use as my cell phone. That day has come. I now can't use my cellphone.

Don't get me wrong, I think the picture idea itself is a fine idea, but I just don't think it is approiate for truly emergency scene.

Re:Potentially VERY useful for EMS (1)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699598)

Just curious...

I don't know how you get your emergency calls right now, but do you already have computers directly connected to the emergency services systems to even have pictures or other useful information sent to you? You know, something other than an e-mail address?

911 Abuse: The Next Generation (5, Funny)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699286)

Considering how often we hear about people calling 911 for driving directions or other ridiculous reasons, I can't help but wonder when dispatchers will start getting stuff like tubgirl...

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (1)

frostoftheblack (955294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699370)

'911 spam' may be a valid objection, but it's a lot easier to dismiss non-critical videos and pictures than it is to dismiss non-critical phone calls. Phone calls take up the line and also they take several seconds at least to assess before you can hang up. Receiving video/pictures would (or should?) not prevent others from doing so simultaneously. Also, a dispatcher would be able to instantly recognize and erase bad content with the click of a button.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (2, Interesting)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699416)

Until you find a google image photo of someone bleeding to death, or a really good photoshop job... then it makes things worse.

Still, just treat a fake picture like you would a normal false call (I.E. they send people out and you were lying you get fined or worse...) and I'm all for this. It could certainly save lives, and (after initial abuse) wouldn't make things worse on the "prank call" front.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699782)

When you call 911 on a cell, your cell number comes with it, so it can be traced to you. On many phones, if there's a sufficient signal, your GPS coordinates may also be sent. There's enough there to provide deterrence from people abusing the system through false images, including possibly some extra penalties regarding fraudulent 911 calls.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699820)

"Borrowing" your friend's phone? Your voice will no longer be on the call. Then there's always the prepaid phone, used exclusively for prank calls, 911 or not.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (1)

Kesh (65890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699406)

I predict about two seconds after this goes live.

Seriously, while it has potential to help, it's going to be flooded with crank photos. Not to mention I doubt some of the dispatchers really want to see what some folks are going to send them...

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699600)

Considering how often we hear about people calling 911 for driving directions or other ridiculous reasons, I can't help but wonder when dispatchers will start getting stuff like tubgirl...

The guidelines to call 911 are different from city to city.

http://www.cresa911.org/911when.htm [cresa911.org]
Call precedence from highest to lowest:


        * Threat to life
        * Threat to property/property damage
        * General Assistance

If in doubt, call 9-1-1. Better to be safe than sorry


There should be more uniform guideline, for example larger cities tend to be more restrictive as to the use of 911, smaller towns tend to be more liberal.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (2, Insightful)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699698)

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I was taught at school to call 911 only in case of an emergency. That meant that someone is or was going to get seriously hurt (broken bone or worse), or there was someone around who was a threatening presence. Dispatch should never be your concierge. I notice that before that part of the excerpt you posted, it says the following: Call 9-1-1 anytime you have an EMERGENCY when police, fire or medical response is required immediately. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies include fire, crimes in progress or that just occurred, or a medical crisis. A good rule of thumb is - when life or property is threatened or at immediate risk, or if there is a good chance that a criminal can be apprehended, call 9-1-1. I think that's good enough guidance.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699838)

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I was taught at school to call 911 only in case of an emergency. That meant that someone is or was going to get seriously hurt (broken bone or worse), or there was someone around who was a threatening presence. Dispatch should never be your concierge. I notice that before that part of the excerpt you posted, it says the following: Call 9-1-1 anytime you have an EMERGENCY when police, fire or medical response is required immediately. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies include fire, crimes in progress or that just occurred, or a medical crisis. A good rule of thumb is - when life or property is threatened or at immediate risk, or if there is a good chance that a criminal can be apprehended, call 9-1-1. I think that's good enough guidance.

I was taught the same thing as you... and I agree 911 should only be used in the event of an emergency, where an emergency is a threat to person or property. Crime in progress, 911, crime that happened yesturday, hit the phonebook. House fire, 911, auto accident 911. Cat in the tree, hit the phone book. But I discovered general assistance is considered to be an acceptable use in some towns, such as unable to make a court hearing. You might think this is dumb, and I would agree this is dumb, but there is no real standard how cities or counties advertise the use of 911.

While I agree with your general rule of thumb, do check your phonebook. Odds are it'll be more specific as to what 911 "should" be used for in your area.

Re:911 Abuse: The Next Generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699734)

I prefer to Goatse my 911 operators and tell them I have a horrible pain in my rectum. Surely the paramedics will be dispatched ASAP to check me out to find me laughing my ass off while doing bong rips on the couch.

A new system (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699290)

Does this mean they will shoot less bullets into unarmed grooms?

Medical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699302)

While I agree that the privacy issues are a little scary, I do think it would be great if there were a medical emergency (or maybe a fire) and 911 operators could get more information that way.

Maybe they could offer better advice if someone needed CPR or poison care, or something.

this is a great idea (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699316)

mainly, because what if i can't talk on the phone eg home invasion and i'm hiding or i'm mute or something.

Re:this is a great idea (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699802)

mainly, because what if i can't talk on the phone eg home invasion and i'm hiding or i'm mute or something.

Not sure if pics would help, but they could be useful. BTW, voiceless 911 calls get a callback. If no one answers saying it was a mistake, an attempt is made to locate the phone and respond. Of course, a far better response to a home invasion would be the homeowned getting out his gun and preventing the assholes from invading another home. Ever. Sadly, it's far too difficult to acquire a gun legally in NYC, and even if you shoot a burglar, the system is likely to be on their side, not yours.

-b.

We should all go out strapped (3, Insightful)

olivercromwell (654085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699324)

Even wiht cell phone video and stills, the police cannot respond fast enough to prevent an unarmed person from becoming a victim, and a statistic. We should all have the unrestrained right to defend ourselves, and go out strapped. Just showing a potential attacker that you are carying on your belt is enough to make him melt away.

Right != ability (4, Insightful)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699388)

I wouldn't want to go out packing, for the simple fact that the weapon would more than likely be taken from me by the assailant. Sure, I could spend a lot of time and money learning how to use the gun, how to defend myself and the gun from having it taken away from me, etc, but I don't want to spend my whole life doing nothing but learning how to defend myself. And I sure as hell don't like the idea of a small mugging, where some thug punches me in the nose and steals my iPod, turning into a shooting, where some thug punches me in the nose, steals my iPod and my gun, and then shoots me with it. At least (although I'd be out an iPod and I might need my nose set) I would probably get to go home that night.

Re:Right != ability (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699462)

You might want to look at some of what Gary Kleck has written about the defensive uses of handguns. Personally, I feel much the same way you do, but when looked at from a societal perspective defensive gun use (and his definition of that is very specific) do more to preserve lives than take them.

"Right" doesn't mean you have to (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699512)

Nothing about having the right to do something, means you have to do it.

E.g., I think a woman should be able to have an abortion, even though I am not a woman and therefore cannot ever exercise that right. Just because it would seem on the surface not to be a particularly useful right to me, personally, doesn't change the fact that I think it ought to exist.

Saying 'well, I wouldn't use it, therefore why care if I have the right to do it?' is both narrow-minded and dangerous.

Re:Right != ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699612)

Go back to France, you commie!

Re:Right != ability (1)

chawly (750383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699778)

Take an Iraqi to lunch, why don't you. It would give you a chance to excuse yourself

Re:Right != ability (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699852)

And I sure as hell don't like the idea of a small mugging, where some thug punches me in the nose and steals my iPod, turning into a shooting, where some thug punches me in the nose, steals my iPod and my gun, and then shoots me with it.

If you carry a gun openly, this can be a problem. If you carry concealed in something like a shoulder holster, your scenario is less likely since the thief would have to know that you're carrying and, even if he did, get at the gun. Trigger locking mechanisms that sense something like a magnetic ring, a ring with an RFID tag, or require a specific motion of the trigger (not just a pull) to fire are another potential solution. If the thief takes the gun and tries to fire, laugh at him while either running away or retaking the gun.

-b.

Re:We should all go out strapped (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699580)

Just showing a potential attacker that you are carying on your belt is enough to make him melt away.
Is that your lousy pickup line?

Re:We should all go out strapped (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699642)

We should all have the unrestrained right to defend ourselves, and go out strapped

"Never give a sucker an even break."

The pro has the initiative, the pro has experience. The pro takes the back shot before the rookie sees him coming.

Street corner video camers only in london????? (2, Informative)

p.gogarty (684488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699348)

Street corner video cameras prety much everywhere in the UK from the smallest towns to the largest citys, We live under the eye of big brother over here

Re:Street corner video camers only in london????? (1)

p.gogarty (684488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699362)

err yeh great implementation slashdot. I just forgot to type the obscured word before presin submit. I still go ta preview window. with no obscured message at all and a submit button. Well that would thwaught my intended implementation of a flamebot. Come on guys - We expet better releases to the slashdot community

Re:Street corner video camers only in london????? (1)

p.gogarty (684488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699376)

Also I'm pretty hungover this morning. Appologies for the flamebait and miss spelling

Re:Street corner video camers only in london????? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699544)

and did the crime rate go up or down? Or was it only the sale of ski-masks that benefitted?

Two Quotes Come to Mind (1)

michaelaiello (841620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699350)

Orwell, 1984:
"The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately."

Ben Franklin:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"

Cell Phone images (1)

erica_ann (910043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699378)

I personally think that cell phone images should have been implemented to be received by 911 long before this... and wish it had. My biggest concern.. though it is not likely.. would be what if the images are altered. By this, I mean, it is not unreasonable to think that there is a part of the population (although not a majority) who could possibly alter the images before it is sent to 911.

If.. an image was altered before it was sent to 911.. that could change the outcome of what would happen. For instance.. it could change the fact that an innocent be portrayed to be the person commiting the crime. Though as I said, it is not likely by a majority, but it is a possibility. I would hope that there are people on top of things that would be able to tell an image that is caught live vs one that has been altered before submitted.

Could these images received by 911 - like voice calls are - be submitted as evidence in a courtroom afterwards.. and if so, will the authenticty be able to be proven?

Not that I am against this.. for I am all for it. But along with new technology as this being able to be submitted.. you also run the risk of fradulent images being submitted as well.

On the other hand, this opens a whole new door of being able to identify the criminal or warning emergency works on what they are getting into. One of the worst parts of responding to 911 calls - especially for domestics - is not knowing what you are getting into arriving at the scene. This really could be a very positive thing!

Re:Cell Phone images (1)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699776)

My biggest concern.. though it is not likely.. would be what if the images are altered. By this, I mean, it is not unreasonable to think that there is a part of the population (although not a majority) who could possibly alter the images before it is sent to 911.

From a legal standpoint and from a first responder standpoint I don't see how a faked photo could/would be treated any differently than a faked call in the first place. That is, today you can call up 911 and make a fake crime report and that's a whole lot easier than digitally altering an image and sending it in.

Planning on doing what where? (1, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699380)

From the posting: They're also planning on implimenting a program of streetcorner video cameras,

... and a spell checker to provide correct spelling for Slashdot posts.

Re:Planning on doing what where? (0, Offtopic)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699674)

"From the posting: They're also planning on implimenting a program of streetcorner video cameras, ... and a spell checker to provide correct spelling for Slashdot posts."

You beat me to it...I just got home from being out and about all day. I check out Slashdot to see what's going on and damn if "implimenting" didn't just reach out and grab me. Folks, can we take a little time and effort to try and appear educated and intelligent? I'm not talking about the occasional typo, slang, or grammatical errors in posts. I'm talking about the actual fucking story looking like it was written by a functional illiterate! I really don't get it. My Firefox has spell check built in. If your browser doesn't, you can copy and paste using you favorite word processor. Can you feel my exasperation? Go ahead and mod me as flamebait, troll, or off topic if you wish but, the devil is often in the details. Just imagine what this misspelling looks like to a first time visitor to Slashdot. "Nothing to see here, move on." /rant off

Re:Planning on doing what where? (0, Offtopic)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699688)

Yeah, and ironically...some of us should use preview more and reread what we just wrote.

"you can copy and paste using you favorite word processor"

Yes, it should be "your". That's karma rearing it's ugly head for my rant. :P

Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699408)

Jeeze arent we just getting closer and closer of George Orwell's fears of the future.

Worth the Expense? (1)

bennyp (809286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699578)

How much does a human life cost, exactly? Can you trade them on the stock market? Does the value depreciate with time?

Oh, please. (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699624)

Drugs can be patented; this usually makes them expensive.

Soldiers go to war with the shoddiest equipment a billion dollars can buy.

People all over the world starve because they can't afford food, or because greedy people refuse to distribute the food because they aren't getting their cut.

There are all sorts of examples of human life costs due to price tags--that's not the argument-finishing riposte you think it is. I don't like putting a cost on human life myself, but running _that_ up the flagpole isn't the way to approach this situation, especially with the huge, glaring privacy concern with the little "oh, and a camera on every corner" tacked on to the end.

Re:Oh, please. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699774)

Actually, the question is valid: what is a human life worth? The answer is usually simple: a lot less that we would like to think.

Resources, even in a wealthy nation, are limited ... we can't just throw money at every nifty-sounding idea (although that is pretty much what we're doing post 9/11.) In all such cases, a proper cost-vs-benefit analysis must be performed, and the results acted upon. That's a cold-blooded business, sure ... but in the long run, keeping childish emotions (and political aspirations) out of the picture and spending the money where it does the most good saves more lives. So we spend x-million dollars installing cameras and the communications infrastructure to service them. Then we recorded y-crimes and caught z criminals. That's great, so far as it goes but, had those funds been spent improving hospital facilities or providing weapons training to civilians, hiring more beat cops, or some other more direct measure taken, odds are more lives would have been saved. The claim that surveillance saves lives is disingenuous at best: what it does is (maybe) make it easier to find a perpetrator after the fact, but the crime still happened and the victim is still a victim.

Advanced surveillance has not, in general, ever made an ROI approaching the claims made by its proponents. Crooks are still caught by good police work and crimes are prevented by potential victims not by police, and all the cameras in the world won't change that.

Survelance cameras on ebay? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699628)

How soon before you start seeing this hardware on ebay? I don't know that Londoners (??) would be apt to steal such equipment, but I can absolutely see it happening in NYC.

it pays for itself! (1)

prettything (965473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699640)

lots new fines for crimes on camera, all those jaywalkers = profit! because its easy to do, feel the mu

Gah... (1)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699656)

NYC is already covered in security cameras, though the situation isn't quite as bad as it is in London yet. Still, the idea that anyone could look at the situation in London and think that's a good model to base your own project on is frightening.

Secure beneath the watchful eyes [art-for-a-change.com] indeed.

Not very practical... (1)

nexuspal (720736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699678)

I listen to my scanner here in Ellensburg frequently. Usually something happens, like a hit and run, and the police are off searching for a vehicle that fits a usually broad description. People generally do NOT have time to snap off a pic of a criminal event occuring, BUT IF THEY DID, they could use their own picture taking device to zoom in and get say... a license plate number... and report the same infomation to police moments later on either another cell phone or after calling back 911. If they are laying out millions of dollars for this I say it's a waste. But if they're spending a small amount of money, and the major carriers and cell phone manufacurer's build this into their products, it could have some usefulness, but on a limited scope. Any benefits received from such a system would not outweigh the negatives of living in an Orwellian society, where camera's are on every corner and if you piss off the wrong person, prior image "evidence" can be used to persecute you... And no, I don't think saying such a system of camera's on every corner leads to an Orwellian society is a slippery slope fallacy.

Cell phones and 911 (3, Informative)

p2ranger (606522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699726)

I also am a fulltime FF/EMT. If there was one thing that cell phone users could do to help, it would be a law requiring callers to stay on the scene when they call in something. You would not believe the number of calls we get for a dead guy (who is really a drunk guy asleep against a building or a tired traveler sleeping in their car), smoke investigations which turn out to be smoke from a fire place, odor investigations which can not be found at all, car wrecks which can't be found. Many times we are sent on a wild goose chase because the information we got from the caller isn't enough for us to locate the complaint. Having the caller stick around to point out what they found or educate them on their stupid call in so they don't do it again would be great. I can see where it could be usefull for having pictures or video sent in. We have computers on our apparatuses that send us information from dispatch. Getting a picture of a reported sturcture fire where you can see flames coming out of the windows could aid in planning and requesting additional resources early. This is opposed to the call for a structure fire when its really just some dummy who left their beans on the stove too long and smoked up the whole apartment. One engine can take care of that instead of having an entire first alarm respond to take a smoking pot out of the building.

The more info they have the better. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17699766)

One day while walking my dog I found what I thought were some explosives in a dump site. Took a picture and emailed it to the police along with a Google maps shot of exactly where it was. The local bomb squad chaps were around in jig time to pick me up to take them to the exact site incase they could not find it and blew the stuff up.

They liked the idea of the photos because they could actually see the problem and they did not have to rely on a probably unreliable witness that might have wasted their time.

who is going to be the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17699792)

to goatse 911, and how exactly would they deal with it?
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