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Uber Investor Suggests Addressing Police Killings With an App (usatoday.com) 311

An anonymous reader write: To address the problem of motorists killed by police officers, Shervin Pishevar, the Iranian-born VC who backed Uber, is suggesting an app that allows police officers to communicate with motorists during traffic stops without either party leaving their vehicles. USA Today reports that Pishevar "says he has slept very little in the past 48 hours as he seeks input from law enforcement, software engineers and designers, lawmakers and from community members," and he's now working with former New York City police commissioner. Engadget has criticized Pishevar's proposal, writing "Dear Silicon Valley, not everything can be solved with apps."

At midnight on Friday, Uber also shut down their service for one minute "to create a moment of reflection for the Uber Community,", and also added a peace sign to their app, encouraging its users to "take a moment to think about what we can do to help," and changed the countdown for the arrival of a car into the amount of time left "to reflect on gun violence".

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Uber Investor Suggests Addressing Police Killings With an App

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @05:39PM (#52484887)

    apple will want 30% of ticket / court fees.

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @05:44PM (#52484921)
    Non-kinetic solutions will not solve kinetic problems. How's about we all just take a step back and count to five before we make any sudden motions, literal or metaphorical.
    • by mytec ( 686565 )
      I agree. You have two parties engaging each other with heightened emotions which as of late are getting even more heightened with seemingly shorter fuses. While apps don't solve everything, having a way to communicate prior to a face-to-face confrontation may help ease the situation.
      • If. If the driver has an app. If the driver's phone is turned on. If the cop has the app. If they're compatible. If they get reception. If the battery doesn't die in the middle of it. Too many ifs make for more tension, not less. This is not a technological problem. It's a behavioral problem. Cops need to behave. Civilians with loaded guns on their hips need to behave.
        • It's an easy thing to say but how do you accomplish that. With large metropolitan police forces it is possible to set up an extensive training program that all officers have to go through that helps to teach officers to de-escalate situations and avoid these shootings that happen without good reason. That doesn't do a thing to address the small local police forces that exist in many communities across the country that may have no training program at all.
          • Yeah, but apps will magically obviate the need for training in de-escalation techniques because instead of talking to each other face-to-face, they'll be talking to each other from twenty feet away.

            Get over yourselves, techbros, this is not a software problem.
          • Yes, the logistics of organising a trip to a larger city for training would be ridiculous. Much better to just keep going around killing people.

        • "i concluded that the suspect was a threat because he turned off his police communications app."

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      While I support this philosophy when confronted with a new development, we're not talking about a new development here. Officers have been approaching motor vehicles in traffic stops for about a hundred years now. It's always had an element of danger for the cop, which of course also means it has an element of danger for the driver being stopped as well.

      We have to start by asking, what elements in the problem we are addressing are new?

      I think there are two. The first is that people in the car are much, mu

      • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

        The first is that people in the car are much, much more likely to be armed than they were a generation ago.

        Citation needed on this one. First off, the degree of firearms ownership and armed drivers will vary VASTLY by State, jurisdiction, and neighborhood. In some areas, being armed in a vehicle is basically impossible unless you're Very Special. In other areas, a cop might only encounter a few people who *aren't* armed.

        Crime, as a whole, has been dropping since the early 90's although we're not entirely sure why (that, or just don't want to talk about why), so it might be okay to hypothesize that "illegally hav

  • How is that not a technical solution for a social problem? The social problems are numerous, including police violent trigger-happy officers, a society that seeks to right wrongs with violence and trump. Sure, some behaviour can be influenced with gadgets (violent behaviour vs bodycams), but this is like trying to cure psychiatric illness with reading a self-help booklet.
    A good social solution imho would be to disarm 90% of police officers, only those exposed to real dangerous situations should be allowed b

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about a real time audio communications system is added to the cellphones? SOmething that can use the cellphone's microphone, convert it to digital data, and then send it across the network in real time to another cellphone in the police officer's car? Perhaps we could use some kind of numbering system to uniqlely identify each cellphone, with perhaps a three digit or short number for emergency services coordination.

    Now for a name... hmm... well, obviously, it's phonic because that means sound, and it

  • I think this is a reflection of everyone being frustrated, and being unable to do anything about it. You try and find answers in what you know. If apps are your world, then you hope to develop and code your way into a solution. I think the intent is laudable, even if in the end the app is a non-starter.
  • by bluescrn ( 2120492 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @06:13PM (#52485071)
    Traffic offences are easily caught on camera. There should be little need to stop a motorist unless they're clearly putting other people at risk. In a country that insists on having firearms all over the fucking place, being policed by machines is probably safer...
  • For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk.

    -- Keep Talking - Pink Floyd [youtube.com]

    Perhaps we need to put down our keyboards and screens and lean how to talk to each other again, in person. If we don't, we risk going back to being animals.

  • Because the disconnected communication on the internet has resulted in so much more meaningful conversation and much better sharing of information ? One sided expressions of opinions based on nothing but opinions are what the internet excels at. Net rage, manifestos, isolation and depression are the chief exports of the so called social networking scene. People in the days before texting, Facebook, Twitter and such were forced to interact with other people on some level and others saw you and could sense yo

  • stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @06:35PM (#52485177)

    People already get shot for holding a cellphone [photograph...acrime.com] so what makes you think a smartphone app will improve the situation? Also, if you don't have a smartphone then will they just assume you are hostile and/or antisocial?

    The problem is how the police are chosen and trained.

    • by SeattleLawGuy ( 4561077 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @09:41PM (#52486033)

      The problem is how the police are chosen and trained.

      No. There is more than one problem. That is sometimes one of the problems, because it is not like that is uniform either.

      If people broke laws less, we would also have less need for police. So having too many laws is also a problem.

      So is breaking the laws, and anything that incentivizes people to break the laws.

      So is mistreating criminal suspects in ways which may be as you are trained to do, but which will cause their entire community to distrust police officers forever.

      So is abuse of alcohol and inhibited judgment.

      So is any society where the punishment for a simple misdemeanor includes not being able to rent an apartment.

      So is a police culture where reporting a concern about a fellow officer's behavior makes you a pariah.

      So is a society where police lives are at risk at every traffic stop.

      It's not just one problem.

  • At midnight on Friday, Uber also shut down their service for one minute "to create a moment of reflection for the Uber Community,"

    60 seconds. Not more, otherwise it could hurt revenues.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @08:26PM (#52485713)

    "At midnight on Friday, Uber also shut down their service for one minute "to create a moment of reflection for the Uber Community,"

    Wow, a whole minute. They must really have been broken up about all that murder and killing and stuff.

    • Wow, a whole minute. They must really have been broken up about all that murder and killing and stuff.

      Server hamsters took a smoke break.

  • by Nonesuch ( 90847 ) on Sunday July 10, 2016 @09:32PM (#52485979) Homepage Journal

    This ignores the unspoken policy that traffic stops are not always about enforcing traffic law and collecting small fines, but rather the police want that interaction with the driver so they can fish for bigger violations. Traffic stops are "pretext stops", a loophole to get around the 4th amendment. [blogspot.com]

    Running your plate and taking your ID isn't about making sure they assign points to the right person, but also about looking for wants and warrants. Getting you to roll down the window and talk to the officer isn't really about checking whether you smell like booze or pot, or seem nervous. There is no right to remain silent when an automobile is involved. [papersplease.org], and traffic stops are one of the most productive ways to find and arrest people with outstanding warrants.

  • This app will reduce the potential violence associated with searching your car for cash to steal. Instead, it will just funnel your checking account balance to the police. A trained Animal Control officer will be dispatched to your home address to shoot the dog.

  • They shut down for a whole MINUTE

  • For example you could install cop watch video recorder [apple.com] on your iPhone, it's just what came up first when I searched. There are similar apps for Android.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM