mliu writes: The New York Police Dept has long denied the existence of quotas in arrests. However, as making a recording in NY only requires a single party's consent, a Brooklyn cop carried a digital voice recorder with him and surreptitiously recorded his superior and fellow cops as he went about his job. The recordings reveal that in addition to quotas backed by threat of discipline, the cops also were pressured to suppress attempts to report crimes in order to make crime statistics appear more favorable for the department and the mayor. As the article describes, this perfectly dovetails a survey released earlier this year wherein retired NYPD supervisors described "intense pressure" to show declines in crime by manipulating statistics. After his whistle blowing, his commander had him forcibly committed to a mental ward.
mliu writes: Sprint announced today the first 4G phone for American markets, dubbed the Evo, and its spec list is impressive. Android 2.1, 1GHz processor, WVGA screen, capacitive touch, 720p recording, HDMI out, the works. Combine that with Android's spectacular growth this past quarter, almost tripling its marketshare, and maybe this could be a turning point for the Linux-based operating system by Google. Of course, Sprint has been in rough shape lately, and has been hemorrhaging subscribers, but releasing what is arguably the most impressive smartphone on the market is certainly a step in the right direction.
mliu writes: In what is sure to be a blow to the already beleaguered stand alone GPS market, Nokia, the global leader in smartphone market share, has released a fully offline-enabled free GPS navigation and mapping application for its Symbian smartphones. Furthermore, the application also includes Lonely Planet and Michelin guides. Unfortunately, the N900, which is beloved by geeks for its Maemo Linux-based operating system, has not seen any of the navigation love so far. With Google's release of Google Navigation for Android smartphones, and now Nokia doing one better and releasing an offline-enabled navigation application, hopefully this is the start of a trend where this becomes an expected component of any smartphone.
mliu writes: Cellphones and other portable digital recording devices have revolutionized the ability of ordinary citizens to draw attention to policy misconduct. A police force is obviously a necessary part of a modern society, but by the very nature of the institution, power is concentrated into a few, and inevitably this results in abuses. The Roman poet Juvenal asked who will police the police? Technology has enabled society to shift the balance of power, at least a small amount, back to the people, so that every member of society can police the police. Unfortunately and predictably, the police have not taken kindly to this reduction of their power in every case, and Boston.com tells the story of a number of abusive arrests against people merely recording the public actions of police officers. Most disturbingly, towards the end of the article, a number of instances are highlighted where these arrests have resulted in successful convictions, on the misguided view that by concealing the act of recording, an unlawful secret wiretap was made.