The South African Police Service has quietly launched a crime-fighting app – which asks for your name and address before you submit tipoffs
- The SA Police Service (SAPS) has quietly made available a crime-fighting app for Android and Apple phones.
- The app was first spotted by MyBroadband, which reports it is due to officially launch next month after internal testing.
- The My SAPS allows for anonymous tipoffs – after asking for your name, telephone number, and access to GPS tracking.
- For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has quietly made a new crime-fighting app available for Android and Apple phones to guide users to police stations and allow them to report anything from corruption to human trafficking – after they identify themselves.
The My SAPS app has been available in the Google Play Store since at least last week. It was first reported on by the technology website MyBroadband.
Employees within the SAPS have been asked to test the app ahead of its official launch on 11 October, MyBroadband reported an anonymous source as saying.
The app was created and is managed by Vodacom, apparently based in part on an e-government app called SmartCitizen the cellphone company created last year.
On first launch My SAPS asks users for their names and cellphone numbers, the ability to record video and audio and take photographs, and access to GPS location data.
The GPS data is used to direct users to police stations – using Google Maps in the backend – and media access is used in reporting crimes, where users have the option to attach such files.
In its current form, as Business Insider South Africa tested it on Wednesday morning, the app has some shortcomings.
Users who want to find the closest police station are presented with an alphabetic list of every police station in the country.
Accessing the map view requires spotting an innocuous icon in the corner of the screen.
The only other major function of the app is to report crime information to the police.
Such tipoffs can be submitted under various categories, with fields for the various details that would aid in investigation.
Tipoffs can be submitted anonymously – if you click the right button.
Anonymous tipoffs are not the default; users have to choose not to transmit the information they provide on registration with the details of the crime they wish to report.
Nothing in the app, or the linked terms and conditions on the SAPS website, explain how anonymous reporting works, how information is secured, or why users should trust that the selection will be honoured.
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