In many cases, citizens have reported suspicious activity and have been correct in assuming that someone was up to no good. This is the reason why New York’s Governor Cuomo has been attempting to promote and push an app called ‘See Send’ that allows people to report suspicious activity throughout the state (but mostly in the city).
The app does have its merits, but there are some issues with an app like this one too - namely, reporting suspicious activity and trying to call people out for any activity that is unusual can easily turn into a witch hunt. Here’s what the app can do, and why Cuomo is pushing it so widely across the state of New York.
Using See Send
The See Send app allows individuals to report any activity that seems suspicious. The app is directly linked to authorities, and once a message about any suspicious activity has been sent, it can then be further investigated. While this might seem like a good idea to anyone that fears a terrorist attack (a lot of people these days), there are some serious issues with the app.
The first issue is the most obvious - not everything you see is suspicious although it might look that way. This was made evident during the past week when a photo of a Sikh man was spread across the Internet with the message that this man was dangerous and part of a terrorist group. As it turned out, the photo had been doctored and the man was in no way part of any terrorist group. This is dangerous to say the least.
The other issue is that the ‘See Send’ app was meant to be used with an Internet connection. If you consider that most of the subways in New York City do not have any kind of WiFi option, the app can be seen as somewhat useless. Sure, suspicious activity happens in places other than the subway, but this is where New York residents have been told to look for anything strange that might be happening.
The third issue is that the app is being pushed at a time when most people are afraid. Due to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, many people are not worried that the same kinds of attacks will happen in major cities like New York. Is it ethical to push an app that aims to make people feel safe at a time like this one? This is debatable.
Another Possible Issue
The last thing that is bothersome about this app is that many people might report plain clothes policemen. Many cities (New York included) have started to place a heavy police presence in various areas including subways, so it’s possible that a number of people might start to report on those police forces, which would be a waste of time.
It also stands to reason that someone (or many someones) will have to field all of these messages and determine whether or not they are truly threats. This could also be very time consuming (and expensive) for city officials.
Whether or not you agree with it, the app does exist if you live in New York, and you are encouraged to use it if you see anything strange. In most cases, reports of suspicious activity will not pan out, but in some cases these reports may just save lives.