Apple has removed crime-reporting app Vigilante from the App Store less than a week after it launched amid fears that it could be dangerous, according to reports from The Guardian and several other publications.
The iOS app, which was developed by a company called Sp0n and went live in New York last week, alerts users to crimes as soon as they are reported to the police.
CEO Andrew Frame told Gizmodo that his app uses a “combination of technology and people, police scanners and network of antennas.”
Announcing the app in a Medium post blog post, the company wrote: “What if everyone within a quarter mile of every reported crime were immediately made aware of it. What if there were a camera on every crime. What if transparency existed — if we all knew where crime was occurring and how it was being resolved. Would crime as we know it still exist?”
Vigilante’s app sends notifications to users informing them of the nature and location of nearby crimes. They can then decide whether to avoid the crime or go and film it.
“This information shows up on a map, so everyone can choose to avoid potential danger, or broadcast the incident live when it’s safe to do so,” the company wrote in the blog post.
It added: “The lens of the camera is incapable of lying. When we are able to look at a situation from multiple angles, the truth emerges. Transparency is the single most powerful tool in the fight against crime and injustice, and we believe it will rebuild cooperation towards a shared vision. Cooperation, in turn, will lead to safer communities, better cities, and a stronger nation.”
“Unfortunately, Vigilante is not currently available on the App Store. We are working with Apple to resolve their concerns. In the meantime, the Vigilante app will continue to operate for those who already have it,” the note reads.
“We’ve already been hard at work bringing Vigilante to Android and we will be releasing an Android app imminently.
“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve received an incredible outpouring of support from all over the world. Please share your email so we can get in touch as soon as we have updates.”
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