Cops Vs. Clouds: New App Will Keep Authorities from Deleting iPhone Videos


This is exactly how it works.

Carlos Miller of Photography is Not a Crime is helping publicize (and test) a new iPhone app that automatically streams video as a user is recording it and stores it remotely in a cloud, thus preventing grabby law enforcement officers from deleting footage.

The app is called TapIn, designed by a group of Silicon Valley developers. The app is still in testing, and they're allowing Miller to recruit others to help try it out. Miller has instructions on how to get access to the app on his site. Here's how a developer describes it:

It's an app that automatically saves any video you take with it to the cloud where it's publicly viewable instantly, sorted by location and time. Open the app and you're recording in one tap. In most cases, it's faster to use than the built-in iPhone video camera. This lets people see what you're seeing as you see it, and be able to jump around between multiple angles of the same event with one click. Even after the event is over, you can go back and watch any video that was taken. We're creating a way for people to share and be found by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, without having to worry about uploading, titling and tagging videos.

An Android version is also in development.

For photography-loving folks in the Miami area, Miller is also offering an opportunity this weekend to give TapIn a test run. On Saturday, Photography Is Not a Crime will be holding its Third Annual Photo Protest event. The target this year is The Miami Herald building:

Two weeks ago, a Miami blogger was told by a security guard that he was not allowed to take photos of the Miami Herald building, which has been a landmark on Biscayne Bay since 1963.

Since then, a Miami Herald executive told another Miami blogger that they don't have issues with people taking photos of the building.

They just had issues with people "trespassing" on the sidewalk in front of the building, which they evidently believe is private property.

However, according to Miami-Dade property records, the Miami Herald's property line begins just inside the sidewalk, making that sidewalk public… .

So Miller and any other citizens who wish to participate will be converging on the sidewalk to take pictures of the building Saturday to see what happens.

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  1. No Android version?
    Damn apple fanboys.

    1. “An Android version is also in development”

      1. You don’t expect me to actually read?

    2. You can set up the android dropbox app to do this already.

      1. You lie! Apple does everything first!

    3. It’s called qik. It’s been around for years.

  2. You can already pretty much do this with your iPhone and facebook or Youtube. It may not upload as instantaneously as this app, but I’ve taken videos with my iPhone and directly uploaded them to both FB and Youtube in a matter of minutes at the most.

    1. Yeah there are tons of way to do it. You can have your video uploaded to facebook, youtube, google+ and dropbox all automatically after recording. Lots of back ups.

    2. Not if a cop grabs it while it’s still recording.

      1. I can’t speak to the others but for my google+ and dropbox it starts uploading immediately after a video is stopped (or picture is taken). On the 4G network the po po aren’t going to be able to stop it fast enough.

        1. Step 1. Grab phone.
          Step 2. Remove battery.

          1. Not easy to do on my phone and impossible on many phones like the iphone. Even then it takes a couple of secs to upload a short video on 4G.

          2. And all of this of course assumes that the pig is smart enough and aware enough to do all this. Hell even a cop aware of this technology is unlikely to assume you have it all set up and running.

    3. You know how many people can be pepper sprayed, tazed, and hog tied “in a matter of minutes”?

  3. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    1. Sic Semper Tyrannasaurus

    2. I am a jelly donut

      1. Urban legend.

        1. That disappointed me when I learned that.

  4. “That’s a nice cloud you’ve got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

    1. Careful, he’s got his pointer over the “Upload Virus” button!

  5. I don’t get what’s wrong with the Miami Herald thing. I mean if a private security guard wants to tell someone that the sidewalk is private property and that there’s a photo ban in effect, he should be able to do that.

    1. Except when the sidewalk isn’t private.

      1. That shouldn’t stop a private security guard from being able to lie about it.

      2. That shouldn’t stop a private security guard from being able to lie about it.

      3. That shouldn’t stop a private security guard from being able to lie about it.

        1. As many times as he wants to.

        2. Not if he’s implicitly threatening force if you don’t comply.

        3. The security guard can lie about it. No big deal. The photography maven can tell the security guard to fuck off. No big deal.

          1. Um, no. Being a security guard means that when you issue a command, it’s implicitly backed by the threat of force. You issue commands you don’t have the authority to issue, that’s harrassment.

          2. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. Whoever wants to take the pictures has to carry some of the burden of knowing what their rights are.

            I mean like when I used to skate in this ravine when I was a kid, and a security guard would come up and tell us to fuck off, but he would tell us from the OTHER side of the fence where the property he guarded clearly ended. So we just ignored him, and he just stood there glowering at us, fingering his bellybutton.

            And I mean I was a big chickenshit kid who ran away from almost everything. So if some first amendment jerkwad martyr can’t stand up to a rent-a-cop when I could, that’s his own problem seems to me.

    2. If a random person on the sidewalk says that to you, yeah, it’s free speech. If it’s a guy in a security guard uniform representing himself as having the authority to forcibly prevent you from doing it, that’s harassment.

  6. Great idea, and I’m all for it. But it does not address the issue of whether a particular jurisdiction may criminalize the recording process. Great! You’ve saved the video! Oooh, too bad, you’ve broken the law in doing so. I’m not a lawyer. Is evidence, illegally obtained, admissible in court?

    1. I think that is the purpose of the Photography is Not a Crime crowd, to point out that recording something cannot be criminalized. Illegally obtained evidence should not be admissible in court (at least the State’s not supposed to present it if it were taken without a proper search warrant, or forced confessions, whatever). However, when the shoe’s on the other foot and it is evidence that helps one’s case, I’m not sure.

      But like I said, the idea that the recording itself is illegal is what they are trying to change.

    2. Illegally obtained evidence is perfectly admissible so long as the government didn’t obtain it.

      1. I’m not sure if that’s true.

    3. The law of the land as enshrined in the 5th Amendment allows you to film and/or record any interaction with the police or other government agents going about their business. Period. Any laws that seek to prevent that are unconstitutional. As has been upheld at every turn.

      1. And by extension any record of you that is exculpatory is admissible in criminal court as long as it hasn’t been tampered with. Civil proceedings between two private parties have different rules.

  7. One has to be careful with these things.

    Here in Massachusetts, for example, using this app can get your ass thrown in the clink for felony wiretapping.

    1. “TapIn” is kind of an unfortunate name, no?

      1. Only when your cell mate asks you why you’re in the joint.

      2. Better than TapOut.

    2. using this app can get your ass thrown in the clink

      My point above. Not that the app cannot be useful, especially in instances where the recording process is not in any way prohibited. In that case, when a cop’s (or for that matter, a perp’s) testimony is contradicted by recorded evidence, justice may be served.

    3. No, no it can’t. Not if you’re recording government agents acting in their official capacity. Laws preventing that have been found unconstitutional at every turn. As have laws that relate to recording in public spaces. The only thing that could be construed as wiretapping would be recording private parties in a place where they have an expectation of privacy and not getting their consent.

    4. Not so:

      “Appeals Court: Arresting Guy For Filming Cops Was A Clear Violation Of Both 1st 4th Amendments”…..ents.shtml…..them.shtml

  8. Hardly a new idea. See: Qik and UStream.

    1. Yep, running UStream on an Android. But of course it’s a big new thing when it’s targeted at the iCrowd.

  9. Sometimes man you jsut have to jump on it dude.

  10. I’ve found a guide about deleting videos from iPhone.…

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