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MacRumors
Feb 17, 2009, 10:01 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/02/17/amber-alert-coming-soon-to-iphone/)

CNET reports (http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10164468-233.html) on the upcoming release of AMBER Alert (http://www.zdziarski.com/projects/amberalert/), a free iPhone application providing notifications of AMBER Alerts, which are issued throughout the United States by law enforcement agencies in response to confirmed reports of child abductions. According to the application's author, Jonathan Zdziarski, AMBER Alert will provide real-time notification of alerts, complete with photos and descriptions of the victim, suspect, and vehicle involved, as well as the ability to report sightings.

Notably, sighting reports will also be tagged using the iPhone's built-in GPS, allowing law enforcement agencies to easily track sightings.The iPhone's GPS is used to include your current GPS position with your sighting report, allowing AMBERAlerts.com to create a geographical search radius based on the number and pattern of reports in a specific location. This provides for smarter policing and can help filter false positives. The information is forwarded to the appropriate state patrol barracks where it can be responded to in a much faster fashion than traditional phone call screening.Zdziarski is also making his code available to other developers who wish to make their applications "AMBER Aware", which allows the applications to utilize background tasks to check for new AMBER Alerts.

Article Link: AMBER Alert Coming Soon to iPhone (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/02/17/amber-alert-coming-soon-to-iphone/)



iHarrison
Feb 17, 2009, 10:04 AM
This sounds like a great app to have for the iPhone when people are in need of help.

Imagine being able to check out a picture of the missing person on your phone just when your in a store and think it's them. You could use your phone to match the image and vwallla...you've located a kidnapper and kidnapee ;)

chainprayer
Feb 17, 2009, 10:13 AM
Awesome idea! I also think the amber aware idea is ingenious! I would not mind seeing an amber alert once in a while if it saved even one life. Totally worth it!

Drumjim85
Feb 17, 2009, 10:16 AM
how to stay depressed ... great app.

plumbingandtech
Feb 17, 2009, 10:27 AM
Count me in on installing it.

what they should add is a way to sign up for a SMS, then we would get one (if in the area) and then use it, at least until push or background or whatever.

JP3G
Feb 17, 2009, 10:41 AM
Why make an app when an email would do the work? At least the email would get pushed.

Anonymous Freak
Feb 17, 2009, 10:51 AM
what they should add is a way to sign up for a SMS, then we would get one (if in the area) and then use it, at least until push or background or whatever.

You mean like that available from Wireless AMBER Alerts (https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp)?

I'm sorry, but 'socially conscious' apps are one thing, but this is just ridiculous. If it could run in the background, great. But it can't. Therefore it's essentially pointless. Are you honestly going to switch to this app every single time you're done using your iPhone? And then leave your iPhone on and running?

No. You'll download it, start it three or four times so you can feel like you're "doing something", then stop using it. And for such a limited-use thing.

Yes, when AMBER alerts are issued, they are important. When I hear them on the radio, I do pay attention. However, in 2007 (http://www.amberalert.gov/pdfs/07_amber_report.pdf[/url), there were only 227 AMBER alerts, nationwide. Of those, 48 resulted in the recovery of the child, directly attributable to the AMBER alert being issued.

Yes, that is potentially 48 more children returned that otherwise would have been (some undoubtedly would have been found later without the AMBER alert,) and yes, every child saved is good.

But, again, nobody is going to leave this app running on their phone on the off-chance that they happen to have it running when an alert is issued. Per the linked report, there were zero nationwide AMBER alerts in 2007. Most (121) were 'Statewide', with another 91 'Regional'. That means that the majority of all AMBER alerts do not apply to any particular city. Texas and Michigan top the list with 30 and 29 alerts, respectively, in 2007. So at 'best' (or, I would say 'worst',) you could expect 2-3 alerts a month.

Oh, and 7% of AMBER alerts that year were hoaxes.

plumbingandtech
Feb 17, 2009, 11:00 AM
You seem bitter.

graymccarty
Feb 17, 2009, 11:04 AM
They are also issued throughout Canada, FYI

Jona7
Feb 17, 2009, 11:11 AM
You mean like that available from Wireless AMBER Alerts (https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp)?

I'm sorry, but 'socially conscious' apps are one thing, but this is just ridiculous. If it could run in the background, great. But it can't. Therefore it's essentially pointless. Are you honestly going to switch to this app every single time you're done using your iPhone? And then leave your iPhone on and running?

No. You'll download it, start it three or four times so you can feel like you're "doing something", then stop using it. And for such a limited-use thing.

Yes, when AMBER alerts are issued, they are important. When I hear them on the radio, I do pay attention. However, in 2007 (http://www.amberalert.gov/pdfs/07_amber_report.pdf[/url), there were only 227 AMBER alerts, nationwide. Of those, 48 resulted in the recovery of the child, directly attributable to the AMBER alert being issued.

Yes, that is potentially 48 more children returned that otherwise would have been (some undoubtedly would have been found later without the AMBER alert,) and yes, every child saved is good.

But, again, nobody is going to leave this app running on their phone on the off-chance that they happen to have it running when an alert is issued. Per the linked report, there were zero nationwide AMBER alerts in 2007. Most (121) were 'Statewide', with another 91 'Regional'. That means that the majority of all AMBER alerts do not apply to any particular city. Texas and Michigan top the list with 30 and 29 alerts, respectively, in 2007. So at 'best' (or, I would say 'worst',) you could expect 2-3 alerts a month.

Oh, and 7% of AMBER alerts that year were hoaxes.


I could not agree more. I thought of this same idea but couldn't figure out a means of implementing it...Just sign up for wireless amber alerts..simple text messages.

lowbatteries
Feb 17, 2009, 11:11 AM
You mean like that available from Wireless AMBER Alerts (https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp)?

I'm sorry, but 'socially conscious' apps are one thing, but this is just ridiculous. If it could run in the background, great. But it can't. Therefore it's essentially pointless. Are you honestly going to switch to this app every single time you're done using your iPhone? And then leave your iPhone on and running?


Um, cool your jets. The developers sound like they are trying to get around the 'no background process' part until Apple gets their butt in gear. Of course, they could just release a jailbreak version that doesn't have that limitation.

It would be great to be able to tie this into other location tracking services - say Google's Latitude, Navizon, or Loki - and when there is an amber alert in your area you get an email containing the descriptions, etc (or a link to a website with the info). That way, it works on every phone (not just the iPhone).

However, the iPhone app would be nice for reporting the information since it could provide your current location and give the information to police in a structured manner, which would save a lot of police resources.

I think it would be nice to have more 'reporting' type apps - I see a lot of stuff I want to report to some authority but don't know who to call:

- Dead/dying animals on the road
- Other road hazards
- Suspected drunk driving
- Possible wild fires (or someone just burning their trash?)

Some of these could be a simple as reporting the GPS coordinates, uploading a picture, or sending an email ...

lftrghtparadigm
Feb 17, 2009, 11:18 AM
Um, cool your jets. The developers sound like they are trying to get around the 'no background process' part until Apple gets their butt in gear. Of course, they could just release a jailbreak version that doesn't have that limitation.

It would be great to be able to tie this into other location tracking services - say Google's Latitude, Navizon, or Loki - and when there is an amber alert in your area you get an email containing the descriptions, etc (or a link to a website with the info). That way, it works on every phone (not just the iPhone).

However, the iPhone app would be nice for reporting the information since it could provide your current location and give the information to police in a structured manner, which would save a lot of police resources.

I think it would be nice to have more 'reporting' type apps - I see a lot of stuff I want to report to some authority but don't know who to call:

- Dead/dying animals on the road
- Other road hazards
- Suspected drunk driving
- Possible wild fires (or someone just burning their trash?)

Some of these could be a simple as reporting the GPS coordinates, uploading a picture, or sending an email ...

Oh really? How about minding your own business? Ever hear of that?

1. Dying animals - Get over it, are you serious? Worry about your human life

2. Other road hazards - Nice and specific :confused: Either stop and move it yourself, or move on

3. Suspected Drunk Driving - WONDERFUL. So this is your responsibility is it? So now when someone cuts you off, you could simply text in their license plate and the next cop to see them will have "probable cause" to violate the 4th amendment. Great idea.

4. Possible Wildfires - (as opposed to...impossible? :confused: ) - This is called an EMERGENCY and there is already a 3 digit phone number. We do not need a "slightly more impersonal" version of emergency reporting.

There is serious cultural problem with people who want to affect something, but have no idea for an appropriate (or constitutional) way to do so.

nagromme
Feb 17, 2009, 11:25 AM
3. Suspected Drunk Driving - WONDERFUL. So this is your responsibility is it? So now when someone cuts you off, you could simply text in their license plate and the next cop to see them will have "probable cause" to violate the 4th amendment. Great idea.

Yes, please. I see people drunk (or speeding or running stop signs) and out to cause an accident all the time. It's already possible to report them--as it should be--but making it easier (and safer for the driver making the report) would be a good thing. And if police should not be allowed to search a vehicle that is driving dangerously, then that search is a separate issue. Stopping them and dealing with the dangerous driving remains necessary. Look at the highway death figures.

Ditto for injured animals. What is the benefit of leaving an animal suffering? We already have departments that deal with that--if you contact them. If it were easier (and thus safer) to report, that sounds like a good idea to me. Where's the harm?

As for your suggestion that people should not report road hazards... I REALLY don't see what benefit you see in that. Stopping on the side of the highway ranges from unsafe to downright impossible--and just leaving the bumper lying there unreported is deadly. Why does the idea of reporting it bother you so much?

(I agree that for many things, 9-1-1 is already the system to use. But lowbatteries made a casual suggestion about enhancing such reporting--not a bad idea, and surely not deserving of such a rant.)

twoodcc
Feb 17, 2009, 11:27 AM
wow. i keep being amazed at some of the apps for the iphone. this sounds great!

Xian Zhu Xuande
Feb 17, 2009, 11:30 AM
Edit: Yes, please do report potential DUI drivers. You're actually supposed to call 911 when you see one (someone who is obviously a threat to themselves and others on the road). If they are not DUI when and if they get pulled over, they won't get a ticket. If they are there's a chance you might have just saved a life.

You mean like that available from Wireless AMBER Alerts (https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp)?

I'm sorry, but 'socially conscious' apps are one thing, but this is just ridiculous. If it could run in the background, great. But it can't. Therefore it's essentially pointless. Are you honestly going to switch to this app every single time you're done using your iPhone? And then leave your iPhone on and running?

No. You'll download it, start it three or four times so you can feel like you're "doing something", then stop using it. And for such a limited-use thing.

Yes, when AMBER alerts are issued, they are important. When I hear them on the radio, I do pay attention. However, in 2007 (http://www.amberalert.gov/pdfs/07_amber_report.pdf[/url), there were only 227 AMBER alerts, nationwide. Of those, 48 resulted in the recovery of the child, directly attributable to the AMBER alert being issued.

Yes, that is potentially 48 more children returned that otherwise would have been (some undoubtedly would have been found later without the AMBER alert,) and yes, every child saved is good.

But, again, nobody is going to leave this app running on their phone on the off-chance that they happen to have it running when an alert is issued. Per the linked report, there were zero nationwide AMBER alerts in 2007. Most (121) were 'Statewide', with another 91 'Regional'. That means that the majority of all AMBER alerts do not apply to any particular city. Texas and Michigan top the list with 30 and 29 alerts, respectively, in 2007. So at 'best' (or, I would say 'worst',) you could expect 2-3 alerts a month.

Oh, and 7% of AMBER alerts that year were hoaxes.
So combine wireless AMBER Alerts with the capabilities of this program. There, you've got your notification. PROBLEM SOLVED.

SFStateStudent
Feb 17, 2009, 11:54 AM
Interesting app "coming soon!" I'm hoping they can resolve many of these issues and make 98% of us happy...

NokX
Feb 17, 2009, 11:56 AM
awesome!

it can just push those notifications to us when they happen!

wait...we don't have push yet. :mad:

portishead
Feb 17, 2009, 12:00 PM
I just want to add that Amber Alerts are mostly useless here in Southern California. It's usually a mom or dad who took their kid to mexico. Not that I'm advocating kidnapping, but there is a difference when a child is abducted by a stranger, and when a parent takes a child for whatever reason.

cmwade77
Feb 17, 2009, 12:54 PM
I disagree, no matter who has taken the Child, it is wrong, there are reasons that the other parent doesn't have custody in those cases.

Amber alerts here in So. Cal. are good, in addition, I see this application being used when you here from other sources that there is an Amber alert in your area, more for the reporting purposes than for learning about the Amber Alerts. I do agree that it should be able to be run in the background and provide real time notifications, but since Apple won't allow that yet (although you can do this if you have a Jailbroken iPhone), let's take what we can get.

slu
Feb 17, 2009, 01:09 PM
Sounds like a couple people in this thread need to become cops.

portishead
Feb 17, 2009, 01:39 PM
I disagree, no matter who has taken the Child, it is wrong, there are reasons that the other parent doesn't have custody in those cases.

I don't want to infer that it's okay for a parent to take a child. I agree there is a reason the parent shouldn't have the child. I just feel that there are more important things law enforcement, and the public should put its resources into than solving marital/custody disputes.

powaking
Feb 17, 2009, 01:59 PM
Unless of course the SMS alerts also includes a link to open up the Amber app on the iphone. THEN it would make sense but then again why couldn't they just have a web page do this instead of a dedicated app.

GT500Shlby
Feb 17, 2009, 02:18 PM
You mean like that available from Wireless AMBER Alerts (https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp)?

I'm sorry, but 'socially conscious' apps are one thing, but this is just ridiculous. If it could run in the background, great. But it can't. Therefore it's essentially pointless. Are you honestly going to switch to this app every single time you're done using your iPhone? And then leave your iPhone on and running?

No. You'll download it, start it three or four times so you can feel like you're "doing something", then stop using it. And for such a limited-use thing.

Yes, when AMBER alerts are issued, they are important. When I hear them on the radio, I do pay attention. However, in 2007 (http://www.amberalert.gov/pdfs/07_amber_report.pdf[/url), there were only 227 AMBER alerts, nationwide. Of those, 48 resulted in the recovery of the child, directly attributable to the AMBER alert being issued.

Yes, that is potentially 48 more children returned that otherwise would have been (some undoubtedly would have been found later without the AMBER alert,) and yes, every child saved is good.

But, again, nobody is going to leave this app running on their phone on the off-chance that they happen to have it running when an alert is issued. Per the linked report, there were zero nationwide AMBER alerts in 2007. Most (121) were 'Statewide', with another 91 'Regional'. That means that the majority of all AMBER alerts do not apply to any particular city. Texas and Michigan top the list with 30 and 29 alerts, respectively, in 2007. So at 'best' (or, I would say 'worst',) you could expect 2-3 alerts a month.

Oh, and 7% of AMBER alerts that year were hoaxes.

I get SMS notification of Amber Alerts. Once I get the SMS Message I'll open the application and immediately get more information. Don't blame the App, Blame Apple for not allowing background processes or opening up the push notifications they promised.

EricNau
Feb 17, 2009, 04:10 PM
Oh really? How about minding your own business? Ever hear of that?

1. Dying animals - Get over it, are you serious? Worry about your human life
Dead animals in the road are obstructions and can be very dangerous. They should absolutely be reported to local law enforcement.

2. Other road hazards - Nice and specific :confused: Either stop and move it yourself, or move on
To handle this issue yourself is a threat to your safety as well as the safety of others. Instead, report it to local law enforcement, who will gladly remedy the issue.

3. Suspected Drunk Driving - WONDERFUL. So this is your responsibility is it? So now when someone cuts you off, you could simply text in their license plate and the next cop to see them will have "probable cause" to violate the 4th amendment. Great idea.
In either case the officer has probable cause, either for DUI or reckless driving. Those who pose a danger to others need to be reported. This practice doesn't violate the constitution in any way, and is actively encouraged by law enforcement. Here in CA, the California Highway Patrol have signs covering the state's roadways to promote this practice:
http://www.cityofranchocordova.org/Modules/ShowImage.aspx?imageid=672


I just want to add that Amber Alerts are mostly useless here in Southern California. It's usually a mom or dad who took their kid to mexico. Not that I'm advocating kidnapping, but there is a difference when a child is abducted by a stranger, and when a parent takes a child for whatever reason.
There's no difference according to the law. Unless they have custody of the child, abducting the child is illegal, no matter the relation. Even parents are capable of causing their children great harm.


As for this app, I think it's a step in the right direction. Once Apple gets their push servers up and running, I can see this app making a difference.

Anonymous Freak
Feb 17, 2009, 05:15 PM
As for this app, I think it's a step in the right direction. Once Apple gets their push servers up and running, I can see this app making a difference.

Indeed. People seemed to misunderstand me into thinking that the entire app was useless. My point is that without push, it's useless. As soon as this app has push, it will be a worthwhile, 'socially conscious' app.

emt1
Feb 17, 2009, 05:17 PM
This is stupid.

https://www.wirelessamberalerts.org/index.jsp

The text messages are free, too.

portishead
Feb 17, 2009, 06:25 PM
There's no difference according to the law. Unless they have custody of the child, abducting the child is illegal, no matter the relation. Even parents are capable of causing their children great harm.

Maybe you should read my other posts before you quote me. To think a parent taking a child will do more harm than a stranger kidnapping is naive. I hope this law is eventually changed so that it only involves strangers. Until then, it's a joke.

lowbatteries
Feb 17, 2009, 11:39 PM
Oh really? How about minding your own business? Ever hear of that?

1. Dying animals - Get over it, are you serious? Worry about your human life

2. Other road hazards - Nice and specific :confused: Either stop and move it yourself, or move on

3. Suspected Drunk Driving - WONDERFUL. So this is your responsibility is it? So now when someone cuts you off, you could simply text in their license plate and the next cop to see them will have "probable cause" to violate the 4th amendment. Great idea.

4. Possible Wildfires - (as opposed to...impossible? :confused: ) - This is called an EMERGENCY and there is already a 3 digit phone number. We do not need a "slightly more impersonal" version of emergency reporting.

There is serious cultural problem with people who want to affect something, but have no idea for an appropriate (or constitutional) way to do so.

1. Dying animals need to be put down, and removed from the road. They are suffering and are a road hazard. I'm pretty sure cops not only have probably cause, but that

2. Let me get out of my car on a windy mountain road and move this half ton boulder ... or try calling 911 and letting them know there is a boulder on the road on turn #62 near Mudflap, Idaho ... or I could hit a button and they could pinpoint it within 5 meters with my GPS.

3. I'm talking about swerving all over the road, throwing beer cans out the window type of drunk driving. I'd try to run the sons of bitches off the road myself, but this is why we have emergency reporting - so I don't have to.

4. Dying animals need to be put down, and removed from the road. They are suffering and are a road hazard. I'm pretty sure cops not only have probably cause, but that's what we PAY them for.

5. Let me rephrase that. Fires that possibly are wildfires. Farmers burn their fields. People burn their trash piles. People have campfires. It would be nice to know the right number to call (and no, its not always 911). Wildfires aren't house fires, often they are NOT an emergency - local agencies will just tell you they are aware of it and that the terrain is such that it will burn itself out.

Also, an app for reporting these types of things would be nice if you could save the GPS coordinates and info when you are out of service (which 1, 2, 4, and 5 usually happen in the middle of nowhere) and they are reported when you get connection.

Thank you for the opportunity to better express myself :D

lowbatteries
Feb 18, 2009, 01:02 AM
Wow, I really botched that post. Report my drunk forum ranting please. Here is hopefully a more coherent edit:


1. Dying animals need to be put down, and removed from the road. They are suffering and are a road hazard.

2. Let me get out of my car on a windy mountain road and move this half ton boulder ... or try calling 911 and letting them know there is a boulder on the road on turn #62 near Mudflap, Idaho ... or I could hit a button and they could pinpoint it within 5 meters with my GPS.

3. I'm talking about swerving all over the road, throwing beer cans out the window type of drunk driving. I'd try to run the sons of bitches off the road myself, but this is why we have emergency reporting - so I don't have to.
I'm pretty sure cops not only have probably cause, but that's what we PAY them for.

4. Let me rephrase that. Fires that possibly are wildfires. Farmers burn their fields. People burn their trash piles. People have campfires. It would be nice to know the right number to call (and no, its not always 911). Wildfires aren't house fires, often they are NOT an emergency - local agencies will just tell you they are aware of it and that the terrain is such that it will burn itself out.

Also, an app for reporting these types of things would be nice if you could save the GPS coordinates and info when you are out of service (which 1, 2, and 4 usually happen in the middle of nowhere) and they are reported when you get connection.

Thank you for the opportunity to better express myself :D

hogo
Feb 18, 2009, 02:12 AM
Have you ever wondered what the policies are for "confirmation?" This app should be called iPolice, or iSnitch. I'm all for saving kids, but what happens when they get a situation wrong? Just like child pornography cases, even if the accused is innocent, once the accusation is made there are huge consequences. The whole amber alert thing has always bothered me in the sense that it seems like a scene from every futuristic movie where the public is easily manipulated into a high-tech mob. Anyways, enough ranting, I just think we should look at the possible downsides to mobilizing a huge demographic of people with the intent on capture.


my 2 cents