AMBER Alert Coming Soon to iPhone

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    CNET reports on the upcoming release of AMBER Alert, 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.
    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
  2. iHarrison macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2009
    Madison, Wis.
    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've located a kidnapper and kidnapee ;)
  3. chainprayer macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    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!
  4. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    DFW, TX
  5. plumbingandtech macrumors 68000

    Jun 20, 2007
    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.
  6. JP3G macrumors member


    Nov 1, 2008
    Why make an app when an email would do the work? At least the email would get pushed.
  7. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    You mean like that available from Wireless AMBER Alerts?

    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, 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.
  8. graymccarty macrumors member


    Jun 5, 2007
    Toronto, ON
  9. Jona7 macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2007
    Miami, FL

    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.
  10. lowbatteries macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2008
    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 ...
  11. lftrghtparadigm macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2008
    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.
  12. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    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.)
  13. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    wow. i keep being amazed at some of the apps for the iphone. this sounds great!
  14. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    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.

    So combine wireless AMBER Alerts with the capabilities of this program. There, you've got your notification. PROBLEM SOLVED.
  15. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    Interesting app "coming soon!" I'm hoping they can resolve many of these issues and make 98% of us happy...
  16. NokX macrumors member


    Mar 12, 2003
    Knoxville, TN

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

    wait...we don't have push yet. :mad:
  17. portishead macrumors 65816

    Apr 4, 2007
    los angeles
    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.
  18. cmwade77 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2008
    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.
  19. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    Sounds like a couple people in this thread need to become cops.
  20. portishead macrumors 65816

    Apr 4, 2007
    los angeles
    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.
  21. powaking macrumors 6502


    Jul 3, 2008
    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.
  22. GT500Shlby macrumors member


    Feb 19, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    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.
  23. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Dead animals in the road are obstructions and can be very dangerous. They should absolutely be reported to local law enforcement.

    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.

    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:

    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.
  24. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    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.

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