Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Really Bad Idea! "Caught on video: Japan emergency callers will be able to send footage to police"

Story and photo from The Japan Times, 12/10/2020.

The National Police Agency will introduce in fiscal 2021 a nationwide system by which callers to the emergency police number 110 can send video of the incidents concerned, such as crimes, accidents and fires, according to informed sources.

People calling to report these incidents will be asked to take videos via their smartphones if needed. The system is expected to help police officers check the situation before arriving at the scenes and take appropriate first steps, the sources said.

A similar system has been used by the police department of Hyogo Prefecture since October.

Under the new system, police officers receiving reports of incidents in the command rooms will ask callers for video of the incidents if deemed necessary. If this is accepted, police will send a URL link for a special website to the callers’ smartphones and ask them to take video from a safe location, the sources said.

When the URL link is opened, the callers’ smartphone cameras will automatically turn on, and videos taken on the phones will be sent to the command rooms. Officers in the command rooms will then give information obtained from the videos to officers dispatched to the sites.

The NPA will also consider whether to introduce a system for forwarding such videos to dispatched officers’ devices, according to the sources.

The agency does not plan to request such video in emergency calls seeking rescue, the sources said.

As the videos may include private information of people, such as those wounded in incidents, the agency wants to “operate the system in a way that does not result in invasion of privacy” in matters such as the storage of the videos, an NPA official said.

The NPA launched a website in August for receiving images and videos of damage from natural disasters, such as typhoons and earthquakes, so that the extent of damage to roads, buildings and other properties and infrastructure can be checked.

Fire departments around the country are also introducing video transmission systems for calls to the emergency number 119 for fires and accidents.

The Tokyo Fire Department launched such a system in the capital’s 23 special wards on a trial basis in September, instructing callers on how to give, for example, cardiopulmonary resuscitation to people affected by the incidents based on the videos.

Some fire departments in Aichi and Hyogo prefectures have fully introduced such systems.


Which is worse, encouraging people to violate privacy rights to bust neighbors and strangers alike -or- giving access of your smartphone to the police?

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