The American Civil Liberties Union has taken its police accountability initiative to the shores of New Jersey with the release of Police Tape, an app that lets "opportunistic citizen journalists" record their encounters with law enforcement. Now available for Android (and coming soon for iOS), it's just the latest in a stream of similar apps that aim to expose instances of police misconduct. Previous examples include Stop & Frisk Watch — produced in tandem with the NYCLU — and OpenWatch. Police Tape was developed by the same team as OpenWatch and thus shares much of its functionality, including discreet video and audio recording capabilities. Clips can be saved locally to your device and users can also opt to upload them directly to the NJ ACLU's servers for review. Further, deleting content is a multi-step process that Police Tape's developers have intentionally made complicated to prevent officers from destroying evidence. Apart from its watchdog features, the app also offers a built-in tutorial that covers general civil rights.
This "reverse surveillance" technique has garnered its fair share of controversy, but both the White House and federal courts have come to bat for a citizen's right to record altercations with on-duty police officers. Police Tape is available now via Google Play and is due to arrive on iOS later this month.