When working in a frontline situation with hostile encounters all around, it is important for journalists and other media officials to have access to a variety of apps to help ensure their own personal safety before the worst possibly happen. Working in disaster scenes brings with it several different dangers and members of the press can quickly be targeted for financial gain by terrorists or other marauders during a riot or other forms of unrest. These are by no means a solution to going into civil unrest safely, but the tech team at www.sellmyphone.co.uk have taken the time to assess their usefulness in a disaster scenario should you ever find yourself in the midst of chaos and need to get out of dodge quickly.
While no app can absolutely guarantee complete protection in a dangerous setting, journalists and other press should go into these settings equipped to deal with just about anything during any sort of chaotic event. These are the following apps that any media official should consider adding to their phones or tablets right now:
Police Tape is an app that’s freely available to everyone and allows typical everyday civilians to hold the police accountable for their actions. It is primarily a discreet recording app that can store information related to police interactions, but it is also a library of useful legal knowledge and tidbits that concern a citizen’s rights when interacting with the police. It is an app primarily for those in New Jersey, USA since it cites local laws and customs in the state, but it can be useful for just about anyone in the United States as far as what laws and statues can be turned around on police who are illegally enforcing the law. It may also prove useful when travelling.
Tinfoil is an app for those who wish to have some degree of control over their Facebook activities when it comes to monitoring and spying from government officials or other agencies. It is a lightweight browser that opens Facebook in a do not spy or incognito mode, which eliminates the presence of trackers and rogue applications. By doing this it makes Facebook far safer and more anonymous to use. Even with the highest security settings, Facebook in its default mode can be rather insecure, so taking additional steps to lock down the platform provides a useful communication method that’s unlikely to be blocked during local civil unrest.
Kitestring serves as a self-check-in app when entering dangerous or hostile encounters. It effectively acts as a panic button since failed check-ins will alert specific contacts that something may be wrong and forwards relevant details such as approximate location and GPS coordinates. It’s something that was developed specifically with journalists in mind and addresses a situation where being tipped by sources could go wrong, but it can be used by just about anyone in any sort of dangerous situation.
Unlike other panic buttons, Kitestring will not make attempts to contact users should they fail to check in. This is done to help prevent detection should an abduction or worse happen to the user. Instead, it will simply send text messages to selected contacts in order to tell them that something might be going wrong for the user.
Peacekeeper is another mobile mass messaging system that sends messages to wider relays in order to alert people of danger happening in any given area. Rather than waiting for a check in response from the user, opening the app and selecting designated contacts will forward information that the user selects to everyone in a simple click. This makes getting out of dangerous spot much safer and allows users to focus on getting out of dodge rather than carefully scripting and sending numerous texts to different contacts by opening additional prompts or windows.
Police Scanner Radio Scanner
Police Scanner is an application that converts a mobile phone into a portable police radio scanner and allows access to the police band in most countries around the world. It’s a very useful tool to have on board as it will give a clear insight into police movement during times of civil unrest and what to expect from the local police as they bring order to the chaotic situation that’s unfolding. It is also an excellent tool in order to determine just how dangerous an area is and whether or not it’s wise to enter the situation or stay protected in a hotel room or other building away from it all.
These are by no means the only tools journalists should consider adding to their digital devices, but they’re definitely essentials to have on board. Communications are likely to be affected during times of civil unrest, so having a clear understanding of the surrounding area and how to move between points is a tactical advantage every journalist should possess in order to keep themselves away from dangers that are directly hazardous to their life. Should the worst happen though, then a mobile panic button will be all of what’s needed or even truly useful at that point in order to alert others that someone is in critical danger.