"My Mobile Witness" Provides Online Protection

By October 31, 2008

My Mobile Witness opened for general use this month to provide real-time safety through time-stamped, mobile phone images. The service was founded by a duo of real estate entrepreneurs looking to protect their mostly female agents on the job, requiring agents to send a photo anytime they were alone with a client or did not feel completely comfortable. The system stores the photos of individuals, licenses or car license plates, and can be retrieved by law enforcement if needed. By remotely storing these images, the agent would be placed in a position to negotiate in the case of the person becoming threatening or violent. If nothing happened to the agent, nothing would happen with the images.

Since founding the system in 2007, Marcus Anthony and Scott Bullens communicated with high-level law enforcement and victims' rights advocates, and determined the value of opening this service to the public. The process includes only three parties: the user, the site, and the law. Access is only provided with a court order, or by certain key "Fusion Centers and Criminal Intelligence Centers."

Since users choose only specific images to upload, using this system would likely be more efficient than searching other sites. The mobile number and individual would only have a few images on MMW, and an officer would not need to search multiple names or multiple photo albums to find evidence. Facebook and other sites support remote image upload, and could be used in a similar way, but there is another reason why a dedicated service would be superior in this situation.

If an individual is in a situation that becomes dangerous, the image becomes a guarantee of safety. Just as users cannot remove the image, they cannot be forced to do so. A social site might include the means to remove the media. Hopefully the aggressor would be reasonable enough to accept this fact.

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