Citizen Wants to Send Private Teams to Your Neighbor


Illustration for the article titled In Nod to Dystopian Fiction, Citizen Wants to Send Private Security Teams to Your Neighbor.

picture: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Truly made into a dystopian nightmare, Citizen’s public safety scheme apparently has plans to hire teams of security contractors to respond to app users ’incident response requests- a Blackwater-ification of local public safety that can only lead to good things.

Starting in 2016, Citizen had a different name, Vigilante, and is known for encouraging people to film and share videos of criminal activity in their community. Since then, the company has rebranded, acquired many more funds, and transformed itself into a real-time public safety notification system that uses push alerts to inform users of local emergency information such as fire, medical incidents and crime.

Now, just a day after the wrong company put too much in a homeless LA and falsely accused him of starting the fire, Motherboard reports that ex-staff and outgoing documents show Citizen’s next good thing: imminent plans to contract with chief security firms to send private goon squads to your neighborhood, where they’ll check if Are you OK or not.

“The master’s broad plan is to create a privatized second emergency response network,” a former Citizen employee said. said the Motherboard, while another staff member previously told the outlet that the plans were “something to be discussed but I never expected to do so until now.”

A lot is unclear here: what these services are, how much they cost, or who will access them. It’s also not entirely clear if this pilot is the same as the company announced on its website, Protecting citizens, which it described as “an optional premium subscription” that is “still in trial and not yet available to all users.” Protection allows users to “connect with a trained Citizen Agent whenever you are in an emergency or feel unsafe,” as posted on the website. When asked by Gizmodo if Protect is the same service mentioned in Motherboard’s article, a Citizen spokesperson declined to comment further.

One of the companies Citizen has apparently tested by its pilot is a so -called company Professional Safety in Los Angeles, a self -proclaimed “subscription law enforcement” that provides “personal quick response” to alarm activations and other emergency services. For $ 999 a month, you can rent LAPS to do all sorts of interesting security-related things, from anti-stalker help to getting out of a crowded jam if “civil unrest” threatens your well -being. Share the company designed their services as follows:

Already walking around the city and feeling unsafe? Thinking to yourself that someone is following me? Some shadowy looking characters near the car? Someone yelling outside your building? The LAPS Officer will come and give you the personal protection you need. We can ask them to stop shouting.

That’s right, folks: Tshe screamed stopping now. If reached by phone, a LAPS staff member will referred Gizmodo on its website and YouTube channel for more information on its services but has not commented on any future contract work with Citizen.

However, the citizen confirmed that it works with LAPS. A spokesperson sent us the following response: “LAPS offers a personal quick response service that we test inside employees as a small test with a car in Los Angeles. For example, if someone wants an escort to walk them home at night, they can ask for service. We talked to different design partners for this pilot project. “

The cops seemed to think it was a good idea too. Emails reviewed by Motherboard say the Los Angeles Police department contacted Citizen and called the solution a “game changer.” Emails close to the LAPD are “filled with property crime, and the agency is effectively raising their hands because they don’t have enough street officers to respond to such calls.” The police department, when reached for comment Friday, neither confirmed nor denied it had contacted the company: “We are working to verify if anyone in the LAPD has been contacted by the Citizen app,” Det said. Meghan Aguilar, of LAPD Media Relations, in an email to Gizmodo. “At this time, we cannot confirm what is included in the online articles exactly in relation to the LAPD.”

See, let’s just dismiss the obvious: that having an app that calls armed guards on notification at times seems like a dangerous idea. This is the way that this business model can provide the wealthy while armed against communities that are much less of the class that it is truly claiming The Running Man or Robocop. Bougie SoCal suburbanites calling in armed mercenaries to check what their poor neighbors or the local homeless want … I mean, what could be wrong? I will never see any near -scandals or lawsuits ahead there. Good to see the prophecy, people.



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