ACLU’s “Police Tape” App for Android Lets You Discreetly Record and Backup Police Interactions


I don’t know about you, but whenever I get pulled over by the 5-0, the first thing I do is reach for my cell phone, and open up my voice recording app. That, or I have my passenger record everything on video using their cellphone. Call me paranoid, or just plain overly cautious — I like to keep my bases covered should I end up on the hood of a cop car with a tazer up my you-know-what.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered a brand new app by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey called “Police Tape” that was just uploaded to the Play Store. Using the app, an Android user can easily — and most importantly, discreetly — record police interactions using either video or audio recording. Once an option has been selected, the app will seemingly close, but actually remain open in the background, recording the entire, hopefully, peaceful interaction. Should things head south and you find your phone confiscated by the police, you wont have to worry about a crooked cop deleting the evidence. The app can back up the video, uploading it to the ACLU’s servers where it can be further analyzed for civil liberty violations at the user’s discretion.

What’s more is the app provides all kinds of useful legal information on your citizen’s rights when interacting with the police. I can’t tell you how many episodes of Cops I’ve seen where someone voluntarily agreed to a search of their car — without probable cause — only to then end up in the slammer. Now, I have much respect for our men in blue. Really, it’s a tough job, no denying that. But to say there aren’t a few overzealous cops with chips on their shoulders would be naive. Now you can protect yourself — with the power of Android.

[Google Play Store]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Lol carl Winslow

    1. Haha, he should have been in the image header. :P

  2. I knew Chris wrote this when I saw “tazer up my you-know-what,” loool.

    Ontopic: Seems to crash whenever I try to record video. Recording audio works well though.

    1. So did I! as soon as I saw that I scrolled up to see who wrote it and I was like I knew it! lol

  3. ACLU what a buch of clowns!

    1. Yeah, was trying to keep the conversation from going there. Lol Don’t always agree with what they do, but when it comes to the app and where the world is headed, protecting citizens’ rights is always in our best interests.

      1. Word

      2. Yes, Police brutality is truly ridiculous, look at the UC Davis incident….That video saved those students.

    2. About the only knock I’ve heard regarding the ACLU is that they selectively ignore the 2nd amendment. Luckily though, the NRA exists for that purpose. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, the ACLU does many good things.

  4. Love the picture choice. lmao. Carl Winslow FTW!

    1. Hellz yeah Carl Winslow FTW!

  5. Now that I’ve read the article after my Carl Winslow fangirl moment, this really is an amazing app that has a lot of relevancy in the world today. Police do, at times, tend to overstep their authority just because and this could definitely help put the power back in the citizens’ hand.

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t it illegal in some states to record law enforcement without their consent? (when of course I could just google it)

    1. I think you could be right. Would have to check the laws in your state but I know I see cops filmed on YouTube who make people turn off their cameras saying it’s illegal to film them. I think you need their consent first (which, I’m sure, most wont give).

      1. I work for a magazine and I’m wondering if that can fall under the first amendment right of “freedom of the press” or would a blog count?

        1. I like your moves. You sure you’re not a lawyer? O_o

          1. Shhhhh you can’t tell my secrets

          2. Chris..I want to aplogize if any comments that were left from my account offended you. So how someone got into my account & has been leaving you rude messages. Sorry again.

    2. You are right. In some states it’s illegal, period.

      1. Not for long the SCOTUS has already ruled filming of Police legal as long as you aren’t impeding them

    3. Such laws will likely be ruled unconstitutional. One such law is currently being challenged in federal court and has thus far been ruled invalid:

      1. Yeah, but that wont stop the cop and everyone of his buddies from pulling you over for the rest of your life.

        1. Then you file harassment charges against all involved. You can make the system work for you if you know your rights.

          1. The bigger issue here Ben is whether you have the MONEY. Lot’s of things could be fought and won but litigation is very expensive and because civil issues take a back seat to criminal issues, cases in civil court often take years to adjudicate. You are correct in the course of action you suggest, but most folks could never afford the money it would cost to hire a lawyer to get it done.

  7. If a subject consents to a search, then anything found can be used against the subject. However, if the subject does not agree to a search, the officer must them obtain a warrant, and he must show probable cause for that warrant. That probable cause cannot be the subject’s refusal to allow the search. Just an fyi :)

    Note: if the officer truly wants you, he or she is going to get you, most of the time. Use common sense when exercising your rights. :P

    1. I refused to sign a vehicle search consent and the police officer detained me for a little while, but then let me go.

      Exercising your rights, when done properly is effective. I had less success with an officer who knocked on the door of the common area of my building looking for a neighbor, but I think if you use language that makes the officer think you know what you’re talking about “Can I see a warrant?” Instead of, “I’d rather you didn’t come in.” makes this tactic more likely to work.

  8. I can see the headline, “Police shoot man while reaching for his cell phone thinking it was a gun”

    1. It’s happened.

    2. Or your wallet.

      Amadou Diallo. Look it up.

  9. This will come in handy. I got pulled over because my brake lights were not bright enough. I was followed for about a mile too. My brake lights are OEM specs. Racist!

  10. So then a regular day in Atlanta Doug?

  11. Downloading NOW!

  12. In the immortal words Jim Carrey, “Stop breaking the law, asshole!”

  13. You don’t need a warrant for a common hallway. Hence the word common. Do you usually give the cops a hard time for no reason? They were there for your neighbor.

  14. maybe you should just obey the freaking traffic laws. i know, i know…. it’s a daunting task, and near impossible.

    1. Thats not the only reason people get pulled over. Police discriminate based on many different things, I’ve been pulled over many times for no reason just because of what I drove.

      1. Again, something tells me there was reason, no matter how minor the reason.

        1. Seems to me that u love playing devils advocate. I know the thought of someone legit being harassed is farfetched to you….but trust me, it happens.ask rodney king. Oh wait…

          1. People get pulled over for doing something wrong or suspicious, no Cop is going to waste his time pulling over every crappy tuner car he sees, he’s going to need more than that, problem is most tuner kiddies drive like assholes and then blame the Cops for getting pulled over

  15. I wouldn’t be shocked if they receive a few videos w/ “obscenities”

  16. Every person profiles, cops and even yourselves. Stop blaming others and looking for scapegoats when you put yourself into a profile. Just do the right things for you, your families, and your neighborhood and we wont have these aclu asses around anymore. They turn the good people into true victims.

  17. Amen Timothy

  18. I’m not a fan of cops as I have been harrassed by them multiple times weekly when I drove my minitruck for no reason. However the ACLU are scum

    1. I’m always interested in peoples definition of harassed. Obviously I have no knowledge of you and the situation but my experience tells me that people who claim to be harassed usually do something to draw the unwanted attention.

      1. There was a reason, it was what I drove which was a perfectly legal minitruck. Since I quit driving it I’ve been pulled over about 3 times in 8 years, when I drove ot I got pulked about 3 times in 2 weeks. One vehicle I drove for about 15 months with no turn signals, but I wasn’t pulled over because it was a stock vehicle.

        1. Well, going to guess there was a different reason. Without trying to start an internet debate, just realize that every state has extensive traffic laws that most know nothing about and others that are commonly ignored, ie speed limits, turn signals, tint, etc. But others are just not known like wheels not being allowed to exceed the width of the vehicle.

          1. I never once recieved a ticket or citation while driving that truck, how 2 of the 3 times I’ve been pulled in the last 8 years I recieved a citation or ticket. There was nothing illegal about my truck or what I was doing or I would have been given a ticket or citation. I’m not sure why it is you think cops don’t profile, but they do.

  19. Nj huh? Wish i had this app yesterday. It was good ol’ jersey that just gave me a BS ticket cause they werent catching enough drunk drivers on the 4th of july…

    1. Just because it’s a BS ticket doesn’t mean there wasn’t something illegal occurring.

      1. Absolutely nothing illegal. I checked the statute. Just not worth fighting it in court for a $100 ticket.

  20. In some states (here in Maryland for example) it is illegal to tape someone without them knowing about it. Linda Tripp got in trouble with in back in the 90’s, and there was recently a case where a guy was brought up on charges for filming his citation without the officer’s knowledge. So just double check before using this or let the officer know you’re recording the event.

  21. I never get pulled over. You actually get pulled over enough to do all that? ;) :D

    1. I used to drive around a super nice looking Honda Prelude. =/

  22. “If you weren’t doing something wrong then the police wouldn’t be pulling you over and abusing your rights.” You are all such good little sheeple. The State loves you and will take care of you all.

    1. I speed yet drive like a normal person, I’m also Latino, one of the supposedly abused races, I’ve lived in the South (Tennessee) and the North (PA, CT) I’ve been pulled over a grand total of 5 times since I got my license ~20 years ago. You get pulled over for driving like an ass or for doing something wrong, no matter what you and others claim

    2. LoL!! Are you serious!? I’ve so been pulled over for nothing. Lyk so serious. It’s so stupid. It’s when I’m pulled over for nothing that makes me wanna be an ass to a cop. Lyk all those ppL cuttin’ other cars off and speeding and you want to pull me over just to see if I have a license. -_-

  23. This is for new jersey we need one for new york state

    1. I wasn’t aware the video and audio capturing was only available in new jersey.

  24. You don’t have to be pulled over you can walking and I am white. Not all police are bad but I happen to live in a black neighborhood in Queens NY and an officer claimed I didn’t live in the neighborhood so I showed him my id. And since I really did live there he through my wallet on the ground. Wish there was an ACLU application for New York state. Wish I could have taped the incident.

  25. They will eventually just make cops immune to prosecution. Seriously, it will happen. And when it does, we will have one defense against out of control cops, and since there are more of us, than there are of them, I’m not worried about the outcome.

  26. Ask yourself this. What is a law? It is other people whom have assumed authority over you, deciding what you should or shouldn’t do. Nothing more. Those people are no better than you or I. Their laws are meaningless, because they are meaningless. No man or group of men should ever have authority over another man or group of men.

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