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Crime Iphone Your Rights Online

Ten Cops Can't Recover Police Chief's Son's iPhone 277

Posted by Soulskill
from the try-twenty-next-time dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Oakland Tribune reports that when Berkeley police Chief Michael Meehan's son's cell phone was stolen from a school locker in January, ten police officers were sent to track down the stolen iPhone, with some working overtime at taxpayer expense. 'If your cell phone was stolen or my cell phone was stolen, I don't think any officer would be investigating it,' says Michael Sherman, vice chairman of the Berkeley Police Review Commission, a city watchdog group. 'They have more important things to do. We have crime in the streets.' But the kicker is that even with all those cops swarming around, looking for an iPhone equipped with the Find My iPhone tracking software, police were not able to locate the phone. 'If 10 cops who know a neighborhood can't find an iPhone that's broadcasting its location, that shouldn't give you a lot of confidence in your own vigilante recovery of a stolen iProduct,' writes Alexis Madrigal. 'Just saying. Consider this a PSA: just buy a new phone.'"
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Ten Cops Can't Recover Police Chief's Son's iPhone

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  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:01PM (#40094079)
    I would be more worried if they found the phone quickly.
    • by Sancho (17056) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:18PM (#40094279) Homepage

      Typical anti-LE first-post karma-grabbing reply.

      Did you notice that they were using Find My iPhone? It's an Apple service which requires opting-in on the part of the phone's user (pre-losing the phone, of course.)

      The joke you should have made has to do with not being able to find ones ass with 10 cops and a map. These guys had GPS from the phone (via consent of the victim or certainly his father) and couldn't find it. That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

      • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:55PM (#40094681)

        These guys had GPS from the phone (via consent of the victim or certainly his father) and couldn't find it. That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

        I think it illustrates limitations in the technology more than human incompetence. The service can't find your phone. It can tell you that your phone is near 55th and San Pedro, but it's not going to tell you which house and room the thing is sitting in, or whose pocket it has been put in. I bet I can stash a phone "near" any intersection in the country and you wouldn't be able to find it with only that information.

        Notice that I'm not suggesting a solution... the service does what it does, but it's not a panacea for finding lost things.

        • by 4phun (822581) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:28PM (#40094951)

          I think it illustrates limitations in the technology more than human incompetence. The service can't find your phone. It can tell you that your phone is near 55th and San Pedro, but it's not going to tell you which house and room the thing is sitting in, or whose pocket it has been put in. I bet I can stash a phone "near" any intersection in the country and you wouldn't be able to find it with only that information.

          Notice that I'm not suggesting a solution... the service does what it does, but it's not a panacea for finding lost things.

          I bet I can find the stolen iPhone. I would do what every other LE officer would do. He would walk up to the location and then call the lost iPhone's cell number. Then with probable cause he could seize any phone that rang and was answered matching the audio he heard with his observation of the suspects lips.

          This happens nearly every day in the USA. I think it is hilarious when the cops seize guns and a large drug stash at the same time from the perp and his urban buddies. My favorite form of instant justice is hearing there were panicked perps who jumped out of a second floor or higher window injuring themselves only to be caught by more backup cops waiting below.

          • by Sancho (17056) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @07:01PM (#40095203) Homepage

            Don't even has to call it. You can tell the phone to make a noise that can't be needed.

            It's distinctive to the find my iPhone feature, and it is pretty damning.

            • A similar feature exists (and I've tested it) from retrieval software on Android -- I'm somewhat shocked they couldn't manage to find the phone this way unless its been turned off since.

              • by Sancho (17056) *

                I realize that I was ambiguous. The sound is distinctive, not the feature.

                And needed was autocorrected from muted somehow....

              • by rvw (755107)

                A similar feature exists (and I've tested it) from retrieval software on Android -- I'm somewhat shocked they couldn't manage to find the phone this way unless its been turned off since.

                Turn off the phone. My phone doesn't require a PIN or unlock code for this. Remove the sim card. How much noise will it make? None!

        • by Huge_UID (1089143) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:28PM (#40094957)
          Really? I use Find My iPad to find my iPad in my _house_. "Ah, the kids left it behind the couch."
        • by X0563511 (793323)

          These guys had GPS from the phone (via consent of the victim or certainly his father) and couldn't find it. That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

          I think it illustrates limitations in the technology more than human incompetence. The service can't find your phone. It can tell you that your phone is near 55th and San Pedro, but it's not going to tell you which house and room the thing is sitting in, or whose pocket it has been put in. I bet I can stash a phone "near" any intersection in the country and you wouldn't be able to find it with only that information.

          Notice that I'm not suggesting a solution... the service does what it does, but it's not a panacea for finding lost things.

          I bet I could find your stashed phone. It need not even be connected to a network, just powered up and trying to connect.

          It's called radio direction finding, and it's actually a damn fun hobby.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Known Nutter (988758)

        That takes a spectacular level of incompetence.

        Interesetingly, this is also another typical anti-LE karma-grabbing post.

        You weren't there. The only information you have is what was in the article, which states that contact was made at several homes in an attempt to locate the phone. You have no clue as to the contents of those contacts or any way of accurately quantifying the competence of the officers involved.

        Now, 10 cops for a missing cell phone... you could call that obnoxious -- at the very least! Co

        • The only information you have is what was in the article, which states that contact was made at several homes in an attempt to locate the phone.

          So, did they try something obvious like "go to the place that iRetrieve says the phone is, then dial the phone and listen for ringing"?

          Or did they just ask the people they met if they had a stolen iPhone?

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by LifesABeach (234436)
            Did the "Oakland 10" go to the kid's girl-friend's home, and then try dialing it? I'd be curious where they found it, it they did.
      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Or s phone that was turned off or an application uninstalled before the investigation started or a service that plain does not work.

    • Maybe the iphone was simply... OFF
  • by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:02PM (#40094081)

    That's because the kid had photo's of his dad that he used to blackmail him into getting the iPhone in the first place.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:02PM (#40094087)

    But when you multiply that times 10, that's pretty smart.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:03PM (#40094093)

    Unless you're related or f**king one of them, you can forget about timely justice. And, unless there's a chance they'll get to whip out a gun and play cops/robbers, you might as well fire up a pot of coffee because you're going to be waiting a while. My girlfriend is an asst. manager at a major chain store and they have a revolving door of the usual suspects and it's very low on law enforcement's priority.

    But, some of the blame also falls on the court system which has found that chasing potheads is more lucrative than going after petty thieves.

    • by icebraining (1313345) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:17PM (#40094267) Homepage

      Meanwhile, and where I live, the police did recover my brother's cheap-ass Nokia. The cop just sent a request for the phone's location to the mobile operator, along with my brother's signed statement on how he had lost his phone, identified a teenage kid who had stolen before, stopped by his house and got the phone back. Then they called my brother to go pick it up.

      • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:32PM (#40094441)

        Right, the trick is that the phone has to be taken to a location that you can uniquely identify, or be given to a person you can uniquely identify.

        The problem with any sort of GPS tracking is that it has an error range. If you can pin down that the phone is in my building, but the building has 120 units in it. Is it really worth search 120 units for a 500 dollar phone? Actually maybe it is, if in the long run you set the precedent that the police will hunt you down and arrest you if you steal a 500 dollar phone, but it might not be. Different people will have different tolerances for these things.

        One of my friends in san francisco had his iphone stolen with find my iphone on it. The guy who stole it took it to his own house. And as the article states if the police can real time track it guess what? Right. That guy got caught. Take it to an apartment, or an area with a lot of tightly grouped living spaces and you're SOL.

        All of which goes to show that all of the phone carriers need to have a stolen device list that will disable stolen phones.

        • by Tanktalus (794810) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:37PM (#40094503) Journal

          The problem with any sort of GPS tracking is that it has an error range. If you can pin down that the phone is in my building, but the building has 120 units in it. Is it really worth search 120 units for a 500 dollar phone? Actually maybe it is, if in the long run you set the precedent that the police will hunt you down and arrest you if you steal a 500 dollar phone, but it might not be. Different people will have different tolerances for these things.

          Is it really worth running roughshod over the privacy of 119 innocent units to discover 1 alleged perpetrator?

          Damn, I think I just encouraged them.

          • You don't have to do a full search. Unless the flat is really large, it would be enough to have a policeman stand in front of the open door and make the phone he's looking for make noise (either via the phone location app or just by calling it).

            • by digitig (1056110)

              You don't have to do a full search. Unless the flat is really large, it would be enough to have a policeman stand in front of the open door and make the phone he's looking for make noise (either via the phone location app or just by calling it).

              Sure, because no phone thieves would know how to switch a phone to silent.

            • by Sir_Sri (199544)

              If the flat is really large you could probably pin it down more precisely too.

              Besides that find my iPhone is a specific implementation of a solution to a problem, that doesn't mean you couldn't construct a better, less privacy invasive and more viable solution as well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arth1 (260657)

          The problem with any sort of GPS tracking is that it has an error range. If you can pin down that the phone is in my building, but the building has 120 units in it. Is it really worth search 120 units for a 500 dollar phone? Actually maybe it is, if in the long run you set the precedent that the police will hunt you down and arrest you if you steal a 500 dollar phone, but it might not be.

          It would be illegal.

          "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

          That you're one out of 120 who might have dunnit isn't "probable cause". This is exactly the kind of fishing expeditions that the amendment was designed to p

          • by Sir_Sri (199544)

            So what's the correct error range? 2 units? 1? 1 with 3 inhabitants? We're arguing degree here.

            If you can pin down to a specific house with 1 resident, and that's legal, everything else is a matter of where you want to set the threshold for reasonable. I specifically left the statement open ended for that reason.

            • by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:28PM (#40096543) Homepage Journal

              IANASCJ, but the key word is "probable".
              If there are two apartments, and a felony suspect went into one of them, and one of them houses a person with a long arrest record and the other doesn't, a judge may approve the search order as probable cause. And if it doesn't pan out, they now know have probable cause for the other house.
              But much more than that, and the fourth amendment protection trumps the police's desire to catch the criminal.
              Only when life and health is in imminent danger can they bypass this - if there is someone sniping from an apartment complex, they can search the entire premises because saving lives trumps the fourth amendment protection. Likewise for a bomb threat. But if it's a thief or pot smoker, they need to get an approved search warrant for every apartment they want to search.

        • "have a stolen device list that will disable stolen phones."

          Mind describing how to do this in a way which can't be abused?
        • by mirix (1649853)

          Why search the 120 units? Just wait until the phone moves somewhere that is less populated. Or perhaps moves to several populated places, and then cross-reference them.

      • by richlv (778496)

        which country is that ?
        (north-eastern europe here)
        i have reported several car break-ins. "are you sure you want to report it ? maybe it wasn't very important ? well, we can't arrive very quickly, are you sure you want to wait ? we probably can't find them anyway"
        i have reported several garage/barn breakins. "are you sure you want to report it ? maybe it wasn't very important ? well, we can't arrive very quickly, are you sure you want to wait ? was anything actually taken ? we probably can't find them anyway

        • by j-beda (85386)

          I try to always report this type of stuff, just to increase the chances a report is filled out somewhere and statistics are generated. The local police always seem happy to take info over the phone. Granted, they could be just ignoring the information, but they always seem like they are interested in recording the data.

        • by sjames (1099)

          If you call them to report a dead body, be sure to say you think you see a joint in the decedent's pocket.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Do you live in a small town? I tried to report my phone stolen and they practically laughed at me (as, I have to admit, the AT&T service representative told me they would). And the thief even called a two people in the same town (I had the numbers on my statement!) within hours after it was taken (before I cancelled it). Unfortunately it was pre GPS days. But jeez, you watch a cop show on TV where they can solve a murder by looking at the contents of the victim's stomach and you think the real polic

    • by Sancho (17056) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:22PM (#40094333) Homepage

      The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops. And for most individuals who are burglarized, there's rarely enough evidence to even begin an investigation. The best you can usually hope for is to have serial numbers for some of your stuff and that when the thief screws up and gets caught, that you'll be able to get your stuff back then. More likely it's already been sold, though.

      The other truth is that all jobs have perks. Some people get to read Slashdot during the day. Some people don't have to pay for their own car or cell phone. And some people get more immediate attention from the police. Is it fair? No, but all of these things happen on a daily basis, and there's little sign that they will ever change.

      • by causality (777677) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:40PM (#40094537)

        The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops.

        Imagine the law enforcement resources that would be freed up and made available for real crimes (i.e. those with a victim) if we never prosecuted anything that happens among consenting adults. I bet a lot more thieves, rapists, and murderers would be behind bars.

        The other truth is that all jobs have perks. Some people get to read Slashdot during the day. Some people don't have to pay for their own car or cell phone. And some people get more immediate attention from the police.

        The difference being that everyone pays for police protection but some get better service than others. If you can read Slashdot during the day or have a company-supplied phone, that's between you and your employer. If that really bothered me for some reason, I could choose not to do business with you.

        Is it fair? No, but all of these things happen on a daily basis, and there's little sign that they will ever change.

        Maybe you didn't intend it this way but that sounds rather defeatist. None of that is a reason to give up and stop calling attention to abuses wherever they happen. None of that means we shouldn't expect better. If we never scrutinized these things, it would be far worse than it is right now.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:44PM (#40094567)

        The other truth is that all jobs have perks. Some people get to read Slashdot during the day. Some people don't have to pay for their own car or cell phone. And some people get more immediate attention from the police. Is it fair? No, but all of these things happen on a daily basis, and there's little sign that they will ever change.

        This isn't about fairness, it is about abuse of power. None of your other examples involve the public trust. The cops get all kinds of special privileges to enable them to do their jobs, so they have a higher standard to up hold than some guy driving to the grocery store in his company car.

        The reason there is little sign that this kind of abuse of power will stop is in part due to people making false equivalancies to excuse it.

        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          This isn't about fairness, it is about abuse of power. None of your other examples involve the public trust.

          To be fair, this is the Berkeley PD we're talking about, here. It's not like there's a tax-paying public there. It's mostly students and professors, and everyone who actually makes money is (primarily) paid by the University. It's more like a corporate state of Greek times.

      • If my employer doesn't like me hanging on Slashdot during my breaks, he can tell me or fire me eventually. If the cops don't pay attention to a genuine report, please tell me how could I fire them. 'Cause I'd do it in no time.

      • by RoccamOccam (953524) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:51PM (#40095139)

        The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops. And for most individuals who are burglarized, there's rarely enough evidence to even begin an investigation.

        That's why I'm part of our Neighborhood Watch. If I see a stranger in our neighborhood acting odd or dressed like a thug, then I'll confront them. That approach has worked pretty well for me, until recently.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        The truth is, there's a lot of crime and not a lot of money for cops. And for most individuals who are burglarized, there's rarely enough evidence to even begin an investigation.

        Yes, and that's the entire POINT of the article. Call them out on it and it WILL change.

        And this guy had the arrogance/stupidity to abuse his power to get unfair attention in BERKELEY, a city where even the council members think of their police force as "dirty pigs". Basically, at this point he should probably be looking for a new

    • I had Prey installed on my son's laptop, which was stolen along with a bunch of other things. After I told Prey it was stolen, we got a geolocation hit in a nearby town with the name of the hotel in the WiFi. The local police went out at midnight and collected it all for us. We drove over in the morning and brought them brownies.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only tech angle here is that the item in question is an iPhone.

    Subsititute that for a car or a bike, would this story be here? Why or why not? I sense an an anti-LEO pattern on this site.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:10PM (#40094199)

      Perhaps you should read a little harder.

      The fact that a service designed to help find stolen iPhones failed to work is why this is here.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      The tech angle is pretty obvious. It's in the 3rd-to- last sentence.

      Cops can't find our lost or stolen smartphones, even when said phone is broadcasting its location, so clearly that's a deficiency in the design.

      • by kencurry (471519) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:24PM (#40094367)

        The tech angle is pretty obvious. It's in the 3rd-to- last sentence.

        Cops can't find our lost or stolen smartphones, even when said phone is broadcasting its location, so clearly that's a deficiency in the design.

        ... or is it just that the cops can't/won't take the final step? The location map was pretty accurate when I used it to see where I'd left my phone. There should be no mistake which house/building etc. That's all the system can really do for you.

  • by BMOC (2478408) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:07PM (#40094161)

    In honor of the professional and successful police investigation?

    //sarcasm^2

  • Still useful. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:08PM (#40094173)

    I'm under no illusion that "Find my iphone" will recover my stolen phone, but it's been great for those. "Ah shit where's my phone?" Moments.
    Just knowing where it is, or weather or not it's stolen, or if you left it at your friends or your parents house is good enough. Its the unknown quantity that's scary.

    The GPS is indeed accurate enough to determine things like. "Oh, it's in my car parked outside" - Done that from both home and work with my iphone and my ipad2 w/3g

    • Re:Still useful. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:28PM (#40094405)
      GPS tracking has recovered my son's stolen phone on one occasion. He was at a children play facility, and his phone was in his cubby with his shoes. When we came to pick him up, the phone was gone. The owners of the facility were quick to remind us that they are not responsible for lost or stolen items, and they had no idea what might have happened to the phone.

      I explained that while it would be unfortunate if someone walked off with it, they didn't need to worry about it as I had the phone updating it's GPS location. I proceeded to look up the phones location using my own phone. That's when it was 'remembered' that one of the employees "put the phone in the office to make sure no one stole it."
  • Probably spent close to $1000 in overtime pay just to find a $200 phone. Ridiculous. We should turn police duties over to a private company that way, when they do dumb shit like this, we can fire them and hire a different company. But as things stand now, we taxpayers are forced to eat the thousand dollar loss.

    • by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:13PM (#40094219)

      To be fair, the $1000 also goes towards attempting to convict a thief which may in this case itself recover more stolen goods or prevent other goods from being stolen. In the wider world it may also produce a deterrent effect against future crime. I imagine that if cops never went after any stolen goods there would be even more theft.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        What the hell are you talking about? There's no thief. The kid lost his phone.

        • by crakbone (860662)
          Yeah, I just slipped right out of the kid's school locker and manged to hop a bus to Oakland. That Siri is far more adept than I ever expected.
          • Yeah, I just slipped right out of the kid's school locker and manged to hop a bus to Oakland. That Siri is far more adept than I ever expected.

            That Siri is a wild bitch... One weekend a few years back, she and I rented a convertible, drove out to Vegas, and took mushrooms with 8 strippers. Yadda yadda yadda, three days later Siri has maxed all her (and my) credit cards, done all 8 strippers (and me) and passed out naked on a craps table. I might hang with her again, but I'm not bringing my credit cards... I just now got out of debt.

            The worst part is I she talks like that during sex, too. The bonging gets a little old...

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Never mind. I reread the summary... it was stolen. Nevertheless I STILL don't think it's worthwhile to spend $1000 to recover a $200 item. That's just very, very bad financial planning and would be cheaper if the taxpayers just directly-bought a new iPhone for the little kid.

        Now if there was a rash of stolen phones, such that the total lost value exceeded $1000, THEN it would be worth the expenditure to recover the 2000 or 3000 dollars worth of phones. BUT that does not appear to be the case here. Th

        • by war4peace (1628283) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:07PM (#40094793)

          Um, how much would you value a rape, then? Or a beating? Or domestic violence? Or even murder?
          It would be interesting to see a world where such calculations are being performed.
          Oh, so the guy punched you repeatedly in the face and stole 100 USD from you? Right. How much was the hospital charging you? 2000 USD? I see. So that's a total of 2100 USD. Well, we can have one officer spend 5 days investigating this, then tough luck buddy. Maybe next time you'll get lucky and he'll stab you in the liver, I heard those wounds are expensive to heal and we'd be able to investigate the incident for one whole month.

          Yeah, would be interesting to live in such a world, indeed...

      • While I'm positive your intentions are good, here is what I read from your comment - that the ends justify the means, and you're perfectly happy with spending money to get convictions because surely more convictions means less crime. Neither ideal is uncommon in North America and Western Europe this decade, but I just simply have to ask - did you consider that time and money could have been better spent in the community? After all, law enforcement agencies are servants to society - it [used to be] their job
        • but taking the time to educate a room full of children why they shouldn't steal has no immediate, tangible benefit.

          Hard to argue successfully that someone shouldn't steal when you're also saying "we really don't have time to catch thieves, which is why we wish you wouldn't"....

    • by Sancho (17056) *

      I don't think I want to live in a world where the cops will only investigate crimes if the financial loss due to the crime is greater than the cost of the investigators time.

      Actually, as a supporter of the 2nd amendment, maybe I do want to live in that world.

  • MPAA RIAA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dj Stingray (178766) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:09PM (#40094185)

    If that iPhone was downloading illegal music/movies I bet they would find it in no time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    He earlier sent an officer to a journalist's house in the middle of the night to intimidate him.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/11/BANH1NJ73K.DTL

  • .. that none of the ten officers they sent out looking for the phone were good at correlating live location data on a map to real-world locations. You'd be surprised how many people, cops included, lack that very basic spatial-visualization skill.

    Then again, if the phone was physically well hidden and the people around it had enough acting talent to not look too hinky, it would be pretty difficult for the cops to make much progress even if they *could* narrow down to a relatively small radius. And dependi

  • by MikeMacK (788889) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:31PM (#40094435)
    Well, it was a mistake to use the Keystone division...
  • And criminals are becoming better educated. Society needs to invest in more and better trained police and judges.

    With more and better trained policemen, detectives, and judges spending on intelligence services and civil rights violations could be cut. The types of crime that make people feel disenfranchised could be cut down and society could be a better, safer and happier place.

    Currently law enforcement budgets are being cut, putting "serve and protect" on the back burner. Funds are being dumped into h
    • With more and better trained policemen, detectives, and judges spending on intelligence services and civil rights violations could be cut.

      This is a false dichotomy...

  • Cops are always saying that they don't have a right to search a location based on the "Find My iPhone" signal.

    After you've tracked down the location, and you bring the cops along, can you make the iPhone call out at top volume, "HELP! POLICE! SAVE ME!"?

    • by FunPika (1551249)
      Apparently the "Find my iPhone" app they were using has the ability to start playing a loud alarm.
  • 'If 10 cops who know a neighborhood can't find an iPhone that's broadcasting its location, that shouldn't give you a lot of confidence in your own vigilante recovery of a stolen iProduct

    Uh, no. That gives me no confidence in those cops. Sorry, but that doesn't speak to the effectiveness of Find My iPhone - it speaks to the effectiveness of _10_ cops...

  • by MichaelJ (140077) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:19PM (#40094893)

    Just this past weekend my wife lost her iPhone after stopping at a highway rest area. I knew from Find My iPhone that it was at the rest area, but there was no phone on the grass at the GPS point. Then the point moved to the far side of the parking lot. It wasn't there, either. It moved several more times, all of which led to the conclusion that it had to be inside - that despite claiming a location and even drawing an accuracy circle on the map, it was not where it claimed to be. I searched inside several buildings, had the attendants check the ladies' room (all the while using Find My iPhone to make the phone beep).

    Finally, after over an hour, an attendant and I went out to the dumpsters in back, stuck our heads in, and heard it ringing. That guided us to the right bag, and lo and behold, there it was.

    So yes, Find My iPhone was terrific in that without it, I would never have been able to recover my wife's iPhone. However, given what I went through in an otherwise relatively empty area, I can't imagine what one would do if the signal was coming from near a large apartment complex, a school, a parking garage, even a dense neighborhood of single-family homes could show the GPS point in the wrong location if the phone's inside. Sometimes it's just better to take advantage of the remote wipe feature and start all over.

    I cannot, of course, defend in any way the use of police resources in this particular case. I'm sure we'd all want to help our kid out similarly, but I imagine the smart among us would have done it informally and off the clock.

    • "I cannot, of course, defend in any way the use of police resources in this particular case. I'm sure we'd all want to help our kid out similarly, but I imagine the smart among us would have done it informally and off the clock."

      Really you see no benefit to teaching a child that the police really do work. That they take theft and other crime seriously and are effective in deterring it?
      That the phone was really misplaced and not stolen? With all the implications for that child's perspective on what societ
  • this dude is crazy (Score:5, Informative)

    by milkmage (795746) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @07:42PM (#40095503)

    same guy sent a COP over to a REPORTERS house at MIDNIGHT because he was worried about a story which was about to run.

    http://www.dailycal.org/2012/03/10/berkeley-police-chief-sends-officer-to-reporters-home/ [dailycal.org]

    Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan ordered a sergeant to the home of a reporter around 12:45 a.m. Friday to request changes to a story that Meehan felt inaccurately portrayed him, media outlets reported this weekend.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:08PM (#40095703) Homepage

    was stolen from her locker at school. I actually left the phone on instead of disabling it to see if the retards would call someone. Sure enough when I checked the phone bill there was a call made to a number which I called and told them to return it or I'll go to their house and cut their hands off. The mom called back crying and begging to not do anything as she will get the phone back.

    Anyways after the phone was stolen my wife went to the school and told them about it. They did fuck all about it. A week later when nothing happened with the school she want to the police station and they said they couldn't do anything about it for some fucking reason. So mean while other students had their lockers broken into.

    After I got the phone back and got the names of the kids who where breaking into lockers, once again the school did fuck all so this time I went to the police station with the name of the people who did the break in. The retards told nothing they couldn't do anything because the school is a public place or something like that and I had to talk to the school RCMP liaison. Well so I call expecting to talk to someone and got an answering machine. Another phone call a few days later and I got nothing.

    Any ways moral of the story don't rely on the police for anything.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:36PM (#40096215) Journal

    So, the cops should not deal with crime in schools because there is crime on the streets? That is awfully specific. How about crimes on the side-walk? Is crime in the park alright?

    Sounds like it was written by a church lady, someone who just wants to be outright at the indecency going on everywhere, even if she has to take a stepladder and binoculars around with her to find it.

    The issue is rather simple, it is the insane privacy expectations of people where they are outraged if the police has any clearance to do their job and are equally outraged when the police has any clearance to do their job. "How dare you pull me over to test me for drink driving, why don't you shoot that guy with a laser guided missle because I think he might or might have had something to drink and I just don't like how he is driving". The British tabloids are REALLY good at this, whine about drink drivers in one article, then whine about the horrid effects of drunk drivers getting actually sentenced to anything at all. "Get them off our roads! You can't deny someone access to their car!"

    And people wonder why politicians don't listen to the voter. The issue isn't that every voter has a different demand, it is that every single voter has multiple contradicting demands.

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