The story: America's homeland security network now extends all the way to your smartphone. The makers of a new state-of-the-art iPhone app claim that it lets concerned citizens report suspicious activity — from terrorist-like behavior to potential environmental abuse — directly to the federal government at the push of a button. The "Patriot App" also lets users inspect the FBI's "Most Wanted" list, view the national threat advisory warning, and highlight their concerns via their Facebook and Twitter pages. The app's designers — described as former Department of Homeland Security "insiders" — say it was "founded on the belief that citizens can provide the most sophisticated and broad network of eyes and ears necessary to prevent terrorism." (Watch a Fox Business discussion about the app)
The reaction: So "this is the world we live in now," says Nicholas Deleon at Mobile Crunch. "This sounds suspiciously like the App intends to create a network of informants," with a hotline to Big Brother in their pockets. Nah, it's just "kind of silly," says Rob Long at The Daily Caller. If you think that there's "some federal office somewhere that will actually respond to a Tweeted-in report of suspicious activity," you're out of your mind. Any would-be patriots who download this are "hilariously naive."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- 10 things you need to know today: July 31, 2014
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Don't vote for Andrew Cuomo
Subscribe to the Week