University to transform Android phones into multimedia crime-fighting machines

The university is releasing a new smartphone application Tuesday that will allow students calling University Police to also transmit their GPS coordinates and stream audio and video to the dispatcher by hitting a single button. And iPhone users don’t get to use it.

It’s called “M-Urgency,” and anyone with a university ID number can download the application, according to a university press release, but it is so far only available on the Android platform. It is, according to the release, “a culmination of more than a decade’s worth of research in wireless communications by [computer science professor Ashok] Agrawala’s Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Lab,” and there are already plans to make it even more intense: Agrawala hopes to expand the program to other platforms and add additional functions, “including the ability to pinpoint a person’s location within 10 feet — which would work inside buildings and could identify the room and floor — based on Wi-Fi routers throughout the campus.”

For those of you keeping score, that’s Big Brother: 1, Thinking You Can Hide Anywhere Ever: 0. While it certainly appears to be a massive innovation in public safety, it’s also an alarming look at just how powerful those little pocket texting machines can be. Here’s hoping that Scrabble game you just downloaded isn’t following you around without your permission.

To download M-Urgency, go to its new website starting Tuesday.

You can also check out Campus Drive on Facebook and on Twitter at @theDBK.

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