Call it arrest-app development.
Midwood-based software developer Jason Van Anden has created a smartphone application tailored to the Occupy Wall Street crowd — a program that allows you to send a mass text message at the moment you are getting collared by cops.
It’s called, appropriately, “I’m Getting Arrested.”
“It’s a technology that fits well with democracy,” said Van Anden.
The software designer came up with the idea after hearing that a Wall Street-occupying friend had come within one nightstick swing of being arrested. It made Anden wonder how he would have known if someone close to him had actually been detained.
“The next two nights I burnt the midnight oil,” he said, describing his feverish programming that resulted in the “I’m Getting Arrested” app for Android phones.
The app has proliferated with the help of smartphone-savvy Wall Street protesters (as anti-Esblishment as they are, they’re pretty quick with consumer technology). In just two weeks, it’s been download more than 5,600 times around the world — mostly in the United States, though a sizable customer base lives in the United Arab Emirates and Belarus.
“You have to wonder if [the download info] can forecast what people are thinking,” said Van Anden.
Here’s how it works:
Before you do anything that could earn you detention, open the app and write a text message to any number of recipients. Then, just as you’re about to be arrested, open the app and press a big red target on the phone’s screen. Faster than a cop can say, “You have the right to remain silent,” you’ll be alerting your mom, your friends, your roommate, and even your favorite newspaper reporter (phone number below!) of your impending detainment.
Currently, the free program is only available on Android phones, though Van Anden hopes to develop it for iPhones as well.
The irony is that Van Anden is not an Occupy Wall Street protester himself — preferring to keep his day job as a software developer for companies including Tiffany & Co. and Citibank — but he believes in the movement.
“I support what they’re doing,” he said. “I was glad that I was able to contribute something with my skill-set.”
Best of all, the free app is easy to download — just in time for Tuesday’s “day of solidarity” being planned by Brooklyn elected officials.
To get the app, visit https://market.android.com/details?id=us.quadrant2.arrested.
Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 725-9394.