There’s a dark side to all technology if it’s truly powerful and there are legion examples of how it can be used for good or for ill depending on how it is deployed.

A new mobile application called the Patriotapp “deputizes your iPhone or iPad” and is either a responsible citizen’s tool to aiding agencies of law and enforcement or a step towards a Stasi-like society of informers; it depends on your perspective.

The app was built by Florida software and services company Citizen Concepts to empower people “to create safer, cleaner, and more efficient communities by leveraging social networking and mobile technology.”

It shows the National Security Threat Level and has integrated points of contact to federal agencies like the FBI, including its Most Wanted list, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Government Accountability Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Icons lead to templates where you can report suspicious activity, crime, government waste – even a pandemic.

The app explicitly aims to encourage “active citizen participation in the War on Terror and in protecting their families and surrounding communities”.

The company states: “This app was founded on the belief that citizens can provide the most sophisticated and broad network of eyes and ears necessary to prevent terrorism, crime, environmental negligence, or other malicious behaviour.”

Crimestoppers on steroids? The march of Big Brother? An elaborate spoof? You tell me.

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