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Voice of America

Voice of America on RedZone Map

RedZone is a navigation app that provides real-time insights into developing situations such as shootings, assaults and the like, and finds fast and safe routes so users can leave the area safely. Using a color-coded map, the app combines real-time crime and social data from government agencies with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to guide users to safety in several countries, including Germany, Britain, U.S., and France.

According to its founder, Theodore Farnsworth, RedZone automatically sources crime data and adds corresponding tags to its maps of cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, and others. The map also benefits from crowdsourcing and community collaboration to keep users aware of their surroundings.

As the app expands, it will include additional capabilities, such as delivering real-time notifications of criminally-active individuals in public spaces and during live events. To do that, though, the app needs access to data from public surveillance systems and law enforcement facial recognition databases. The plan is to enable users to identify potentially dangerous individuals whose image they happen to capture during a public event, for example.

Techtonics asked Farnsworth about the potential of these technologies collecting data about passersby who might not know they are in the surveillance crosshairs. He said the goal is “keeping the public safe, not exploiting the images of innocent passersby.”

For the moment, the company does “not hold onto any personal data or have databases with any personal information,” he said.

 - Aida Akl, Voice of America