Correction: The iWitness app is available for $2.99 a month, in a previous article it was stated that the price was $3.99 a month which is incorrect. The Collegian regrets its error.
It may save friends, family or loved ones. On a college campus, it might just stop a best friend from facing the scariest night of their life.
iWitness, a new app, provides protection with the touch of a button. Upon touching the screen, the app begins recording; another tap will notify a selected list of contacts with the whereabouts of the endangered user. Ultimately, the police will be called.
“Women do not have to use self defense,” said Dave Remer, CEO and founder of iWitness. “This is a whole new technique. The cops love it, and this way, college girls and women active in the community can feel safe at all times.”
According to Remer, the app will potentially assist in catching predators before any violence takes place.
The recordings are immediately sent to the cloud and cannot be deleted by anyone. The app can also sound an alarm and light up by tapping the screen to help scare a potential predator off.
According to Casey Malsam, Women and Gender Advocacy Center coordinator and victim advocate, the majority of assaults on campus are by an acquaintance or friend of the victim.
“On a college campus, 95 percent of attacks are acquaintance attacks, so it (the app) could help with the 5 percent of attacks that are stranger assault attacks, ” Malsam said.
During the last academic year, there were several attacks on the CSU campus, and although the app could potentially notify friends of whereabouts of the victim, Malsam said the app could give students a false sense of security.
According to Malsam, the goal of WGAC is to create social change and awareness of how people should stop harming others.
iWitness is currently negotiating to have universities purchase rights to the app, allowing students to have access to the app under student fees. This negotiation would enable students to notify CSU and Fort Collins police of their GPS coordinates.
“There would be an added derivative if an entire university were to take on iWitness,” Remer said. “It would be another phenomenon, because there would be a cloud storm effect, all over the university, and the entire campus becomes safe.”
According to alumna Erica Romberg, who focused in criminology at CSU, the application seems a bit too “Big Brother.”
“I feel like it might be overstepping some boundaries and has the potential to be used inappropriately,” Romberg said. “However, if it would only be used as a means of protection after something happened, I could see the use of the app.”
According to Romberg, people – herself included – are often overly-paranoid in certain situations, and the app could be a waste of resources if the police were contacted when they did not need to be.
The application is available to individuals for $2.99 a month. Other applications such as bSafe, Watch Over Me and On Watch are currently free to download and offer similar
Collegian Senior Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.