Protestors at Occupy Wall Street about to get arrested can, instead of frantically trying to make a phone call, alert family and friends with the touch of a button though an app named “I’m Getting Arrested.”
The app is a creation of James Van Anden, 43, a software developer from Brooklyn, N.Y., who owns Quadrant 2 Inc., a software development company.
Van Anden was inspired to create the app after his friend Sam’s girlfriend was about to get cuffed.
“What do you do in that case,” Van Anden asked. “You’re not going to suddenly start tapping on your keypad.”
According to Van Anden, friend Sam suggested an app. Van Anden ran with the idea, burning the midnight oil for two nights before launching “I’m Getting Arrested”on Oct 5 through the Android Market. Since then, he says the app has been downloaded 7,792 times (as of Oct. 24). He has already adapted the app for the iPhone, which Apple is currently vetting.
He sees “I’m Getting Arrested” as a sign of the times.
“People always use the technology at hand. They handed out flyers during the Vietnam protests because somebody had a copy machine. … The technology has evolved so that we can distribute [the message] it more quickly.”
The app works simply enough. When downloaded, the user types in a personalized message and then enters the cell phone numbers of whoever needs to be notified in the event of an arrest. The app is then activated, and all it takes is a two-second push of the “target” button to send out a text to all the cell phone numbers entered.
Since its creation, “I’m Getting Arrested” is downloadable in nine different languages, including Italian, Spanish and Arabic, to reflect the global nature of the protests.
And while Van Anden has not yet been to the protests, he feels as though he has made his own contribution.
“Speaking out is important, and if this app is associated with speaking out, then this is great,” he said.