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IPhone’s Siri Can Help You Record Police Encounters

by Eben Diskin Jun 16, 2020

Incidents of police brutality are sometimes hard to prove, but there’s one Siri feature iPhone users who wish to protect themselves can use to record police interactions. The feature is an app called Shortcuts that lets you create any voice control shortcuts you want on your phone. When the app became available in 2018, Robert Petersen downloaded it and set out to create I’m getting pulled over, a shortcut that lets you monitor police encounters without the need to touch your phone.

When the user says, “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over,” any music playing will be automatically paused, the screen’s brightness is dimmed, the phone’s “Do Not Disturb” function is turned on, and a video recording begins using the phone’s front camera. The phone then sends a text to a pre-selected contact informing them that the user is being stopped by police, along with the user’s location.

“Once you stop the recording,” said Petersen, “it sends a copy of the video to a contact you specify, puts volume and brightness back to where they were, turns off Do Not Disturb, and gives you the option to send to iCloud Drive or Dropbox.”

Petersen calls it the civilian equivalent of a police body cam.

To use the feature, you must first have the Shortcuts app installed before downloading the I’m getting pulled over shortcut (also known as the Police Shortcut). The Shortcut is only available for Apple users, but similar features like “Stop and Frisk Watch” are downloadable on Android.

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