IPhone becomes traffic spy camera

By Nathan Jeffay, March 10, 2011

Israel is notorious for bad driving. But transgressors should beware - big brother is watching.

New software transforms normal citizens' iPhones into monitoring and reporting devices for dangerous driving.

Some 10,000 Israelis have downloaded the new "Traffic Observer" app from the iTunes store. The idea is that when they are driving, they place their iPhone on their dashboard facing out of the windscreen, and it becomes a CCTV camera which films the road.

When the app is turned on, an iPhone will record the scene out of the windscreen in short clips and erase them two minutes later - unless the driver spots a transgression. There is a special button to press if he or she does - the clip is then saved and sent over the internet to the National Road Safety Committee, the non-profit organisation which commissioned the app. It will sort through the clips, and send those which provide grounds for prosecution to the police.

Tsiki Naftaly, vice president of Zemingo, the company that developed the app, said that as well as helping to catch dangerous drivers, it will reduce road-rage. "Instead of getting angry when someone cuts you up or runs a light, you can know that you filmed him and he can't just get away with it," he said.

Last updated: 12:52pm, March 10 2011