Category Archives: Gadgets

iPhone Video Timestamp App For Private Investigators

by Steven Santarpia
ICORP Investigations 

It’s finally here! An app for private investigators to take video on their IPhone with a timestamp. It’s called VideoTimeStamp made by Contraptionz. The cost is $29.99. You can record video at 640×480 or 960×640 resolution, with a time and/or date stamp burned in! IOS 5.0 required.I’ve been using the app for a month and I definitely give it my seal of approval. My private investigators at ICORP Investigations also seem to like the app. I think it works well for claims investigations. For instance, I followed a claimant into a Home Depot not too long ago. I  approached the claimant while I made like I was texting someone on my iPhone. The claimant had no idea I was filming him. That of course, is what its all about.

You can hold your iPhone vertically and horizontally  to take video, which is a great feature. When holding it vertically, you can make like you are texting someone and video the target. When holding it horizontally, you can hold the iPhone down by your side to video while walking. Another great feature the VideoTimeStamp app has is you can tap the iPhone screen twice to make the screen go dark. Thus, your iPhone looks like its inactive. For domestic investigations like a cheating spouse case, this app can also be helpful when trying to obtain hidden video.

Maybe the best aspect of this app is you’ll have your iPhone with you all the time. The investigator no longer has to carry another device to obtain hidden video. Plus, the quality of video and the reliability of the hidden cams most insurance investigators use to obtain hidden video make this app a very welcoming addition to our bag of tricks.

Does Your Facebook Friend Have A Mugshot?

Jail Base is a criminal records database site I recently came across. It seems to be growing in popularity. Jail Base lets you search for arrested persons you might know, including mugshots if available. It also lets you search for recent arrests. I checked their Facebook page and they seem to be adding a growing list of counties in the states. They also have an app that notifies you when your Facebook friends get arrested. REPEAT….app that notifies you when you Facebook friends get arrested……Hopefully in the future you will be able to place wagers on the likelihood of a Facebook friend getting arrested.  God Bless the internet.

Claims Investigators Walkie-Talkie App

Claims investigators have a new tool when working out in the field. Voxer is a Walkie Talkie application for smartphones. It lets you send instant audio, text, photo and location messages to one or a group of friends/investigators. This is an application that all private investigators should have on their smartphones. Speaking from personal experience, the micro talk walkie talkie radio’s out there on the market (Midland, Cobra in particular) were ok at best. The 5-10 mile radius that they claimed to cover was more like three city blocks. Also, investigators would often speak over each other on the radio often causing confusion during an investigation. No longer will I have to hear, “Do you have extra batteries? Mine are dead.” I think Voxer has some promise and is already better than any micro talk walkie talkie i’ve ever used for surveillance. There is a short lag time which should improve with time. The message contains location data from the sender which will help when no street signs or markers are near. The application has not drained my Iphone battery and is incredibly easy to use. Now if only there was an application to magically write professional reports.

Drones Set Sights on U.S. Skies

By  and 
Published: February 17, 2012

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. — Daniel Gárate’s career came crashing to earth a few weeks ago. That’s when the Los Angeles Police Department warned local real estate agents not to hire photographers like Mr. Gárate, who was helping sell luxury property by using adrone to shoot sumptuous aerial movies. Flying drones for commercial purposes, the police said, violated federal aviation rules.

“I was paying the bills with this,” said Mr. Gárate, who recently gave an unpaid demonstration of his drone in this Southern California suburb.

His career will soon get back on track. A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels theFederal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors — from selling real estate and dusting crops, to monitoring oil spills and wildlife, even shooting Hollywood films. Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones.

But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information. Safety concerns like midair collisions and property damage on the ground are also an issue.

American courts have generally permitted surveillance of private property from public airspace. But scholars of privacy law expect that the likely proliferation of drones will force Americans to re-examine how much surveillance they are comfortable with.

“As privacy law stands today, you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy while out in public, nor almost anywhere visible from a public vantage,” said Ryan Calo, director of privacy and robotics at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University. “I don’t think this doctrine makes sense, and I think the widespread availability of drones will drive home why to lawmakers, courts and the public.”

Some questions likely to come up: Can a drone flying over a house pick up heat from a lamp used to grow marijuana inside, or take pictures from outside someone’s third-floor fire escape? Can images taken from a drone be sold to a third party, and how long can they be kept?

Drone proponents say the privacy concerns are overblown. Randy McDaniel, chief deputy of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Conroe, Tex., near Houston, whose agency bought a drone to use for various law enforcement operations, dismissed worries about surveillance, saying everyone everywhere can be photographed with cellphone cameras anyway. “We don’t spy on people,” he said. “We worry about criminal elements.”

Still, the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups are calling for new protections against what the A.C.L.U. has said could be “routine aerial surveillance of American life.”

Under the new law, within 90 days, the F.A.A. must allow police and first responders to fly drones under 4.4 pounds, as long as they keep them under an altitude of 400 feet and meet other requirements. The agency must also allow for “the safe integration” of all kinds of drones into American airspace, including those for commercial uses, by Sept. 30, 2015. And it must come up with a plan for certifying operators and handling airspace safety issues, among other rules.

The new law, part of a broader financing bill for the F.A.A., came after intense lobbying by drone makers and potential customers.

The agency probably will not be making privacy rules for drones. Although federal law until now had prohibited drones except for recreational use or for some waiver-specific law enforcement purposes, the agency has issued only warnings, never penalties, for unauthorized uses, a spokeswoman said. The agency was reviewing the law’s language, the spokeswoman said.

For drone makers, the change in the law comes at a particularly good time. With the winding-down of the war in Afghanistan, where drones have been used to gather intelligence and fire missiles, these manufacturers have been awaiting lucrative new opportunities at home. The market for drones is valued at $5.9 billion and is expected to double in the next decade, according to industry figures. Drones can cost millions of dollars for the most sophisticated varieties to as little as $300 for one that can be piloted from an iPhone.

“We see a huge potential market,” said Ben Gielow of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a drone maker trade group.

For Patrick Egan, who represents small businesses and others in his work for the Remote Control Aerial Photography Association in Sacramento, the new law also can’t come fast enough. Until 2007, when the federal agency began warning against nonrecreational use of drones, he made up to $2,000 an hour using a drone to photograph crops for farmers, helping them spot irrigation leaks. “I’ve got organic farmers screaming for me to come out,” he said.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Texas bought its 50-pound drone in October from Vanguard Defense Industries, a company founded by Michael Buscher, who built drones for the army, and then sold them to an oil company whose ships were threatened by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The company custom-built the drone, which takes pictures by day and senses heat sources at night. It cost $300,000, a fraction of the cost of a helicopter.

7 Tools to Spy Better Than a CIA Agent

Here are seven spy tools to get you started.

Hummingbird Drone Does Loop-de-Loop

%d bloggers like this: