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New York's anti-terror reporting app could easily cause problems

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New York state is understandably more anxious than ever about terrorist threats, and it's hoping that some mobile technology will bolster its defenses. Governor Cuomo has launched a campaign that encourages New Yorkers to use See Something, Send Something, a smartphone app that helps you report suspicious activity to officials. While the software is already in use in five states, this promises to be its biggest test yet. It's coming to one of the most populous parts of the country, and one where terrorist attacks have been all too real.

The hope, as you might gather, is that you'll spot someone leaving a shady-looking backpack or otherwise catch nogoodniks before it's too late. However, there's worry that the app is ripe for abuse. While the state government is quick to warn that you shouldn't use See Something, Send Something for reporting non-criminal activity or beliefs, these sorts of tipping programs have been misused elsewhere by people confusing their prejudices with real security concerns. The state will vet reports before acting on them, but it may have to sort through a lot of bogus claims to find the ones that are worth a closer look.

[Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

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