Friday, January 03, 2014

Useful Droid Apps for the Undocumented

Access to information and technology. Most folks don't put too much into it because it's easy to over look such trifling things when your priorities are to makes end meat and survive. Being able to access the internet is a luxury and a necessity now. So it's no surprise that since folks can't afford internet at home, a phone becomes the go to device to access it. For years that was me. I would use my Iphone to access the net, take notes, write blog post, interviews, take pics etc. It would only be until I got to a desktop or a friends lap top that I would flush out what I started on my phone.

I'm my circle of friends, I can say that I'm one of a few folks that takes tech and information seriously. I have a Nexus 4 with an unlimited data plan. That alone sets me apart from my peers because most are on family plans or Metro PCS, scrapping by with a whatever phone and service that makes you shake your fist in the air. But it works.  Then there are those who have the latest Iphones, but don't know how to use it to it's full capacity. It's a mixed bag.

Point is, phones have leveled the playing feel when it comes to access to the internet and information. With that in mind, I wanna share some Droid apps that have practical uses for any individual that is undocumented and rocking a smart phone. Sorry Iphone users, I don't have apps to recommend for y'all. It's not like y'all would use them correctly anyway. (If you have or know of any other apps that undocu folks will benefit from, please share them in the comments)

MiConsulmex

Inherently, this app is only worth while to those of y'all who are Mexican because this is an app created by the Mexican Consulate. The Mexican DMV is an annoying trip and it usually takes you hours to get what you need. Well this app was designed to help expedite that process. It's cool to be able to check out info on requirements for specific applications or find out where a mobile clinic will be held. It's not the best app in the world, but it's a nice start.

FlyRights

Know your rights apps are a given. Obviously not practical when something is going down, but great to have on your phone none the less. The thing about FlyRights, aside from providing you with KYR info, is that you can report incidents directly to Homeland Security. The power to complain a click away.

NextBus

Being Undocumented and using public transportation go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. NextBus is just one of numerous public transpo apps that help you route your trip, give you schedules and even track the damn bus itself. For folks who live in major cities like Los Angeles or New York, I highly recommend using city specific apps. I find those to be just as accurate as any other app. The Google maps app also helps you with public transpo, but it's not always the best to rely on.

MrCheckpoint

This app is a Los Angeles exclusive, but the idea is ingenious none the less. An app that helps you keep track of police checkpoints. Driving while undocumented can result in numerous situations that range from getting tickets to being deported. So why not keep track of where the popo is going to post up and avoid those areas entirely.

ACLU-NJ Police Tape

This is an app that I wish would be flushed out more because it has great potential. Essentially, you can record police activity and directly send it to the ACLU. Folks get lucky here and there when they record cops doing fucked up shit, and there are instances of police taking peoples phones because they saw them record/take pics. They other key feature of the app is that when it is recording, the home screen looks normal, so it does it on the down low.

Circle of 6

Another app that is great in idea, but not exactly practical. With this app, you can select contacts that will receive programable messages, all at the same time. A kind of panic text if you will. When I first came across the app, I thought it would be great use in case anyone gets in a sketchy situation. Sending a group of friends an emergency text that you've been arrested or picked up by ICE. But the fact that it's just in English makes it limiting for that kind of use.

Congress

This one is pretty self explanatory. You can keep up with legislation, find congressmen/women from any state and their contact info. See how folks vote and even set alerts to specific bills you wanna keep an eye out for. And the best thing is that it's open source.

Derechos Herencia

One of the only apps that is in another language, other than English. It's a basic app that gives you KYR info on police, ICE and even the FBI. The story behind the app came along when app creator, Deyvid Morales was picked up by ICE while on a bus. To his luck, another bus was stopped by ICE with Deyvid on it, but he spoke up and told those in the bus their rights the second time he found himself in this situation. That's where he got the idea to put the KYR app together. Sucks that he wasn't at the Dreamer Hack athon in October.

ObscuraCam

I love obscura cam because of what it can do, which is clear background info on pics and video. Aside from being able to pixilate faces, the app can remove the background info phones attach to pics. A great app to get rid of tracks in pics and videos.

FourSquare

Back in the day, folks had this idea to create a list of places, mostly clubs, that were Matricula friendly. The idea of knowing which places where Mexican Consulate ID card friendly was something everyone wanted because of the embarrassment one goes through when you show that ID and you're denied entrance. I'm not one for clubs, so I never went through that embarrassment. Enter Four Square and other yelp like apps. Having the ability to write and look up reviews at certain spots can help determine if they have good food, good service and if they're Matricula friendly. I myself love this app because I treat it as a game and because I love to keep track of where I've been and discovering new places to eat or check out.






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