What the Heck: App Hiring Overseas Workers to Listen to US Police Scanners

What the Heck
What the Heck

What the heck is going on here? Apparently, there is an app that is now hiring overseas workers simply for spying on U.S. police scanners!

The public safety app Citizen is now paying contract workers located overseas to listen to U.S. emergency police scanners in an effort to write up reports on these emergency and police calls. While they used to do it themselves, they are now outsourcing the task to 200 contractors that are based in Nairobi, Kenya.

This is a cost-cutting move that has left New York staff being concerned about their future at their company. Moreover, they are gravely concerned about the accuracy of Citizen’s safety reports due to the fact that they are normally sent out to 7 million users living in 30 states.

What the heck is this about? Apparently, some of the employees at Citizen are not so sure about it either.

“We’re actually at a really low point for quality,” a Citizen source told The Post, adding that the new contractors “are all very young and not as experienced.”

Starting last October, these overseas workers were fully responsible for sifting through the tremendous amount of live emergency radio feeds in the United States, according to this anonymous source who works for Citizen but isn’t directly involved in this union drive.

Once these overseas workers hear something that might be sufficiently newsworthy, such as investigators responding to a shooting in New York City or firemen battling a three-alarm fire in Beverly Hills, these workers will be responsible for “leveling up” the story so that a US-based citizen staffer would be responsible for writing a notification and filtering through the user-submitted photos and videos, as noted by this source.

All of these operations had been previously handled by Citizen’s American “central operations” team, whose employees have been moving to form a union. The team’s duties continue to shrink under the outsourcing plan, but it has seen benefits such as free meals being taken away and paid time off policies becoming more restrictive.

No, there haven’t been any reports of layoffs coming down the pike, but the general consensus is that the team is going to be “winnowed down.”

“People who are putting in their two weeks and want to finish up their two weeks are being told to leave immediately and being cut off from all their communications,” the source said.

The firm allegedly handling Citizen’s outsourcing is called CloudFactory, and they did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

“CloudFactory uses technology to make it super easy and affordable to automate and outsource routine, but critically important data work so our customers can focus on the big things that will move their businesses forward,” reads the company’s website.

What the heck?