The New York Police Department has distributed about 400 dedicated Android smartphones to its officers, part of a pilot program begun quietly last summer. The phones, which cannot make or receive calls, enable officers on foot patrol, for the first time, to look up a person's criminal history and verify their identification by quickly gaining access to computerized arrest files, police photographs, and state Department of Motor Vehicles databases.

The technology offers extraordinary levels of detail about an individual, including whether the person has ever been "a passenger in a motor vehicle accident," a victim of a crime or in one instance, a drug suspect who has been known by the police to hide crack cocaine "in his left sock," according to Officer Tom Donaldson.

Read the full New York Times story.

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