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Police use new tool to source crowds for photos, videos and ultimately, evidence

This photo taken Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Los Angles, shows a tablet computer displaying a web site for LEEDIR or the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository that aims to make use of a document-everything culture evident on Instagram, Facebook and other social media to benefit law enforcement nationwide. In the days after the Boston Marathon bombings, authorities were overwhelmed with video and pictures after calling on a public eager to help provide investigators with potential evidence. Los Angeles sheriff’s Cmdr. Scott Edson approached two companies with a novel idea, a cloud-based repository for crowd-sourced videos and photos that could be flipped on in an emergency. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

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This photo taken Thursday, April 24, 2014 in Los Angles, shows a tablet computer displaying a web site for LEEDIR or the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository that aims to make use of a document-everything culture evident on Instagram, Facebook and other social media to benefit law enforcement nationwide. In the days after the Boston Marathon bombings, authorities were overwhelmed with video and pictures after calling on a public eager to help provide investigators with potential evidence. Los Angeles sheriff’s Cmdr. Scott Edson approached two companies with a novel idea, a cloud-based repository for crowd-sourced videos and photos that could be flipped on in an emergency. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Authorities are employing a new crowdsourcing tool to help with a Southern California investigation into an annual party gone awry last month that left dozens of people injured including several police officers.

The new online and mobile app is called LEEDIR, and it can be activated after a major emergency to allow people to send pictures and videos from their smartphones to investigators.

Proponents say the crowdsourcing system gives authorities a secure, central repository for the countless electronic tips that come during a crisis. And since it uses remote database servers that police access online, floods of data won't cause system crashes or be expensive to store.

Privacy advocates criticize the app as overly broad, saying it subjects innocent people to police scrutiny and probably won't produce much good evidence.

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