Skip to main content

FBI's first app helps parents report missing children

Mark Milian
The FBI's first-ever smartphone app has buttons for calling 911 or the national missing children hotline.
The FBI's first-ever smartphone app has buttons for calling 911 or the national missing children hotline.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The FBI released its first iPhone app on Friday
  • Child ID allows parents to catalog profiles of their children in case they go missing
  • The app is available as a free download for iPhone and iPod Touch owners
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- When they're not hunting bad guys, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has designed a smartphone application for concerned parents.

Child ID, the first mobile app made by the FBI, provides parents with a place to keep information about their children handy in case of an emergency.

Parents can create separate entries for each kid, complete with photos, height, weight and other descriptive details. Then if a child disappears at the shopping mall, for example, a parent can quickly reference the info from her phone when filing a report to police.

The app also has buttons for calling 911 or the national missing children hotline, as well as for transmitting the data about a lost child over the Internet.

For anyone skittish about creating dossiers of their family within software conceived by the feds, the FBI lists an "important note" stating: "the FBI (and iTunes for that matter) is not collecting or storing any photos or information that you enter in the app." The data is kept in the device's memory and only transmitted when using the app for sending a report, the FBI says.

Child ID debuted Friday as a free download for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch owners. The FBI plans to release versions of the program for other phones later, the government agency said in a statement.

While the FBI is a newbie when it comes to building mobile apps, several other U.S. federal agencies have already released applications. The Internal Revenue Service, the Office of Personnel Management, the State Department, the Transportation Security Administration and the White House all have apps. Many are listed on USA.gov.

The U.S. government seems to favor Apple's mobile platform for many of its software releases. Aneesh Chopra, the White House's technology chief, told the blog Switched two years ago that he uses a BlackBerry for work and an iPhone as his personal device.

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

Most popular Tech stories right now