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New service, TipSoft SMS, offers anonymity for reporting crime tips via text message.

TipSoft SMS lets you send an anonymous text message about crimes to police. Anderson Software

You see a crime, what do you do? Most people would just dial 911. But if you want to remain anonymous and there's no no pay phone around, you can now send a text message to the authorities.

A company called mBlox, which operates a mobile transaction network, and Anderson Software, provider of law enforcement tip management software, have launched a service that lets people send in anonymous tips via SMS.

The TipSoft SMS service provides an alias for the tipster and allows for two-communication without sharing the tipster's phone number with authorities. The text messages are encrypted and routed through secure servers.

The anonymity will likely mean more tips to police, which is good. But there's also the chance there will be pranks pulled and people ratted out for unwarranted activities, which is not so good.

TipSoft is already available in 16 cities in Canada, is launching in 32 U.S. cities, and will be available in the U.K. soon, the companies said.

About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.

 

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