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Boston to launch complaint-filing iPhone app

Hoping to cut down on bureaucracy, "Citizen Connect" will let Bostonians send photos and tips about "neighborhood nuisances" to City Hall.

The city of Boston is set to launch an official iPhone application for residents to file complaints about "neighborhood nuisances--nasty potholes, graffiti-stained walls, blown street lights," according to The Boston Globe.

Called Citizen Connect, the app will let Bostonians send pictures and tips right to City Hall.

The app was built with the help of a New Hampshire mobile development firm called Connected Bits.

Citizen Connect has been submitted to Apple but hasn't made it into the iTunes App Store just yet. When it does, it will be free.

Beware, Citizen Connect: complaints about this 'Aqua Hunger Teen Force' ad campaign turned into a huge mess for Boston two years ago. Boing Boing

The Boston Globe said Citizen Connect is the first app of its kind, but other cities have also been turning to new technology to make the minutiae of municipal government run more smoothly. New York's 311 nonemergency hotline for residents now has a presence on Skype and Twitter. New York also now accepts photo and video submissions for 911 and 311.

But the iPhone app has a few advantages. Per the Globe: "The application, which will be free to download from Apple, will allow residents to use the Global Positioning System function on their iPhones to pinpoint the precise location of the problem for City Hall. After submitting a complaint, users will get a tracking number, so they can pester city officials if the problem persists." Ooh! Pestering city officials sounds like fun!

That said, the idea of a complaint-filing iPhone app for Boston is particularly hilarious: the most famous instance of Boston municipal complaints in recent history happened when people started calling in concerns about suspicious-looking devices that turned out to be an ad campaign for the cartoon flick "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." This fact, however, did not come to light until the city had already shut down all traffic on the Charles River.

Or, as one blogger has pointed out already, the system could easily get flooded with photos accompanied by captions like "Please send a cop over to make these Yankees fans leave this bar."