At a recent press conference at Police Headquarters in lower Manhattan, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton issued a warning to all well-to-do New York City residents about a bogus internet app that, no matter what you do, takes you to the Hamptons.
“It is called GPS+PLUS,” the Commissioner said. “If you get in your car in front of your apartment on Fifth Avenue, for example, and you punch in any destination outside of New York City, it will override that and will instead take you to one of the villages on eastern Long Island. It is highly sophisticated. It randomly picks a village. It could be Sag Harbor or Remsenberg, Cutchogue or Montauk. It adopts the voice on your cellphone GPS so it sounds like its taking you to where you want to go. Also, it mentions villages and towns along the way to your punched in destination, but as I said, the last comment ‘you have arrived at your destination’ is false. You will have arrived in the Hamptons. Also, it is only active on Fridays. The rest of the week, it takes you where you want to get to.”
Police Commissioner Bratton says he doesn’t know the ins and outs of how this works, but his technical department is working on it. What he does say is that it only shows up on a list of your apps when you search for “enhanced GPS” or “GPS+PLUS” or “GPS for the rich.” It is, he said, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He said there could be other search terms that would lead to it but those are the ones they’ve found so far.
“How does it know if a user is rich?” a reporter for CNN asked.
“That’s the most remarkable thing. It seems to be connected up to the database of New York City homeowners whose tax returns show an income of more than $10 million a year.”
“What about New York City homeowners who also own or rent in the Hamptons but have their official residences in the Hamptons?” the reporter from FOX asked.
“Them too,” the Commissioner said. “It’s the damnedest thing.”
“What if you have GPS+PLUS on your cellphone but you have a car with a driver and he doesn’t have it on his,” the reporter from New York magazine asked.
“It hops. We don’t know how. If you get in the back seat, it hops to any cellphone of anybody in the driver’s seat. It also hops to commercial GPS systems like Garmin.”
“What about helicopters?”
“Jumps to the pilot.”
“So, these apps are available from a person’s cell phone app store?” a reporter for the Post asked.
“Why does Apple or Android or Blackberry continue to allow these apps to be sold on their app sites?”
“They are not on Blackberry. As for the others, we think it is because the app GPS+PLUS is hooked up to many of their upscale advertisers who have stores in the Hamptons. If in New York City, you punch in clothing stores near me, for example, it gives you upscale clothing stores in Manhattan near your location but it also gives you Ralph Lauren, Ellie Tahari and Tory Burch sites in the Hamptons. Of course we’re not sure this is the reason.”
“Have you made any arrests about this?” asked a CBS reporter.
“We’ve rounded up the usual suspects,” the Commissioner said. “But they’re just the usual suspects. So we let them go.”
“Our investigation has uncovered tax fraud, two Ponzi schemes and 11 cases of insider trading violations nobody knew about. So that’s something. We’ve turned those over to the DA.”
“We think the Hampton Chamber of Commerce might be behind this. But we can’t get access to their phone data, because of the new regulations. We’re trying to get Homeland Security to move on this.”
“You think this is about terrorism?”
“No. It also might be Russians. Or maybe the Chinese. Or maybe Bill Belichick from the New England Patriots. One lead took us there. Don’t worry. We’ll catch these perps.”
“How did you learn about this?” a reporter from The Wall Street Journal asked.
“We’ve had numerous reports of wealthy hedge fund managers, rock stars and investment bankers wandering around the Hamptons in a daze. Many of them, those who summer in Bedford or Chappaqua, have never been in the Hamptons before. They don’t know what to make of it, and don’t know where they are.”
“Has this been going on a long time?”
“We have no idea. But we consider it a vicious threat to our way of life.”
“How long do you think it will take before you get to the bottom of this?”
“We’ve got half the New York City police force working on this case. Also all the K9 police dogs. I hope to have something further to say in a week.”
“Any advice we can pass on to our readers and users?”
“Don’t download GPS+PLUS. And if you’ve got it, delete it. Fast. Especially before you get into the backseat of any vehicle where it might jump to someone else. Also, use the Hampton Jitney as much as possible. For some reason, it doesn’t jump to drivers of the Jitney or their Ambassador class service. And maybe consider dumping your Android and Apple and getting a Blackberry. No, never mind. Forget I said that. Also, if you have a suspicion that you are being taken to the Hamptons without realizing it, well, you’ve realized it. Nothing to be done. Just sit back and enjoy it.”
“Thank you, Mr. Commissioner.”
“You’re very welcome.”