Argentines become citizen-cops with smartphone app

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By AP

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Updated: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 12:14:48 EST

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A free smartphone application has encouraged more than 70,000 Argentines to become citizen-cops as they shop.

Argentina's government blames escalating inflation on speculators and greedy businesses, and has pressured leading supermarket chains to keep selling more than 80 key products at fixed prices.

President Cristina Fernandez wants citizens to report any overpriced items to the consumer protection agency.

"We want you to protect what's yours, because if not the others will win out every single day," she said in a national address this week.

Now a free app designed by two college students is helping consumers do just that by scanning bar codes to find evidence of overpricing. Downloads of the software surpassed "Candy Crush" and "Instagram" in Argentina this week.

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