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BEWARE---Precrime is Here---'Minority Report' From the Screen to Real Life

Posted by Zenphamy 3 years, 1 month ago to Government
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I've watched small info releases and publication of work on this system and it's type over the last several years, but it's now moved into a Police Department near you and me--Now. From the article:

"According to a report from the Washington Post, when Fresno police received a 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, they consulted the “Beware” software, which “scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social media postings.”

The software search found that the man had both a “firearm conviction” and a “gang association,” which put his “threat level” at the highest of three possible color-coded scores."
And:
"“It’s trying to forecast based on maybe your past behavior, or what is seen in your social media – a change in behavior or a change in the things you’re posting about,” Smith said. “They say ‘maybe this person is going to perpetrate a crime in the future,’ and then they want prevention from police officers.”"

I'd guess in 2yrs or less, we'll see legislation to enable a pre-crime intervention law and I'd bet we'll see it offered as justification on a Pre-Crime Police Killing "mistake".
SOURCE URL: http://truthinmedia.com/california-police-dept-determine-threat-score/


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  • Posted by GaryL 3 years, 1 month ago
    The best I can say if you find yourself paranoid over stuff like this is get off this Wild, Wild Web. Growing up we had a phone on the wall in the kitchen. If it rang and no one answered then we were not at home and they could try again later. I long for those days when we were all so much less important.
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  • Posted by term2 3 years, 1 month ago
    Think about it. If the government knew EVERYTHING at all times, and it had CONTROL over everything, it could control everyone's behavior exactly how it wanted.

    I think thats where our government is going. Individual freedom is the opposite of this
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 1 month ago
      Not necessarily control, but certainly influence.

      I absolutely agree that it is anti-liberty. If the politicians want to do something like this, they should be the first volunteers to have THEIR profiles released to the public. That would be an eye-opener.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 years, 1 month ago
    The TV series that's a follow-up to the movie Minority Report incorporates a software program designed to replace the human "pre-cogs", and sounds a lot like the "Beware" system. I'm going to predict that such a system is inevitable, due to concerns the general public have about police being out of the picture until after a crime has been committed. The desire for security is seductive, and with technology advancing swiftly, in the areas of face recognition and sensors approaching canine sensitivity, monitoring and catching a likely perpetrator before an act of violence is committed will be favorably viewed.

    As others point out here, there are two issues with such technology: exactly what punishment can be meted out for planning a criminal act, since current law requires the crime be committed before there is warranted punishment; second, what constraints need to be put on government to prevent abuse?

    The first issue is less difficult than it might seem, since there are laws that allow charges for intent to commit a crime, though now those are most often a result of a sting operation. Still, the first court cases will be interesting, since the prosecution will be without the benefit of overt self incrimination typical in stings.

    The second issue is the toughest nut to crack, but not so different from the existing situation with law enforcement. Most law enforcement personnel are diligent and honest, though not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier. The public has been consistently willing to accept the fact that isolated cases of abuse in the legal system are preferable to no police, so I would say that a pre-crime regimen will slowly be accepted.

    I can't help but wonder if the technology won't find its way into the business and sports arenas, used to leverage knowledge of a competitor's past behavior in predicting his upcoming strategies.
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    • Posted by  $  HeroWorship 3 years, 1 month ago
      It's not the pre-cog I am afraid of.

      "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 years, 1 month ago
        Excellent observation, and it acknowledges a consistent pattern of our corrupt legal system. First, build a pattern of laws and regulations so complex that it's literally impossible for anyone not to be in violation and therefore a lawbreaker, requiring legal assistance. Second, insure that the prison system remains robust and a breeding ground for future criminals. Third, demand a liberal parole system, so career criminals can be periodically released, creating new business for the legal community. Fourth, dupe the public into the notion that because our nation is built on law, only lawyers should be granted power, since only they truly understand the system well enough to be good shepherds of the national well being.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 years, 1 month ago
    Well, well. Why don't they just look at, and report on, all law-abiding citizens from birth? After all,
    what's wrong with having to justify your every move
    to the government, in advance, before you are al-
    lowed to do anything?!--This has gone beyond what we citizens ought to tolerate. I wonder if
    Oblahblah is going to endorse this in his speech
    tonight? Not that I'm enthusiastic about listening
    to it, but I guess that will be about the only thing
    on the radio until it's over.
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  • Posted by scojohnson 3 years, 1 month ago
    If it were really only a "threat warning" type of thing, for example, used as a police officer is responding to a call as in the article, I don't see much to be concerned about. Police officers are humans and Americans as well, and if the tool is available, they can respond better and likely prevent loss of life if they know what they are getting into by simply responding accordingly. The gang membership isn't new, that is tracked by California's Strategic Offender Management System that was custom-built for the Dept of Corrections, it actually started as a gang membership tracking system (among other things) so they wouldn't do something stupid like mix crips & bloods on the same cell block. It expanded into crime intelligence though and anything gleaned from interviews with prisoners is input for datapoint reference in the future.

    We all know it won't stop there though. I know everyone worries about 'big brother' stuff, but quite frankly, I'm a federal contractor, that assumes some level of competence by the federal workforce to implement, which doesn't exist. It takes 10 of them to figure out how to schedule a meeting in Outlook.

    Now if you see something in the news that General Dynamics IT, Booze Allen, Northrup Grumman, etc.. has been "contracted to provide this service to federal law enforcement", now you really need to be concerned. The feds don't do the NSA spying, the contractors do, actually. Federal hiring requires bonus points for being disabled, one purple eye, Native American ancestors, etc.. and it's really difficult to actually hire the right person for the job since the skills don't matter as much as politically-correct points on the application. The contractors don't have that problem.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 1 month ago
      From the Article:
      "Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Post that this technology has been in progress since 9/11, and that both state and federal governments are funding it.

      “This is something that’s been building since September 11,” Lynch said. “First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it.”

      The Post reported that Fresno’s police department is one of the first in the country to test the Beware software, which is housed in a “Real Time Crime Center” which cost an estimated $600,000."

      So it looks like your Federal Contractors are all over it.
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    • Posted by  $  HeroWorship 3 years, 1 month ago
      They are all over it. Private data mining is all the rage - and the technology is impressive. I was offered an opportunity to sell some of my software ideas to CIA for this reason. It chilled me.
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  • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 3 years, 1 month ago
    The biggest problem with "pre-crime" in Minority Report is that you were punished as if you had actually committed the crime. Had they simply intervened and defused the situation it would be more reasonable -- and not a very interesting story.
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    • Posted by khalling 3 years, 1 month ago
      intervened in what exactly? If you are a member of a violent gang-that's enough to implicate you right there. but not necessarily that you have a prior. what if it was a drug conviction? what if the girlfriend has a vendetta? what if you showed pics on FB of you with your new firearm and then there are a bunch of comments where you let off steam politically? I cannot tell you the number of people I know who say how careful the are on the internet. Probably a good policy-but not 1st Amendment kind of thinking
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      • Posted by scojohnson 3 years, 1 month ago
        Well, lets be honest here, Fresno is a pretty small town in the middle of the central valley, but it has a high hispanic immigrant population, and a lot of gang issues actually. It's also dirt-poor, $600,000 in the government IT world is so small that no one would bid on it... we won't touch something for less than $5 million for example, it's not worth our time (being completely honest). $600k is something that some local PC/IT guy would bid on - 2 guys with a truck kind of thing.

        I think it's just a Dept of Homeland Security grant to test whether it works in law enforcement. Probably not much more than a web interface with a hacked-together app and a Google Search Device setup to scrape Facebook & whatever for whatever name they put in.

        The only thing this does beyond what you can do yourself is probably stores the searches by whatever names of pre-existing convicts/felons/suspects they have, stores the results so if they are deleted from Facebook or whatever they still have them, and re-runs for updates every 24 hours or something with specific keywords & whatever.

        This isn't hacking encrypted communications... this is just an automated tool for looking at what is out there in plane view.

        If I was going to build something like this, I'd do:
        1.) Scrape for the names of interest, and look for "check-ins", "Status updates with an address or location, etc." Or "person A is at x restaurant with Person B". If Person A is who I am interested in, I'd take that tag, and record Person B as a new record if not already there. If there, create a linked relationship between the 2.

        2.) I'd also look at location references and match up who else is at the same place at the same time... if Person A is at a pub on a corner at 11 pm at night, I'd be interested in B/C/D/E/F as well and slot them as a "one time / same place". Next time the same place / same time with C & F, I'm going to assume C & F know & hang out with my subject - Person A and that B/D/E are probably just coincidence.

        Merge that with the SOMS database, etc.. and another convenience - a snitch gives a name as a suspect for a crime, but it's a first-time offender so there are no pictures, search Facebook - obviously, there is going to be a lot of John Smiths, but if you have the relationships already seen before like I described above, you have a fair shot at a photo of the suspect.

        This isn't very high tech stuff... this is pretty low-end to be honest.

        The other usefulness would be when someone skips bail, parole violations, and our 'early release program' in California where we basically let go of non-violent felons within days of sentencing because there isn't any room in prison for them. These people are always homeless, couch-surfing, etc... for the parole officers to track them down, they need to talk to friends/acquaintances, etc.
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        • Posted by khalling 3 years, 1 month ago
          "I think it's just a Dept of Homeland Security grant to test whether it works in law enforcement. Probably not much more than a web interface with a hacked-together app and a Google Search Device setup to scrape Facebook & whatever for whatever name they put in. "
          THIS. a direct 4th Amendment violation and a 1st Amendment violation. the govt can not go looking you up, tracking you down-EVEN WITH PUBLIC INFORMATION until they suspect you of a crime already committed. the fact people do not know this and do not expect this as part of their privacy blows me the hell away
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          • Posted by scojohnson 3 years, 1 month ago
            I'm not saying I like it, I'm describing how I would do it.

            So, the reason why that really isn't the case is because a lot of things on social media default to 'public' security settings unless you change them to friends/self/specific people, etc.

            If a police officer pulls you over for speeding and is walking up to your window and sees a dead body in the back seat, it is in plain-view and it is completely valid for evidence collection and arrest. If its in your trunk, unless he smells the body rotting and knows what it is, or sees drugs on the dashboard and has probable cause to search the vehicle, it's probably not admissible.

            The difference is what is the plain view. If you are posting a video of holding a woman as a sexual slave and raping/murdering her on youtube, it is most certainly in plain view and very admissible.

            Where the difference is, invading your smart phone for geo location logging information, or something similar that is not in plain view of a publicly-accessible medium. The difference is if you have an "expectation of privacy" or not. Students in a high school for example do not have reasonable expectation of privacy of what is in their locker because they usually sign a statement that the locker is the school's property and it can be searched with or without cause. Your car / trunk, etc., though, you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy because you are the only one with a key. Obviously, your home is always an expectation of privacy.

            There is always a way out of that, don't sell pictures of yourself selling dope on Facebook or whatever... read the 400 page privacy notice...
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            • Posted by  $  HeroWorship 3 years, 1 month ago
              Besides, gov doesn't need the original data, they can get it from any one of a dozen private companies that collect it.

              They "ought" not. And they do. They have power and cover.

              The trick is to make people hate it - so they hesitate to use it. They still will, but if they hesitate, it will only be the tall poppies that get cut down.

              Not that I am cynical about this or anything.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 1 month ago
          You're probably right that each part of the system is 'low end' as you term it, but that's the problem. When each of those 'low end' parts are combined and no one reveals the algorithms that produce the results, to be used by some of the lower educated workers of our country against it's citizens, there is no privacy or 4th Amendment for the individual left. And the system will make mistakes. From the source WaPo report:

          "Councilman Clinton J. Olivier, a libertarian-leaning Republican, said Beware was like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel and asked Dyer a simple question: “Could you run my threat level now?”

          Dyer agreed. The scan returned Olivier as a green, but his home came back as a yellow, possibly because of someone who previously lived at his address, a police official said.

          “Even though it’s not me that’s the yellow guy, your officers are going to treat whoever comes out of that house in his boxer shorts as the yellow guy,” Olivier said. “That may not be fair to me.”

          He added later: “[Beware] has failed right here with a council member as the example."

          Downplaying the impact of a system such as Beware and the idiots, with guns on the belts, that apply the results against us does none of us any good. It only leads to the loss of our individual rights and the protection of those rights. It doesn't matter to me at any level to consider what the Police need to do their jobs, it only matters to me what it takes to protect the individual rights of man.
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          • Posted by scojohnson 3 years, 1 month ago
            Or maybe the councilman has a kid that has an arrest record... and that came back yellow, just didn't want to embarrass the guy. Or yellow may just mean firearms present (lawfully owned). If responding to a domestic violence call, knowing there are firearms present is probably useful information.

            I don't disagree, I'm just saying that for $600k, you are not talking realtime facial recognition with 1500 cameras around the town.

            In the example you gave, I fail to see the difference in how the officer would respond with the tools and procedures they have now - they would look up the individual's arrest record from the laptop in their car, they would check California DoJ for firearms registered at the address, and the individual doesn't have a record they would look at previous incidents at the address in records (and catch that yellow probably).

            It might have been handy for San Bernardino when the jihadis are professing ISIS allegiance on Facebook before taking off to shoot up the Christmas party...
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            • Posted by 3 years, 1 month ago
              But you're still missing the point. BEWARE at a cost of $600K is not the sole system. It appears to be the system that searches all the other system, and with an unknown algorithm, determines and and assigns a 'threat' level to the call.

              The arrest record of a subject or his son is no ones business--maybe his conviction record is, but not just his arrest record. Guns in the house--a cop should assume that every house in the nation has guns, and act accordingly in a professional, non threatening manner. Previous incidents at the address then calls into play previous acts by previous residents, not necessarily the current one.

              And whether the system could 'probably' be helpful or 'might have been handy' is irrelevant when considering the loss of individual rights and the protections afforded them.

              If I look outside my door and see a cop that's being calm and professional--that's one thing. If I look out the door and see several with their guns drawn acting nervous and itchy--that's another. In this current environment, one of the most dangerous situations a citizen faces is a Police interaction. 2015, 2012 citizens dead by police vs 40 some police.

              I don't want their job being easier or safer. I want them to be trained to be calm, courteous, and professional and only reacting as proper rights protecting laws allow them to, to the situation that is currently playing out and not a previous one or a screw-up in data coding or any other weather vane. I want them approaching my home and me as I would approach a stranger in real life.
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            • Posted by  $  edweaver 3 years, 1 month ago
              One of the other dangers with a system like this is that it always starts somewhere and build onto it. ( No facial recognition now but coming in the future, at additional cost to the taxpayers.)

              It also builds acceptance both by people and governmental units. I was elected to county government for 4 years and I can't begin to count the number of times I heard board members say, "what are the rest of the counties doing". If someone else was doing it we better be too. Most freedoms that have been lost in this country started somewhere and spread across the country. Just saying.
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      • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 3 years, 1 month ago
        Well, that's the trick isn't it? To justify intervening you would have to have a high degree of certainty that an actual violent act was going to occur. In the movie they thought they were but sometimes they were wrong when one of the precogs disagreed -- the minority report.

        Clearly our ability to predict violent acts is no where near that good. But what would we do if it were? If we were over 95% certain that violence was going to occur would stopping it be justified?

        Of course punishing people for what they didn't do is right out -- but that was necessary for a movie.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 1 month ago
          William; From the Article:

          "“It’s trying to forecast based on maybe your past behavior, or what is seen in your social media – a change in behavior or a change in the things you’re posting about,” Smith said. “They say ‘maybe this person is going to perpetrate a crime in the future,’ and then they want prevention from police officers.”

          The problem I have is that the individuals sent out to do the 'intervention and/or prevention' are not always the 'brightest bulbs in the closet'. We already have way too many 'botched' pre-dawn raids on wrong houses, wrong subjects, etc. Add this system in and what do we have--another easy as pie way to get around Constitutional Probable Cause, and increased ways to 'justify' mistakes.
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          • Posted by freedomforall 3 years, 1 month ago
            Exactly right, Zen.
            Taxpayers and voters have given in to more and more police funding, federal, local, and state, in the name of law and order. In return we have a police state that ignores the Bill of Rights and entraps and blames innocent people in order to create the statistics for more funding.
            Today's police are not the local police of the early 20th century who mostly cared about the community they patrol and live in. Many believe they are under siege by the people they are supposed to be protecting.
            This invasion of privacy is unconstitutional and despicable.
            The origination of the problem goes back to the end of prohibition when FDR decided to maintain the federal police force that was created to enforce prohibition. They should have been fired and the G-men should never again have darkened the doors of Americans, much less kicked them down wearing masks.
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        • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 1 month ago
          I would argue that there is no way to justify actual preventative incarceration. Our entire judicial system is built around looking at the past and what actually happened. I can think of no system of judgement more perilous than attempting to predict the future - especially when one's freedom is at stake. Why? Because it is impossible to predict change. The major flaw in the argument for preemptive incarceration is that it assumes a static trajectory based on past course - it completely ignores the notion of self-determination.
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          • Posted by 3 years, 1 month ago
            The gov't has been doing 'preventive incarceration' since sometime in the 80's for some sexual crimes, continued imprisonment after completion of sentence.

            We now live in a state of 'preventive surveillance' and spying since the 90's.
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  • Posted by minorwork 3 years, 1 month ago
    Huh, pre-crime strategies are in place, have been for decades. Does enforcement pay closer attention to churches to catch drunk drivers?
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    • Posted by 3 years, 1 month ago
      But this one is individualized.
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      • Posted by minorwork 3 years, 1 month ago
        Individualized attention to those with previous DUI's is no different now. They are known and justly get the most attention.

        Which areas in a city such as Chicago need some specific refinings that analysis of previous offenders AND their Social network communications can indicate many things about to happen from a flash shoplifting mob to what conversations of who is gone to a funereal out of town as a possible casing of house to rob, etc., etc.. Nothing new, more refinement.
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