Police in California are using a type of software that is supposed to enable them to calculate the “pre-crime” threat score of a certain individual. The software, titled 'Beware,' is a program that considers variables like arrest reports, property records, and even consider your social media content. While police state enthusiasts see nothing wrong with the program, others see the potential for privacy invasions, coupled with a worrisome lack of public oversight which might lead to the potential for abuse with the program.
This isn't the first time that we have seen a move in the direction toward pre-crime policing, the trend increasingly leans in that direction as more police departments continue to rely on technological advances to assist them with a predictable policing approach. And those who value a more sensible approach, one which protects individual privacy and promotes human decency and liberty, are increasingly being viewed as the enemy.
When it comes to the Beware software there are some inefficiencies, as the program itself isn't able to judge the intent of an individual based on the information it gathers from various outlets. But without knowing the intent, it tries to forecast a prediction. “Maybe [based on] your past behavior, or what is seen in your social media, change in behavior or a change in the things you're posting about,” said Derek Smith, the Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives at the National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College.
Fundingand creation for this program dates back to September 11 and we can expect to see that an increasing number of police departments are going to be employing this procedure when they want to determine threat scores. The 'Beware' program works like those with respect to NSA spying, which seek to learn and predict your “pattern of life” and through this they can learn a lot about an individual. This method promotes a surveillance approach that will sift through vast amounts of data (most often without a search warrant) in order to understand a subject's habits and it can therefore then predict future actions.
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