Are you a PreCriminal?

pre_crimePredictive Policing has been in Atlanta since 2013…

PredPol’s website says this,

PredPol’s cloud-based software enables law enforcement agencies to better prevent crime in their communities by generating predictions on the places and times that future crimes are most likely to occur.

Dozens of communities across the US and overseas are experiencing dramatic reductions in crime thanks in large part to PredPol software technology.

Only three pieces of data are used to make predictions – type of crime, place of crime, and time of crime. No personal data is utilized in making these predictions.

That sounds pretty awesome but a bit too simplistic. Can’t a good cop do this with his gut? So where is this headed?

This paper discusses the advantages of folding in twitter feeds to enhance the analysis.

In London, the “Datathon for Social Good” came up with a model that uses cellphone data and demographics (like ethnicity, gender, socio-economics) to get crime prediction down to a single block within a larger neighborhood. (I wouldn’t want to be sitting on a stoop on that block at the wrong time!)

The information, they say, has of course been “anonymized,” but does that give them a right to use it anymore than the TSA has a right to these pictures of us? (Yes, they still collect this raw data every time you get a body scan!)


Do they keep the data? Do they discard the identified data and keep only the anonymized? Again I ask, where is this headed?

This entry was posted in police state / surveillance state, technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Are you a PreCriminal?

  1. “An intelligence which at a given instant knew all the forces acting in nature and the position of every object in the universe – if endowed with a brain sufficiently vast to make all necessary calculations – could describe with a single formula the motions of the largest astronomical bodies and those of the smallest atoms. To such an intelligence, nothing would be uncertain; the future, like the past, would be an open book.” ~ Pierre-Simon Laplace (23 Mar 1749 – 5 Mar 1827)

    • austrogirl says:

      Wow, AJ! I can’t believe I never heard that before because I have thought it! When I was a kid, I asked my father, “If you knew the position of every atom in the universe and all the laws of math and science, could you tell the future?” He was stumped. I later read Einstein’s answer was “yes” – he was a fatalist, i.e., believed in fate – but chaos theory / quantum physics says no…the observer affects the observed and some basic actions are random…in my mind, that’s the scientific basis for the possibility of free will. Einstein didn’t believe in free will and rejected quantum physics based on his fatalism not the other way around! (If I understood his biography correctly.) All that said (I just had to say it since it has puzzled me since I was a child!), I love the quote & hope to include it on the show tomorrow. Thank you!

      • Wow! That’s really cool! 🙂 Knowing what people will do in the future is the goal of precrime. Now the government has the computer power and the surveillance technology to be able to do it. Looking forward to the show tomorrow!

  2. hugh says:

    What a wealth of knowledge on this blog! And re Monica…she has offered some of her background to us over time, but she has left off one part that I detected. She must also be a highly qualified cabinet maker, which as I understand it, used to be the top grade of carpenter. I suggest that as she hits the nail directly on its head darn near every time with her analysis!

  3. William Reuter says:

    Hey Monica,
    I really enjoyed the show today and it rang a bell in my head about a video by Chris Rock titled How NOT to get your ass kicked by the police. Full of bad language but applicable to anybody living in America. I get pulled over I hand over my license, CCW permit and it’s “mom smacked polite into me” the rest of the traffic stop till the officer gets back in their car and the blue light special is over….. :0)-)

  4. No matter how beneficial and foolproof a technology is, government will twist it into an ungodly nightmare. Policing will be much better if Barney keeps that old green bullet in his shirt pocket where it belongs.

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