My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: US Homeland Security quietly researches Pre-Crime - Minority Report's Source Code

Friday, October 14, 2011

US Homeland Security quietly researches Pre-Crime - Minority Report's Source Code

Ecrasez l’infamel
(Crush the infamous thing)

Voltaire, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

The traditional role of Law Enforcement and the Police is soon set to change, if the US Department of Homeland Security has its way. This as it would appear that research is ongoing into the concept of Pre-Crime as suggested in the article “Homeland Security moves forward with 'pre-crime' Detection” published October 7 2011 4:00 am PDT by Declan McCullagh, CNET News - Privacy Inc.

I must admit, when this article first surfaced on CNET News, I immediately thought of Minority Report (2002). However, as I read the article, I realized this actually sounded like another of my hair-brained ideas discussed with the same bunch of brain-dead Shurpower Engineers back in April of 2009AD while we were en route to setting generators on auto-start. So here I go again digging through the past…again I say!

First off, the Pre-Crime Initiative is, for now, being called by the acronym FAST (Future Attribute Screening Technology). The idea is blessedly simple, as I remember discussing it: the use of statistical information to create hyper-accurate profiles of members of a particular society to determine the statistical probability of criminal intent.

These profiles are based on physiological stress indicators based on the following statement by Deputy Press Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security Peter Boogaard, quote: “FAST is designed to track and monitor, among other inputs, body movements, voice pitch changes, prosody changes (alterations in the rhythm and intonation of speech), eye movement, body heat changes and breathing patterns. Occupation and Age are considered”.

Only this time, these profiles, stored in a Database, are now compared against Biometric Data gathered from the public in real time using non-invasive Data collection methodologies.

The most obvious usage is at ports of entry into a country, but as I ramble on, you may be surprised where such a package could be deployed. This as such technology to enable Pre-Crime merely requires Cameras and very sensitive microphones aka Audio-Visual Devices and algorithms that can crunch the Data generated by such Audio-Visual devices, most likely hidden.

The article above provides very little to go on but it certainly had my imagination fired up back then as to how it could be done. This as most of the Biometric indicators that indicate intent are the same as would be used by Policemen on patrol, only expressed in the form of a computer algorithm that has to crunch through millions of frames of images and audio to determine malcontent.

Certainly, such a large Database would require an AI (Artificially Intelligent) computer System with very fast specs and memory as speculated of Google’s interests in AI in my blog article entitled “Google and AI - The Matrix and Terminator Rise of the Machines” and the article “Google and AI - I Robot” to process this potential mountain of Data. Thus far, the article mentions that the Department of Homeland Security has allegedly had limited test trials among its own staff, with no mention of this testing being expanded to the wider populace or being “secretly” tested on the public.

Already, Audio-Visual Systems are used to identify known criminals via Facial Recognition Software at some of the US of A’s busiest airports in conjunction with full-body scanners to detect weapons and explosives.

Similarly, here in the Jamaica, the Ministry of Transport and Works and the NRSC (National Road and Safety Council) has plans to deploy an Audio-Visual System to enable an Automated Traffic Ticketing System as stated in my blog article entitled “NRSC to reach 300 Road Traffic Fatalities in 2011AD –  Contractor Mad Money for Automatic Traffic Ticketing System”.

This is similar to the US Pre-Crime Initiative in its design. This as potentially, the information [Audio, Video, Still Images] obtained by the Audio-Visual System for the Automated Traffic Ticketing System could be cross matched against the soon-to-come-online NIDS (National Identification System) as stated in my blog article entitled “Jamaica to adopt National Identification System - NIDS makes Caribbean Islands in the Stream” and used to identify criminals via their faces or simply their vehicle registration even when they are NOT about to commit a crime.

Hence Pre-Crime……or potential abuse by Law Enforcement? This is in addition to reducing Road and Traffic Offences. Throw in MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) into the mix as stated in my blog article entitled “MRSI and MNP - Where the Spies Are and the article entitled “MNP and MRSI - How it leads to Mobile Number Portability and Crime Eradication in Jamaica” and tracking people in real time would also be a reality.

It may be the case soon too in our most Northerly Neighbour, as by 2018AD, it will be mandatory to have all phones with GPS to enable the LBS (Location Based Services) side of Enhanced 911 Services as stated in my blog article entitled “FCC wants all phones to support GPS - Richie Rich's Enhanced 911”.

That is, if the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has its way! But this FAST, if and when it were to be deployed in the US, would certainly make many a nervous travelers.

It would thus mitigate against the effectiveness of FAST, which may detect such people as false positives, as they many not be people with criminal intent, just nervous about the increased airport security. EPIC (Electronics and Privacy Information Center) Lawyer Ginger McCall explains this obvious anecdotal assertion thus: “Especially if they're going to be rolling this out art the airport. I don't know about you, but going to an airport gives me a minor panic attack, wondering if I'm going to get groped by a TSA officer”.

Stay tuned as more information surfaces on what may be the first coming of Pre-Crime, Minority Report (2002) meets the Source Code (2011) Style!

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