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DHS Goes Ahead With 'Pre-Crime' Detection Project 438

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-warn-tom-cruise dept.
suraj.sun tips news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun testing its project to predict future crimes on members of the public. The Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) project 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 movements, body heat changes, and breathing patterns." A field test was performed at a large venue earlier this year, and documents recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request indicate that testing is proceeding on other members of the public as well. "It's not clear whether these people were informed that they're participating in a FAST study."
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DHS Goes Ahead With 'Pre-Crime' Detection Project

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  • Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Friday October 07, 2011 @11:41AM (#37639536) Homepage Journal
    would make nazi weep.
  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday October 07, 2011 @11:46AM (#37639634) Journal

    In the future this will be looked back on as being as stupid as McCarthyism. Looking for terrorists under every bed and around every corner, monitoring people's bodies for signs of terrorist intent...the terrorists have won beyond their wildest dreams. And if we examine Pearl Harbor as precedent, none of us will live to see the damage undone.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday October 07, 2011 @11:46AM (#37639646)

    So what they're doing is taking variables that are innocent and legal (changing the pitch of one's voice is not an inherently criminal act), and using it to justify increased surveillance of that individual. And naturally, everyone will be okay with this because "only criminals have anything to hide".

    Everyone forgets, of course, that you don't need to be watched for very long before you break a law. It's so hopelessly complex that even lawyers, who spend several years learning about it, are unable to avoid being ensnared against a determined law enforcement effort. If they want you, they will get you. So basically, this system is selecting people to turn into criminals. There is no preventative value here... increased surveillance on anyone will eventually yield evidence that can be used for criminal prosecution.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Friday October 07, 2011 @11:52AM (#37639742)
    No, I think if you go down this road then there is no future.
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:04PM (#37639958)

    I have a crime predictor that boasts better than 99.9% accuracy. It always returns "not a criminal."

    Seriously, in order for utterly dystopian concept to have any benefits, you'd need a false alarm rate much lower than 0.1%. Even at .01%, for anti-terrorism applications the ratio of false alarms to actual terrorists would be something like 10,000 to 1 -- assuming it had a 100% detection accuracy, which is of course preposterous.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:13PM (#37640090)

    Perhaps, but how was his accuracy? It doesn't matter if I know there to be an alien in the Senate if I accuse 90 Senators that aren't aliens I'd be just a delusional crackpot. Same goes for McCarthy, when there's little concern for accuracy you might as well just be randomly arresting people.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick @ g m a i l .com> on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:19PM (#37640178)

    What is interesting is that the U.S. can't afford teachers to educate their children, or health care to heal the sick, but it can spend money on pie in the sky security stuff.

    Gotta protect ourselves from the people at any cost.
    Why?
    Because we are shitting on them in a big way and they're getting riled.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smallpond (221300) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:30PM (#37640310) Homepage Journal

    As a culture, we find that the most appropriate treatment of people who disagree with the government is to isolate them and help them, forcibly. We also find that they are not "wrong" and don't need to be punished, but require help. I don't readily see how an act of violence in this case is a critical point where we force help on the unwilling. So, why not force it earlier and prevent the violent acts?

    FTFY

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday October 07, 2011 @12:57PM (#37640700)

    People who are nervous often are hiding something.

    Warning: Pointer to NULL reference.

    Every police officer will profile the people around them, and they should.

    Error: select '*' from 'personnel' returned too many results. Warning: join of 'officer' and 'people' objects may cause undesired behavior.

    That is how they reduce the signal-to-noise ratio.

    Warning: Bad analogy in line 4.

    There are lots of people out there, and since you can't really be expected to casually see the criminals in the act...

    Compiler warning: Statement will always evaluate as true.

    you need to profile them in order to pick out people who are likely to commit crimes.

    Error in logic syntax: Affirmation of the consequent.

    The TSA is actually an example of what happens when you don't: you end up strip searching 90 year old ladies taking away their walkers (profiling works in the other direction too.)

    Error in logic syntax: Affirmation of the consequent.

    The trick is to look for people who are about to commit a major crime, and catch them in the act

    Warning: This statement will never evaluate. (off topic) Additional errors were encounted, further processing of stupid_comment.c aborted.

  • Re:Minority Report (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:04PM (#37640784) Homepage

    If you've pissed off the military enough for them to launch a rocket at you, being a citizen isn't a concern.

    So say you're Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich or Cindy Sheehan, all of whom have definitely pissed off the military quite a bit by advocating significantly reducing their funding or ordering them to stop engaging the enemy. Some of those military guys might think it's OK to launch a rocket at them to eliminate the problem of anti-military activity in the US. Does them all being US citizens make it a concern? Do you still see no problem?

    The whole point of having a court system is that we can't trust the executive branch to decide who's a Good Guy and who's a Bad Guy.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:10PM (#37640882) Journal

    In other news, Biden Blames Bush for the program, Reid blames Republican Congress, and only Kucinich and Ron Paul protest loud enough to be heard.

    And people think we need MORE government.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cyber-vandal (148830) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:27PM (#37641154) Homepage

    We need better government, not tiny powerless government or corporate controlled government.

  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. (939033) on Friday October 07, 2011 @01:32PM (#37641238) Homepage

    Pearl Harbor began the best thing to happen to the US in the last century, the Second World War. The combination of economic expansion and military supremacy which resulted dwarfed the costs such that they were trivial by comparison.

    That's easily said by someone who, most likely, has never even heard a shot fired in anger. However, for one of the U.S. soldiers, like my father-in-law, who spent time sitting in a German P.O.W. during WWII, I daresay the costs were anything but trivial. I think that my father-in-law would probably agree that he did what needed to be done to protect liberty, and as such, the cost of his service was worth what it produced, but I seriously doubt that he would say that "economic expansion" or "military supremacy" (meaning, in this context, "becoming a world superpower", as opposed to "stopping the advance of a very, very evil regime") was worth even a single minute of the time he spent as a prisoner of war.

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