MINORITY REPORT | Police scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’

A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.

Yet new data-mining technologies can now provide police with vast amounts of surveillance information and could radically increase police power. Policing can be increasingly targeted at specific people and neighborhoods — with potentially serious inequitable effects.

One speaker at a recent national law enforcement conference compared future police work to Minority Report, the Tom Cruise film set in 2054 Washington, where a “PreCrime” unit has been set up to stop murders before they happen.

  • Raymond Hietapakka

    Cops are for the most part, pretty stupid. If they possessed half a brain, they’d be doing something else, right? WTF do they know about Psychology? If the Police Force was the medical profession, they’d still be using leeches and bloodletting…

    • The software does the work for them.

      • Xavier

        And we’re acclimatized (see what I did there?) to accepting computer projections as fact, thanks to Mann Made Global Warming.

        • Frau Katze

          Don’t get me started…

      • Minicapt

        Who writes the software …?


    • Frau Katze

      They vary. They are in a position of power and some do abuse it (but not all). This does sound both useful and scary at once

      Crunching all the database information in a matter of seconds, the Beware algorithm then assigns a score and “threat rating” to a person — green, yellow or red. It sends that rating to a requesting officer.

      For example, working off a home address, Beware can send an officer basic information about who lives there, their cell phone numbers, whether they have past convictions and the cars registered to the address. Police have had access to this information before, but Beware makes it available immediately.