Software companies are selling services to police that scan publicly available information, including social media, to determine your “threat score”.
What bothers me is that I don’t see any obvious way to put a stop to this. You can pass legislation to require that certain categories of information, such as medical information, be kept confidential. But I don’t see how you can stop private companies or government agencies from correlating publicly available information and drawing conclusions from it.
If I were a police officer responding to a call, I would want all the background information I could get on people I was going to be dealing with. Ideally, this would benefit all concerned. In practice, there would likely be many false positives about threats with potential to cause over-reaction.
The most worrisome thing is the idea of assigning each citizen a “threat score” based on the judgement of some unknown person or, worse still, a computer algorithm, which determines how the person will be treated by the criminal justice system. Intrado, which sells the Beware software, says its formula for calculating the “threat score” is a trade secret.
The ability to collect information and communicate over the Internet is a great tool for human liberation. It also is a powerful tool for Big Brother.
What’s Your Threat Score? by Sarah Burris for Alternet. [added 1/14/2016]
Police Are Calculating Your Threat Level to Decide How to Treat You by Peter Van Buren for We Meant Well.
Police score threat level with surveillance software by Katie Bo Williams for The Hill.
Beware: Surveillance software police are using it to score citizens’ threat level by Ms. Smith for Network World.