Posts Tagged ‘Big Brother’s technologies’

You may have a police “threat score”

January 13, 2016


Software companies are selling services to police that scan publicly available information, including social media, to determine your “threat score”.

Foreign dictatorships, as Peter Van Buren pointed out on his web log, already monitor their citizens through the Internet and assign them ratings that determine how they are treated.

bigbrotherNow private enterprise is doing the same thing in the United States, and I can only guess what the National Security Agency has been doing all along.

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.


U.S. priorities and Big Brother’s technologies

September 21, 2011

The United States lags other developed countries in high-speed Internet service, green technologies, high-speed rail, fuel-efficient cars and buildings.  But there are some fields in which we do lead—the Big Brother technologies of war and surveillance.

The United States military is attempting to create biometric IDs for the entire populations of Afghanistan and Iraq.  What other country is attempting anything this ambitious?  The United States has pioneered unmanned aerial vehicles, the predator drones, which can fly themselves and target not just a city or a house, but an individual human being.  And this is just the vanguard of a robot army which will operate on land, sea and in the air.  What other country has anything to match this?

We Americans have not lost our Yankee ingenuity.  It is just being devoted to new priorities.  Christian Caryl wrote in the New York Review of Books that the U.S. aerospace industry has ceased research and development on manned aircraft, and is devoting its entire resources to improved pilotless vehicles.  Foreign companies may get ahead civilian aircraft technology, but the United States will maintain its lead in flying killer robots.

Click on Army Reveals Afghan Biometic ID Plan and Iraqi Biometic Indentification System for background information on biometric ID.

Click on Predators and Robots at War for Christian Caryl’s excellent article in the New York Review of Books.

Click on Flying Killer Robots Over Pakistan for my earlier post on this subject, and more links.