The advances in technology over the years have made it much easier for the government to spy on its citizens. We know the NSA does it at the direction of the politicians in DC. We know local governments do it with equipment given to them by the federal agencies and we know they sign nondisclosure agreements to use the stuff.
We also know the government tracks cell phones and scoops up a lot of cell phone calls and it uses license plate readers to compile a lot of information disguised as a looking for bad guys mission.
These things would appear to violate our rights. We are supposed to be free people and the government does not belong sticking its nose in our business. Unless we do something wrong and are caught as a result of doing it (as opposed to being caught through illegal surveillance) we should be left alone
Now government has taken its intrusion to a new level. The police department in Fresno California uses a system that compiles a profile on people based on a number of things including criminal record, property records, and social media posts. The person is then given a score that tells the officer if you are not considered a threat, are a possible threat or are definitely a threat (those are my descriptions. The system calls you red, yellow, or green).
This has disaster written all over it. The company that developed this is the only entity that knows how it works so there is no telling how the score is derived or if there are errors in the design. How long will it be before a person’s residence returns a score that is red and officers arriving treat it as such and end up killing someone who is only watering his lawn in violation of the water ban?
I want to make it clear that I do not think the police should be using this kind of system to classify citizens and make decisions based on that. It is a violation of our privacy and it allows government to profile us according to criteria it wants. Some anti-gun moron could easily have the software provider code the system so that all gun owners are deemed a threat. It is just too open to abuse.
Now the police, well they say this is a must have. They need it to solve crimes and to serve the public. It is a “vital tool” that they need to make us safe.
Everything they need is a vital tool. We have to arm them with military gear because it is vital. We have to give them drones because it is vital. We have to give them the ability to scoop up all our cell phone calls because it is vital. Then when they abuse drones, act like they are attacking an enemy or abuse the phone information to solve crimes that were not part of the intended target we are told that if we are doing nothing wrong we should not have anything to worry about.
What is vital is the privacy, freedom and security of the people. There can be no justification for this. If you feel that the people need to give up some of their rights for security then you are sadly mistaken.
This is from the article:
In promotional materials, Intrado writes that Beware could reveal that the resident of a particular address was a war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, had criminal convictions for assault and had posted worrisome messages about his battle experiences on social media. Washington Post
How did it get all of this information? How does it know the person is a veteran and has PTSD? Did it pick up random posts from social media or is the federal government (the VA) feeding information into this thing?
This is supposed to make the reader believe that it helps the officer responding because it lets him know of the potential danger.
Does the system also score officers and look over how many complaints have been filed, how many reprimands he has gotten, how many shooting incidents, any off duty trouble, memberships in organizations, etc.? It would be helpful if the system scored the cop and called the person at the home to warn him that the cop responding has an itchy trigger finger and might blast away.
These kinds of things will eventually lead to problems (of course then the problem needs more training, more money and more surveillance) and the ones who get screwed are the citizens. Some cop will blast the veteran described above because he had the remote to the TV in his hand when he answered the door and the apologists will come out in full force, say there was a mistake, the officer feared for his life, good kill, go home nothing to see here.
Maybe if he did not have his head filled with information from Beware he might not have had a preconceived notion and he would not have been in fear for his life over a remote control.
What next America? Will we require every person who goes to a medical facility of any kind to be tested for AIDS to keep health care providers safe?
No, wait, we expect them to exercise caution with every patient.
Maybe the police Community could try that.
Never surrender, never submit.