If you are a reader of science fiction, you have likely read many stories based on a dystopian premise, where the future is terrifying, technology is out of control, and governments and large corporations control the populace through a variety of tracking and control methods.
One of the best known dystopian stories is Philip K. Dick’s The Minority Report, which Steven Spielberg made into a movie starring Tom Cruise, in which the police could predict the future actions of people and use these predictions to arrest people for the crimes before the crimes are even committed.
Unfortunately, in California, the beginning of this civil liberties nightmare appears to be occurring.
A software program called “Beware” is the scary piece of technology being used. To get an idea of how this works, take the case of a guy who is alleged to have threatened his ex-girlfriend. The Fresno, California police used to software which:
“scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social media postings.”
Now, the software found a “firearms conviction” and a “gang association” and rated this guy very dangerous. Maybe he is. What is scary, though, is that it gathers information and makes recommendations but cannot evaluate intent. Derek Smith of Excelsior College says,
“It’s trying to forecast based on maybe your past behavior, or what is seen in your social media – a change in behavior or a change in the things you’re posting about[…]. They say ‘maybe this person is going to perpetrate a crime in the future,’ and then they want prevention from police officers.”
Exactly what Philip K. Dick predicted in his story.
What brings this close to home is that some law enforcement personal, including people at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), want to classify people who believe in limited government or who have conservative Christian values or who believe in 2nd Amendment rights as potential terrorists. It is not much of a stretch to believe that they will use software like this to level an accusation against a peaceful Libertarian who would never dream or advocate pulling a Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) just because that Libertarian doesn’t trust an overreaching government.
If you thought the NSA was bad, this takes it to the next level, and, if you are involved in our modern way of life at all, it would be difficult to not be noticed by this software and the law enforcement officials using it.
So this begs the question: Do you think it’s possible to completely disappear off of the radar from software such as this? If so, how? Tell us your thoughts below.