Counterinsurgency principles are being incorporated on local policing levels.
Public information widely accessible and shared on today’s web, greater insights now possible into crowd actions by citizens and non-state actors such as large protests and cyber activism. Efforts to predict occurrences, specific timeframes, and locations of such actions before they occur based on public data collected from over 300,000 open content web sources in 7 languages, from all over the world, ranging from mainstream news to government publications to blogs and social media.
Using natural language processing, event information is extracted from content such as type of event, what entities are involved and in what role, sentiment and tone, and the occurrence time range of the event discussed. Twitter statements about a future date from the time of posting prove particularly indicative. Considering in particular the case of the 2013 Egyptian coup d’etat. The study validates and quantifies the common intuition that data on social media (beyond mainstream news sources) are able to predict major events.
Chicago PD warning citizens about crimes they might commit. Predictive computing can then either target specific areas or specific people who might be in need of some extra law enforcement attention. Except as we’ve noted repeatedly, these programs are only as valuable as the data they use. On the other end of that equation lives can be dramatically impacted by law enforcement holding what they believe is “proof” that you’ll soon be up to no good.
Growing concerns about efforts in Chicago to use predictive analytical systems to generate a “heat list“. Based on a Yale sociologist’s studies and use an algorithm created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology. People who find themselves on the list get personal visits from law enforcement warning them that they better be nice. The result is a collision between law enforcement that believes in the righteousness of these efforts and those who worry that they could, as an EFF rep states, create “an environment where police can show up at anyone’s door at any time for any reason.”
Law enforcement and the code creators, as you’d expect, argue that it’s only the bad guys that need to worry about a system like this:
Commander Steven Caluris, who also works on the CPD’s predictive policing program, put it a different way. “If you end up on that list, there’s a reason you’re there.”
Another concern bubbling up in Chicago is that the programs are effectively using racial profiling to target already-troubled areas where crime naturally would be greater due to poverty, without anybody bothering to perform a deeper analysis of why those areas might be having problems (aka targeting symptoms, not disease). Calculating future movements of highly complicated emotional human beings is a bridge too far.
Imagine a future where law enforcement (not always known for nuanced thinking or honest crime stat record keeping) starts using their belief in the infallibility of mathematics as the underpinnings for bad behavior, with the horrible experiences of the falsely accused dismissed as anecdotal experiences.
LAPD and Southern California police, expanding their use of mass surveillance technology such as intelligent video analytics, digital biometric identification and military-pedigree software for analyzing and predicting crime. Information on the identity and movements of millions of Southern California residents is being collected and tracked. Now, LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff are monitoring the whereabouts of residents whether they have committed a crime or not. The biggest surveillance net is license plate reading technology that records your car’s plate number as you pass police cruisers equipped with a rooftop camera, or as you drive past street locations where such cameras are mounted.
Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California are suing LAPD and the Sheriff’s Department, demanding to see a sample week’s worth of that data in order to get some idea of what cops are storing in a vast and growing, regionally shared database. LAPD hopes to greatly expand its mass surveillance: The city traffic-camera system — 460 cameras set above major roads and intersections by the Department of Transportation — which now are used to monitor traffic jams, could be folded into LAPD’s surveillance network.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander insists, “It is vital that the LAPD have instant split-feed access to the 460 traffic cameras … and be able to review this data to catch suspected criminals and protect our community.” “predictive policing” technique, introduced by former Chief William Bratton to anticipate where future crime would hit, is actually a sophisticated system developed not by cops but by the U.S. military, based on “insurgent” activity in Iraq and civilian casualty patterns in Afghanistan.
Records obtained from the U.S. Army Research Office show that UCLA professors Jeff Brantingham and Andrea Bertozzi told the Army that their predictive techniques “will provide the Army with a plethora of new data-intensive predictive algorithms for dealing with insurgents and terrorists abroad.” In a later update to the Army, after they had begun working with LAPD, they wrote, “Terrorist and insurgent activities have a distinct parallel to urban crime.”
LAPD sent a team to Israel, to visit drone manufacturers and Nice Systems, a cyber-intelligence firm. that can “intercept and instantly analyze video, audio and text-based communications.”
Ana Muniz, an activist and researcher who works with the Inglewood-based Youth Justice Coalition, says, “Any time that a society’s military and domestic police force become more and more similar, where the lines have become blurred, it’s not a good story.”
The military is supposed to “defend the territory from so-called external enemies,” Muniz says. “That’s not the mission of the police force — they’re not supposed to look at the population as an external enemy.”
2010, LAPD announced a partnership with Motorola Solutions to monitor the Jordan Downs public housing project with surveillance cameras. Then-chief Bratton called it the start of an ambitious buildout to use remote “biometric identification,” which can track individuals citywide.
In a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, Bratton claimed that CCTV “will enable police to respond more effectively to criminal conduct,” and that “facial-recognition technologies will be used to enable law enforcement to more effectively enforce the gang injunction already in place.”
January 2013, LAPD’s deployment of more than a dozen live-monitored CCTV cameras in the Topanga and Foothill divisions in the San Fernando Valley. Cameras equipped with facial-recognition software, purportedly programmed to ID people named on “hot lists” for having open warrants or because they were documented as active gang members.
Early 2012, RACR opened. Operated by LAPD’s Tactical Technology Section, these cameras feed facial imagery to LAPD’s Real-time Analysis and Critical Response Center (RACR), a digital “war room” that also creates up-to-the-minute crime mapping. Raytheon, which last year sold $13 billion in weapons to the Department of Defense, has a major contract with LAPD to outfit patrol vehicles with video cameras.
“Smart video” programs can use facial recognition to ID people by comparing live CCTV footage to mugshot databases built from facial scans collected by police using mobile devices or during bookings. Computer programs also can learn “acceptable behavior” by humans — such as pedestrian or vehicular traffic patterns — and alert cops when something “abnormal”‘ occurs.
LAPD already is using a sophisticated intelligence-analysis program from Silicon Valley firm Palantir, which is partially funded by In-Q-Tel, the Central Intelligence Agency’s venture capital firm. Palantir sells data-mining and analysis software to the NSA and other intelligence agencies.
LAPD did not respond to requests for comment about the Palantir intelligence program. But Peter Bibring, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California, has seen at least one Suspicious Activity Report from LAPD in which investigators used Palantir’s intelligence-analysis software to delve into “license plates, leads and suspect profiles.”
(Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, are citizen- or police-generated tips about potential terrorist activities; they are controversial because they rely on the “reasonable indication” standard for investigating, rather than the tougher crime standard of “reasonable suspicion.”)
“We have to be really critical about the built-in assumptions made when … databases are created for ‘public safety,’ yet youth as young as 9 and 10 years old are put in these secret databases, automatically labeled as gang members.”
Spreading of intelligence gathering by local police, using the lower standard of “reasonable indications” instead of “reasonable suspicion,” thus fueling “a culture of suspicion and fear” in many of L.A.’s nonwhite communities.
Combing no-knock warrants with a pre-crime list, adding swat teams and Constitutional restraints while multiplying a lot of military force. Seems to me that if the public were to make “a list” based on actions and past homicides most law enforcement institutions and government officials would rank pretty high on the “heat list”. This is a very slippery slope they’ve decided to descend and need to be careful or they may just end up being on the wrong side of it. If that list includes citizens being shot by police in their own homes in the middle of the night, those computers might just be onto something. Is the Governor of Illinois at the top of the Pre-Crime department’s heat list? Thanks to grants to small cities and towns, cities have military force available to carry out their threats. Thousands of false positives are bound to occur! Violation of civil, constitutional and statutory rights is a crime; how many police officers would end up on the list if the algorithm were expanded?
Sources: http://mdwardlab.com/conflict_forecasting/home , http://www.laweekly.com/los-angeles/forget-the-nsa-la-cops-spy-on-millions-of-innocent-folks/Content?oid=4473467 , http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140220/09312226296/minority-report-chicagos-new-police-computer-predicts-crimes.shtml , http://www.impactlab.net/2014/02/21/twitter-can-predict-major-events-study/ ,