2054, Social Media to predict the crime: it is a good idea?

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On January 30, 2020, the Brennan Center for Justice he sent a letter to the police department of Los Angeles, which began:

This is a request under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”), Cal. Gov't Code §§ 6250-6270, on behalf of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law (“Brennan Center”). The Brennan Center seeks information on the use of social media to be part of the police department of Los Angeles to collect information about individuals, groups, and activities, as described below, such as “social media monitoring”.

If you want to discover the terrifying technological details that have been revealed, click here. A simple summary, instead, here's the thing: a technology startup called Voyager Labs claims to help the forces of law and order as the LAPD to “leverage social media to help resolve and predict crime.” Yes, you just read the phrase “provide for the crime.”

“By extracting the information from every part of the various profiles on social media of an individual, Voyager helps the police to investigate and oversee the people rebuilding their entire digital lives, public and private,” explain Johana Bhuiyan and Sam Levin in an article in the Guardian of the 17 November 2021. “By relying on artificial intelligence, the company claims its software can decipher the meaning of human behavior online, and can determine whether the subjects have already committed a crime, they may commit a crime or to adhere to certain ideologies”.

Among many other tactics invasive data collection Voyager:

  • Storage of friends and post on social media and deleted a person targeted
  • Monitor the contacts of the person and all his / her activities on social media
  • Conducting sentiment analysis in real-time
  • Investigation on the “ideological solidarity”
  • Analyze the (presumably) the private messages on social media platforms
  • Create fake accounts to connect with groups or individuals “suspected”

If this sounds like a bad science fiction movie, well...

Minority Report is set in 2054. Anyway, here in 2021, we are already burdened by a large part of the technology “predictive” in the film; for example:

  • Personalized ads
  • Facial recognition and optical
  • Smart home or IoT voice control
  • A car without a pilot
  • And yes... the cyber police pre-crime

It never ceases to amaze me how people give in so easily, their rights and their privacy, presumably for comfort and safety. That's why the actual battles against the mandates and tracking "digital" are crucial and relevant.

Warning spoilerneither the government nor the company that own it have never care about your best interests. You can learn to accept this reality now, or let it bring you home when you are falsely accused of a “pre-crime” that will happen in the future.

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