George Orwell’s world of 1984 has eventually caught up with the present.
The Big Brother state is a reality now, ready to weed out undesirable rebels. The US police are now labeling people according to their ‘Threat Score,’ a software which identifies how dangerous people are to the authorities.
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Police officials say the threat-scoring software like Beware, which is being used in Fresno, California, provides critical information that can aid in situations like uncovering terrorists, thwarting mass shootings and for ensuring the safety of the public and officers, according to The Washingon Post.
However, activists and civil libertarians say the systems represent an intrusion on privacy and have been implemented with little public oversight.
The Post reported that during protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, planes with cameras filmed the unrest and authorities in Oregon are facing a federal investigation after using software to monitor Black Lives Matter hashtags.
‘This is something that’s been building since September 11,’ Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Post.
‘First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement.
‘It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it.’
The Fresno Police Department is one of the first in the country to test the threat-scoring software, Beware, according to The Post.
The software works by automatically running the addresses and providing officers with residents’ names before scanning them against a host of publicly-available data as officers respond to calls.
It operates similar to how a bank would run a credit check, scouring billions of data points such as property records, arrest records, commercial databases and social media postings.
It then generates a color-coded threat level for each person or address in green, yellow or the highest being red, according to The Post.
However, the way in which the software calculates the threat scores is only known by its maker, Intrado.
According to the maker’s promotional materials, the threat-scoring software could reveal to the user that a resident of a particular address is for example, a war veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder or who posted some concerning messages on social media about his war experiences.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the software and its Real Time Crime Center gives them a better sense of what they are dealing with, as officers usually are operating on little or inaccurate information.
‘Our officers are expected to know the unknown and see the unseen,’ Dyer told The Post.
‘They are making split-second decisions based on limited facts. The more you can provide in terms of intelligence and video, the more safely you can respond to calls.’
Fresno police offered a glimpse inside their Real Time Crime Center – a cutting edge, $600,000 control room and has reportedly become the model for high-tech policing across the country.
In the last 10 years, similar centers have been opened in cities including Houston, New York and Seattle, according to The Post.
Fresno’s crime center, which runs 24 hours, has monitors that pan about 200 police cameras across the city; officers are able to scour a private database with more than 2 billion recorded scans of car license plates across the country; and they also have access to a system called ShotSpotter that can triangulate the location from which a gunshot was fired using microphones hung around the city.
There is also a software program called Media Sonar that scans social media in search of illicit activity, according to The Post.
Police said access to the all the information is crucial to solving crimes and noted that the license plate database was key in aiding them solve a murder case in September.
However, some find the surveillance in the Real Time Crime Center troubling.
A Fresno civil rights lawyer, Rob Nabarro, told The Post that outsourcing a threat posed by an individual to software is likely problematic and that it is concerning that only Intrado knows how the threat scores are tallied.
‘It’s a very unrefined, gross technique,’ Nabarro said of the way the scores are tallied.
‘A police call is something that can be very dangerous for a citizen.’
An Intrado representative told The Post in a statement that the software program ‘works to quickly provide [officers] with commercially available, public information that may be relevant to the situation and may give them a greater level of awareness.’
Dyer said that the scores do not generate a particular response from police and that they are used as guides by operators to look more closely into a person’s background for information that could be useful to an officer on scene, according to the newspaper.
Quotes below have been taken from Henri Locard’s Pol Pot’s Little Red Book:
The Sayings of Angkar (Khmer Rouge Communist Party of Kampuchea- Responsible for genocide of millions of citizens- Ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979)
Report everything to the Angkar!
Secretly observe the slightest deeds and gestures of everyone around you!11
Stick to the four precepts: do not know, do not hear, do not see, do not speak.12
The Angkar has [the many] eyes of a pineapple.13
Your love for the Angkar must be boundless.14
The Angkar is the mother and father of all young children, as well as all adolescent boys and girls.15
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