DHS Testing "Minority Report"-Like Pre-Crime Unit
October 7, 2011 4:22 PM
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(Source: Amblin Entertainment)
An excerpt from the DHS document
FAST pre-crime unit is used to collect information such as gender, age, and ethnicity
Someone call Tom Cruise, because
is taking a leap from fiction to reality -- except the real version, which is currently being tested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, doesn't depend on human psychics called precogs, but rather a screening facility with set algorithms.
This new "pre-crime" detection facility was discovered via a June 2010
that was acquired by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). The document states that information is currently collected and retained on "members of the public" as part of the pre-crime system, which is called Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST).
FAST is made up of algorithms that use
factors including gender,
age, ethnicity, heart rate, body movements, occupation, voice pitch changes, body heat fluctuations and breathing patterns to identify clues as to whether the individual(s) will commit a crime in the future.
The idea behind FAST is to prevent crimes from happening before individuals even have a chance to commit them based on the factors listed above. It is able to do this through the use of sensors that collect audio recordings, video images and psychophysiological measurements.
"The department's Science and Technology Directorate has conducted preliminary research in operational settings to determine the feasibility of using non-invasive physiological and
behavioral sensor technology
and observational techniques to detect signs of stress, which are often associated with intent to do harm," said Peter Boogaard, the deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. "The FAST program is only in the preliminary stages of research and there are no plans for acquiring or deploying this type of technology at this time."
According to FAST program manager Robert Middleton Jr., there is currently a trial for the FAST program where DHS employees are the guinea pigs. A certain group of employees can give permission to partake in a more "rigorous" part of the trial.
So far, a FAST field test has been launched in an unknown area in the northeast U.S. A new field trial is expected to involve the public, according to another DHS document obtained by EPIC. This other document states that members of the public with experience in food service will be asked to attend a one-day VIP event, where some individuals will be asked to act normally while others will be asked to act as if they're going to act with mal-intent. FAST will be left to determine the difference. It's unclear whether the participants realize they're in a FAST study.
The second document obtained by EPIC also states that FAST could be used at security checkpoints in the future such as border crossings and airports.
FAST has some worried about the accuracy of the system, and the consequences if it falsely targets a member of the public. Also, privacy is another worrisome factor with these sensors capturing images and audio recordings.
"If it were deployed against the public, it would be very problematic," said Ginger McCall, who said security checkpoints at places like the airport are already stressful enough due to
handsy TSA employees
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RE: Who wants to bet...
10/10/2011 12:59:30 PM
As much as I agree with your sentiment, at least one of those is sensationalist. The "ATF audio: Border agent was collateral damage" piece, specifically, leaves out a lot of very important details. The conversations in the piece are between a gun dealer, Howard, and an ATF agent. Howard followed the law and informed the ATF of potential (or downright obvious) straw purchases. The ATF told him to let them continue buying guns, and that they weren't letting the guns get into Mexico. After a while, Howard realized what was going on and tried to get his contacts with the ATF to incriminate themselves in these recorded conversations. Howard is the one who calls Terry (the slain border agent) "collateral damage", again to try to get the agent to trip up. The agent simply says "MMhmm", not really damning stuff there.
At any rate, this piece never mentions that Howard is essentially the "good guy" in this mess, trying to cover himself by getting the ATF to admit their wrongdoing. Of course CBS, being somewhat left-leaning, would never paint ANY gun dealer a "good guy". I for one think Howard is telling the truth and is genuinely a good guy. He didn't want these guns to end up in Mexico. He took the steps that he
was supposed to
to prevent it, but the ATF told him they were stopping the guns when in fact they were letting them walk. He had conerns about selling to these purchasers, but the ATF told him to keep selling to them.
The government claims that Fast and Furious was intended to somehow cripple the drug cartels. I really don't see how it would do that. I can see, however, the fallout (Terry's death) might sway people to support more gun control legislation, which is sad because this whole mess was the result of dealers being told to
the laws we already have. I believe that was the intent all along, though - to demonize gun dealers and make those weapons look evil in order to get tighter gun legislation pushed through. The real collateral damage is the Mexican people, in my opinion. I bet that for every US citizen killed by guns that the ATF told dealers to sell to straw purchasers and let walk, there are dozens if not hundreds of Mexicans killed by them as well. It's sickening, in my opinion.
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