Pre-Crime Systems Now Actively Monitoring the Internet: “The Computer Algorithm Learns the Pattern and Produces a Prediction”
April 23rd, 2014
With revelations that the National Security Agency has collected some 20 trillion phone calls and emails via an expansive nationwide surveillance network, most Americans have already come to the realization that everything they do is being monitored.
But many shrug off Big Brother’s prying eyes by suggesting that, since they aren’t doing anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about.
That may have been true several years ago, but the digital surveillance systems of today are far more advanced than most people understand. No longer are these machines simply recording the data and storing them in some historical archive to be pulled at a later date should the government ever have reason to take a closer look at your personal life.
The next generation of systems are being used to actively monitor your digital interactions, surfing habits, conversations and daily sentiment in an effort to predict your future behavior. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the systems currently operating within the social media sphere.
Researchers at the University of Virginia funded by the U.S. Army recently demonstrated that they can not only gather information from your personal Twitter account just like the NSA, but also aggregate and analyze that information with advanced predictive algorithms designed to determine what you’re going to do next. In this case, the researches focused specifically on predicting crime by individuals, as well as in crime “hot spots” around the country.
Here’s the kicker. The algorithms being used don’t just look for obvious keyword phrases associated with criminal activity like “I’m going to kill you” or “meet me later and we’ll give him a beat down,” but focus in on routine activities, geo-location, and aggregate historical information to calculate the chance of a particular individual being involved in a crime at some point in the future.