Make no mistake, in the war on freedom, government has vast capabilities to gather knowledge and enact countermeasures to the progression of a liberated humanity. One of the ways this is achieved is through semi-private organizations that have existed for decades to serve the goals of the State.
RAND Corporation, the think-tank that has been so instrumental in advancing America’s military hegemony, recently conducted an “expert panel” for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The NIJ is the research and development arm of the Department of Justice—the head of the beast that cages people for victimless crimes including those from the War on Drugs. NIJ also guides local law enforcement on technology and policy.
The focus of the RAND panel, consisting of 16 experts in web technologies and criminal justice, was “how the criminal justice community can take advantage of (and reduce the risks from) these emerging web technologies.” Their report, released last week, is titled Using Future Internet Technologies to Strengthen Criminal Justice.
Here is what they envision in the near future.
“The police officer directing traffic in the intersection could see the car barreling toward him and the occupant looking down at his smartphone. Officer Rodriguez gestured for the car to stop, and the self-driving vehicle rolled to a halt behind the crosswalk.
The officer waved the car on as the oblivious passenger continued checking his email. But he wasn’t oblivious for long. A very human-driven sport-utility vehicle (SUV) barreled through the intersection, forcing the officer to dive for safety and the automated car to brake hard and swerve to avoid a collision.
While Officer Rodriguez called for assistance, an unmanned aerial vehicle on patrol recognized the speeding SUV and gave chase while it transmitted the vehicle’s location to police cruisers. A police cruiser precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver forced the SUV off the road minutes later. As officers prepared to swarm the vehicle, one took the man’s photo from a distance, uploaded it to compare against a national repository of mug shots, and quickly produced a high-probability match. The photo, combined with the license plate and vehicle description, helped the system identify an ex-convict who was related to the SUV’s owner, and who had a lengthy rap sheet of armed robbery and reckless driving.”
This almost comical narrative of good vs. evil shows how the police state justifies their pursuit of technology for control, on a population increasingly seen as the enemy.
Self-driving, connected cars will very likely be mainstream in a decade. This modern technology will likely help to reduce accidents, virtually eliminate DUIs, and provide a myriad of other crash/traffic-reducing benefits.
With such great benefits, however, comes incredible potential for authorities to control our movements and track our whereabouts. Cops could not only control vehicles remotely, but also ask cars who the occupants are and their location histories.
Two “needs” identified by the RAND panel are as follows.
““Controlling automated vehicles: Need methods for control and manipulation of automated vehicles (when warranted). For example, law enforcement may want to direct a parked vehicle to move.
Aerial drones and driverless vehicles: Need policies, tactics, rules of engagement, and best practices for responding to emerging technologies such as aerial and terrestrial automated and unmanned vehicles. This includes methods to extract data from IoT-enabled vehicles for improved accident investigation and reporting, educating practitioners on the capabilities of new technologies, friend or foe identification, locating the owner/ operator, and techniques for safe neutralization”
Although they suggest that these things would be “warranted” to ensure no violation of civil rights, we know there are always exceptions that open the door for abuse, along with corruption in the ranks.
The report also describes using the coming Web 3.0 or Semantic Web—the inclusion of context and natural language into information searches—to integrate extensive details about citizens into a centralized database for instant access by authorities. Web 4.0 and the eventual Internet of Things (IoT) could enhance government’s monitoring to a state of virtual omniscience, if left unchecked by a vigilant populace.
Intelligent Agents will be the crux of this capability. These software tools “…learn what sorts of information and analysis a user wants, and delivers it to him or her regularly.”
“Two key types of intelligent agents are especially relevant to criminal justice:
• Search Agents that scan a range of media (social media postings, video, photos, etc.) to find events “of interest.” In the criminal justice context, these tend to relate to suspicious activity or a possible connection to a crime.
• Decision Agents that take in a range of data and use statistical algorithms to advise someone on how to make a decision. In the criminal justice context, these might include judgments on bail or sentencing.”
Several “needs” were identified by the RAND panel to accommodate the all-knowing authority figure.
“Detecting patterns of criminal activity: Need intelligent agents to search online data for activity patterns worthy of additional attention (for example, human trafficking and money laundering).
Analytics for social media and community feedback: Need automated analytics of social media and community board postings to assess public feedback and ambient community safety (“the community as an intelligent sensor”).
Sensor-detected crime: Need to develop and/or integrate data from audio, video, and other sensors carried by civil servants, civil fleet vehicles, and/or volunteers to identify incidents worthy of additional investigation (such as gunshots).”
Control of vehicles and harnessing the Internet of Things are integral to the specter of a centralized, interconnected surveillance state with total information awareness. The future cop will log in to a single system for instant access to your life history.
The RAND panel at least pays lip service to this massive threat to our rights.
“However, the dark side to all of the emerging access and interconnectivity is the risk to the public’s civil rights, privacy rights, and security. One can readily imagine abuses that might occur if, for example, capabilities to control automated vehicles and the disclosure of detailed personal information about their occupants were not tightly controlled and secured. Intelligent agents monitoring social media feeds might wrongly flag certain people as potential suspects—notwithstanding larger issues of the circumstances under which such monitoring is justified.
In the worst case, individuals’ private behavior and personal data could be stolen and exploited, either by criminal hackers or corrupt government officials.”
In fact, the panel knows all about the lack of interest in government to address civil rights.
“Civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections are major pain points across criminal justice technologies in general. They are repeatedly described at criminal justice workshops and conferences as areas in which agencies lack expertise.”
However, developing a strategy for protection of civil rights is, in their own words, “well beyond the scope of this report.” Can we trust government to implement sound policies before the technology is in use?
“From a civil and privacy rights perspective, search agents were called out as potentially problematic due to their analyzing large amounts of public data (public surveillance cameras and social media feeds, for example) and generating large numbers of false positives (such as subjects being incorrectly flagged as likely engaged in criminal behavior).
Decision agents, such as those related to recommending bail/bond or sentencing judgments, were seen as potentially raising civil rights concerns for computing decisions based on inadequate or biased data.
IoT sensors were seen as raising potential privacy issues from generating substantial data on persons either wearing sensors or those who are nearby.”
The RAND Corporation originated after World War 2, when the U.S., suffused with military might, embarked on a strategy of global hegemony. Corporatism flourished, fueled by rampant consumerism, and cemented itself as the driving force of centralized state control. From the military-industrial complex to the growth of a parasitic health-care system, the think-tank has been a key player in these developments.
True to form, it will help law enforcement use future internet technologies to keep the boot on the neck of humanity.