Indian Police Adding Pre-Crime Software To Their Long List Of Snooping Tools
from the mind-your-associations dept
Lots of tech is being deployed by law enforcement around the world — often far in advance of thorough testing, privacy impact assessments, or public input. Biometric scanning, facial recognition software, cell site simulators, social media monitoring tools, and, of course, “predictive policing.”
The last one on the list brings together a bunch of data and tells cops where to go to stop crime before it happens. Pre-crime is no longer relegated to sci-fi movies providing chilling glimpses of a totalitarian future. It’s here now and it’s converting certain neighborhoods into instant probable cause.
The Chicago PD is only one of several agencies using the software to generate “heat lists” of citizens in need of arresting. There may be no criminal activity occurring when patrols begin, but the algos say it’s inevitable, so off the cops go to round up people who may be likely to commit crimes.
India is starting to dip its toes into the pre-crime waters. A new program introduced in Maharashtra will dovetail with the local government’s cybersecurity plans, possibly converting the second-largest state into India’s leading surveillance state.
The work of enhancing and bolstering cyber security in Maharashtra, started in 2015, is based on five major projects, including developing software to help police department prevent untoward incidents or crimes at specific place and time. The software would work on technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, empowered by exhaustive database of crimes and criminal activities, which is now being fed into the system.
SP Cyber, Maharashtra, Balsingh Rajput, who is implementing the state’s elaborate plan to strengthen the IT wing of state police under Special IG Brijesh Singh, said the ‘Predictive policing software’ would use available data sets of police, and open source information available over the internet, to give outputs regarding a probable crime. “Points for location and type of event and probable gang could also be derived well before time using the software,” he said.
The pre-crime software will roll out along with other tools of the tech-law trade. Portable phone forensic devices will be handed out to officers for use in cracking locked cellphones and scraping their contents. New software will allow the police to scan through hours of footage obtained from cameras and drones in a matter of minutes.
This will all be applied on top of India’s nationwide surveillance of communications via its “Central Monitoring System.”The national government has no qualms about participating in domestic surveillance. That attitude has carried over to the local level, ensuring round-the-clock monitoring of citizens’ daily activities in Maharashtra.