UK Prevent Strategy For Identifying Potential Terrorists Identifies 3 Year Old Because Of Course It Did

from the no-child-left-uncovered dept

We've talked a lot about the UK's ambitious plan to marry Orwellian thought crime designations with Minority Report style crime-prediction when it comes to stopping all the terrorism that's barely occurred in the country. The basic idea is that the government will create a boogeyman-list of suspected future-terrorists, people who are not strapping bombs to themselves and blowing up marketplaces filled with children -- but might! -- while tasking the educational system with weeding out tiny, little terrorist children using software so laughably flawed that it ought to belong on HBO's Silicon Valley. In other words: hey, great plan!

Well, counted amongst the fruit of all that idiotic labor is the result we all probably saw coming: a goddamn three-year-old has found his/her way onto the watchlist.

The three-year-old in the programme is from the borough of Tower Hamlets, and was a member of a family group that had been showing suspect behaviour. Many of the government's counter-extremism measures typically relate to older children and adults - buy very young children can be referred if authorities are concerned about the effect of their families on them.
The idea being that the UK government's "concern" is centered around extremist parents will produce extremist children as a matter of course and the best way to combat these must-eventually-be extremist toddlers is by putting them on a watchlist run by the same people who did all the stupidity I mentioned in the first paragraph. Sigh.

As it turns out, the number of people getting caught up in this prevent strategy system is pretty astounding.
They show that a total of 1,069 Londoners have been referred to the government’s “Channel” counter-extremism programme since the start of 2012. That means that the capital accounts for about a quarter of the 4,000 referrals to the programme nationwide since then. The Standard, which obtained the figures from the London Assembly, can also reveal that: Since September last year, 400 Channel referrals were made for teenagers and children under 18.
This is exactly what you'd expect when the government tasks a great many people who have no formalized training in identifying bad guys with identifying bad guys. It's also exactly what you should expect when the government plan for building up a watch list of future-terrorists, including hundreds of innocent children as young as three years old, comes with a complete lack of common sense and is instead the product of fear mixed with nationalism. And this doesn't even touch on the potential or real-life cases of abuse of the system, which are as inevitable as the sunrise.

Look, security is important, and terrorism is an actual thing, but going off the deep end to the point where you've got government eyes on toddlers isn't a solution to any problem.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:26am

    Sort of a modern day Salem, MA!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:35am

    What do they have running the predictive models? Zola's Algorithm?!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:46am

    Get 'em while they're young

    With the right procedures, the programme can become self-fulfilling. Look at how many liberty-oriented adults gripe about the American Transportation Security Administration and related absurdity. Now consider that, with this designation, this toddler has a decent chance of experiencing that level of government-initiated abuse on a regular basis. Even if the kid was otherwise destined to be a good law-abiding citizen, the government is now contributing to an anti-authority/anti-government mindset in this child, and may well be able to steer the kid onto a path of violent extremism. Good job!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 1 Aug 2015 @ 7:06pm

      Re: Get 'em while they're young

      True justice would be if the child in question grows up to be the 21st century version of Guy Fawkes.

      Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Plutonium, treason and plot...

      With any luck the explosion will be small, clean and successful, ushering in a new era of British freedom.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 5 Aug 2015 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: Get 'em while they're young

        I have yet to see a politically-motivated revolution that was small, clean, and successful. They're generally messy, bloody, and followed by years of paranoid repression to uphold the new status quo even if there wasn't much bloodshed at the time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Get 'em while they're young

          This is why it's probably a good idea to work out the new constitutional details before the old government is overthrown.

          Otherwise you get same as the old boss.

          But revolution isn't about fixing things. It's about stopping the suffering. It takes some mindfulness in order to actually get it to fix things.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:46am

    Not to defend the algorithm, but the kid is a bit of a jerk. The day care has noted several instances of not sharing blocks with others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:50am

    The King of a Nation

    should always be its citizens.

    Shockingly no society has ever learned this. Sure some people have, but NOT any society. One could argue that America in its infancy came close, but still didn't really even come close enough. Rampant slavery and heafty bias where still the MO of the day, and oddly enough still is in one form or another.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 2:19pm

      Re: The King of a Nation

      Anonymous Coward wrote:
      Shockingly no society has ever learned this. Sure some people have, but NOT any society. One could argue that America in its infancy came close

      Thus proving how important it is to catch such tendencies early in life.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:53am

    So now my government's saying it's not radical preachers who are sending teenagers to join Daesh? Make up your minds, guys!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:58am

    Program abuse

    Any program will be abused, and one like this just screams out "Abuse me!!" Probably most of the people on this list were referred by someone who just doesn't like them. A pub-pal owes you 50 pounds and refuses to pay? Refer them! The baby-sitter used your phone for personal calls? Refer them! That dweeb in first period refuses to give you his lunch money? Refer him!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 2:36pm

      Re: Program abuse

      Just think what Wesley "Throw 'em in camps!" Clark would do with a tool like this, and feel the chill in your spine.

      "The internments will continue until the program no longer finds extremists."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 12:11pm

    All this system will do is create criminals and (possbly) terrorists. Getting stuck on the list is going to screw a kid up from additional administrative harassment in school, government intrusion, trouble with employment and travel and all other follow on concequemces

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 31 Jul 2015 @ 12:15pm

    Dear NSA

    Dear NSA,

    My 2 year old son broke my nose intentionally by head butting me while I tried placing him in bed for the night. I feel that he is a wannabe terrorist as he consistently terrorize my wife and I with extremest demands, such as Milk, Juice, Gummies, and Go away, I don't want to go to bed. Please help us, we are trying to be great parents but it is hard. The kid spits out his vegetables. Even after we say it is good for him... Please help, and watch over his every move, every second of the day, to include while he sleeps. And notify us immediately if you see more extreme behavior. And don't forget, my money is taxed which is your pay, so you work for me and must do as I want or I will fire you.


    Thanks, oh saviors of the United States.

    V/R
    Capt ICE Enforcer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 31 Jul 2015 @ 12:31pm

    Whew!

    Close call! If the British government had identified this kid only 15 years later, it could have been too late! /s

    Jokes aside, the extent of preemption assumed to be necessary tells you a lot about how long they think these measures will be implemented: forever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 12:35pm

    *Random guy looks at the watch list*

    RG: Hmmm, sir, there is a name here, Johann Average McDoe that doesn't exist in the record, the list is flawed.
    LAW ENFORCEMENT: No, it's the future daughter of John "We Say He's a Terrorist" McDoe.
    RG: I didn't know his wife was pregnant.
    LE: She isn't.
    RG: Huh?
    LE: Based on their genetic information we collected under this program there is a higher probability that they will have a girl.
    RG: Oh. But how did you get the name?
    LE: Based on our collection of the conversations between the couple we identified that they like cats and he's kind of narcissistic so we assumed he'd like to put a name resembling his own.
    RG: Sinister. And why would a non-born child be listed?
    LE: The individual mentioned engages in heavy Government criticism, a clear sign of impeding terrorism so it is obvious this future child will be a terrorist.
    RG: *quietly puts down the list and decides to leave the country*

    And this, dear fellow readers, would be a joke or a satire like 10, 20 years ago. Now I don't know what to think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 12:48pm

      Re:

      I know what you meant by you don't know what to think, but its not like no one didn't see this coming.
      This has been coming for a long time... even George Washington pretty much predicted this in his farewell address and has been specifically foretold by many of the founding fathers.

      There is just something self destructive about a people that have known only peace and petty criminal activity. So risk adverse that their solutions to the risks are more destructive than the poison they attempt to save themselves from.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thrudd, 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:07pm

    children

    Think of the children has taken a whole new level or I am overthinking things and it is the same thing but with a different program firm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:17pm

    Real motivation

    This is the UK. They just want an excuse for indefinite detention of their "toys". Helps their elite go shopping for kids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:19pm

    4000

    4000 out of 64 million sounds like kind of a lot of potential terrorists. And it's probably hard to get off the list, and there will be pressure to add to the list to show it's working, so it will only grow. How long until there are 10,000 on the list, or 50,000?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:27pm

    No doubt the 3 year old is currently engaging in practice torture, including sleep deprivation.

    Every time we hear the details of these program, and similar web-nanny filters, we find that they are based on the simplest of filter.

    Not every search for "nipple" is trying to locate porn. Sometimes it's just looking for plumbing parts. Filtering for supposedly terrorist term is much more likely to identify people interested in world events.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:51pm

    the UK seems to me to want to carry on being a clone of how the USA was under Bush. even worse, it's got two of the most ridiculous people in government that it could have. Cameron who is so Hollywood and entertainment industries orientated, he wants to shut down every site they tell hem to and then add a few in for himself. he also thinks it's his job to tell UK parents how to raise their kids, what they should be allowed/disallowed to see, do, take about, read etc etc. he's now got another weed up his ass about porn! i dont suppose he ever looked at a pussy while he was growing up, especially at University (which was free for him!)
    then you have May. she must be as dangerous a woman as ever there has been in any government. she seems to want to bring the UK to being a complete Police State! she wants to be able to track the minutest of movement of every person, read every single written message, listen to every conversation, check every item bought from every type of shop visited and make sure that, not only is there nothing untoward in amongst the fruit and veg, but there is a valid reason for everything that is in the bag!! i thought the USA was totally paranoid but suck back, between them, these two take some beating!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 2:21pm

    Refer all the real terrorists

    Find and submit the name of everyone who is associated with running and funding this program. Submit them with proof of their ideological extreme views that are causing fear in specific people as well as the general populace. They are already supplying us with the verbiage in their releases so just fill in the blanks with their own names. I'm sure a couple hundred people a day submitting your name as the director of the agency investigating people with examples of how you are doing what you are accusing others of doing, will go over well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2015 @ 4:51am

      Re: Refer all the real terrorists

      unfortunately the people running this are probably on the exempt list along with those in charge of the government

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 2:22pm

    Not defending this program, but we need to acknowledge the hard truth of the matter:

    All three-year-olds are terrorists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 3:14pm

    Only one way that will change...

    Put HRH George and/or HRH Charlotte on that list. I bet you'll see that program change really fast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 3:42pm

    To a lot of Britons, living in Tower Hamlets is evidence of criminal activity at the very least; the crime rate there is historically so high that the guards who live inside the Tower of London—your archetypical high-security zone if there ever was one—have had trouble getting insurance because they're in Tower Hamlets' postcode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    pouar (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 3:43pm

    They would probably freak out if they saw the cover of Thy Art Is Murder's last album

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 31 Jul 2015 @ 10:28pm

    Does that mean that my sperm might be radicalised and, gasp, shock, horror, become potential terrorists if I was to visit, say, the West Bank?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2015 @ 1:44am

    Was the kid's name Tom Riddle?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 1 Aug 2015 @ 6:20am

    The unfortunate reality is the US is only five years behind the UK in their implementation of "refer everybody you know or have ever heard of."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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