Florida police department tries to un-ironically recreate "Minority Report"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/08/florida-police-department-trie.html


Didn’t the Stasi or NKVD operate in a similar style, though less overt? Lots of indiscriminate data gathering, masquerading as surveillance, with preemptive arrests?

The Horseshoe Theory never fails to prove itself, does it. Authoritarians can’t resist the smells of leather, gun oil and fear…


It breaks for non- and anti-authoritarians though.


I think I understand now…

Good idea: Proactively preventing imminent crimes by addressing them before they happen.
Bad idea: Proactively preventing imminent environmental problems by addressing them before they happen.



Then deputies would find those people and “take them out” — thwarting criminal activity before it happened.

“Instead of being reactive,” he said, “we are going to be proactive.”

He later said the approach was not unlike the way the federal government goes after terrorists.

So they aren’t going in to charge them with a crime, they just show up and find what they can write them up for? Akin to pulling some one over for no reason and then find something to write a ticket for?

Like the Feds, if they arrest you for being a terrorist, you either did something or they have evidence you were plotting to - you know, conspiracy to commit terrorism.

This is some grade A bullshit.


As a data professional myself, I can say this illustrates why ethics are of extreme importance to data science. It’s a perfect negative example of self-reinforcing bias.


I’ve always wondered how many potential “predictive” systems were implemented and then scrapped on the basis of “This doesn’t validate all of the department’s past decisions! It’s crap! Get rid of it!”




I thought it only applied to them…that those drawn to power, right or left, had more in common with each other — like the ends of the horseshoe — than the people they claimed represent.

How many members of the Pacco County Sheriff’s Department have their names “appear in five or more police reports”? Do they ever no-show for a hearing on a speeding ticket they wrote? Shouldn’t that bump up their “likeliness to be a criminal” scores (perhaps enough to outweigh the “thin blue line” finger on the scale?)


“Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”

That’s really it, isn’t it? It’s not about “predictive policing” or whatever. It’s just about making that person somebody else’s problem. I mean, even that doesn’t work, clearly, as people don’t always have the resources to move the person in question (and that doesn’t stop the police from harassing the remaining family, either), but…


what’s the demographic breakdown of people they target? i presume it’s at least as much about making tampa white “again” as anything else

[edit: i presume wrong]

Pasco is an overwhelmingly white county, and the program did not appear to disproportionately target people based on race.

But juvenile offenders, regardless of race, were an outsized priority for the intelligence program, according to former deputies and a Times data analysis.


Well which one lets you crack heads?

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Basically a rehash of Giuliani’s Broken Windows and Bloomberg’s Stop & Frisk, but with even more grift.


I have to wonder how counter-productive all this is, as far as its stated purpose. Police were really hot on “scared straight” programs for teens, but they turned out to increase criminality. I can’t believe harassing an entire family over a juvenile crime actually makes anyone want to be more law abiding rather than just causing them all to hate the police, and they’re certainly arresting a bunch of people who wouldn’t otherwise have gotten in trouble with the law.


What this is is a legally traceable lawsuit fueling machine.

Whoever approved this idiocy is going to bankrupt the county with the resulting harassment lawsuits.

Can the software provider be sued directly?


It’s rather sad that “criminal justice” reduced to “pattern recognition” (or as they say in machine learning: regression).

In a way, this just Sheriff Teasle (John Rambo’s nemesis back in First Blood) with a coat of “technology”… I don’t like you, you are trouble, I’m going to run you out of town. Except I claim I have “numbers” backing me up.

Which also makes it a NIMBY (not in my backyard) problem. Kick it to someone else’s turf.

Giving the kids a record early lets the cops ship them off to the prison industrial complex as soon x as they can be tried as adults.


Software provider is not liable for misuse of their data. They would never claim their data can “predict” future offenders.

There are software that can analyze crime patterns based on location and time of day with Machine Learning analysis and allow police to setup heavier patrols in certain areas to head-off such spikes, but targeting individuals? That’s bull****.

Hate to say it but the defund the police movement is basically a precrime approach. We have tried for so long to use the justice system to weed out the barrel spoilers and never been able to do so, so just crush all those who look like barrel-dwellers.

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