IBM’s Crime Prediction Software — Goodbye, human rights?

The Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice will use analysis software from IBM to predict crime by young delinquents, putting potential offenders under specific prevention and education programs.

Government’s Point of View:

Crime Prediction

Crime Prediction

Mark Greenwald, chief of research and planning at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, said, “The State of Florida believes that if youth are rehabilitated with effective prevention, intervention and treatment services early in life, juveniles will not enter the adult corrections system. Our goal is to ensure juveniles do not return to the system. IBM SPSS predictive analytics will allow our organization to refine our current practice and better intervene in juvenile lives earlier to help them become — and stay — law abiding citizens.”

Predictive analytics gives government organizations worldwide a highly-sophisticated and intelligent source to create safer communities by identifying, predicting, responding to and preventing criminal activities. It gives the criminal justice system the ability to draw upon the wealth of data available to detect patterns, make reliable projections and then take the appropriate action in real time to combat crime and protect citizens“. Gizmodo, April 14, 2010

Microsoft’s Take:

The geniuses working at IBM apparently seem to believe that Minority report, the movie, was a success rather than a mere Hollywood fantasy designed to tickle our fantasies! Therefore, a predicting crime software to them had  “profit center” written all over it!

IBM has already assembled 4,000 analytics consultants with industry expertise, and opened a network of seven analytics centers of excellence. Today, IBM is working with more than 250,000 clients worldwide on predictive analytics, including 22 of the top 24 global commercial banks, 18 of the world’s top 22 telecommunication carriers and 11 of the top 12 U.S. specialty retailers. Yahoo Finance, April 14, 2010

People’s Voice:

Anger:

You’re no longer innocent until proven guilty. You’re not even guilty till proven innocent. You ARE preemptively guilty even BEFORE you commit any crime. What the hell is this country becoming??? And if this software’s so friggin good, how come it didn’t predict the fraudulent criminals of Goldman Sachs??gmb007

Sarcasm:

Crime Statistics

Crime Statistics

I wonder if the software also calculates the odds of becoming a lawyer at the same time”. Floodberg

Reminds me of the no-sit law proposed in San Francisco. Proponents want to ban sitting on the sidewalk in anticipation of crimes being committed”. gypsy508

Concern:

“The idea of 1) using past and/or present acts and conditions (re records and self-report) to “predict” the “probability” of future crimes by felons (juvenile or adult) and 2) administering differential treatment based on that prediction are rotten to the core from both a scientific and legal standpoint”. j4e6s9

I’m scared… What about you?

At the beginning, it was the convicted-but-potentially-recidivist criminals. Then, it moved on to the potential terrorists. However now, it’s information about each and every one of us, stored in a big database, getting flagged due to some combination of day to day factors – travel patterns, credit card activity, relationships, messaging, social activity and everything else – that could indicate that we might be considering the possibility of doing something criminal.

Goodbye, human rights?

What do you think: Are you with such a software, when you are fully aware of its implications? Do you think it is fair to “assume” that a person might turn out to be a criminal based on personal habits or certain actions?

Looking forward to reading your feedback about this seriously disturbing topic.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com M.Bamieh

    I think there is a slight misunderstanding of this thing …
    It is not like the system in inditing you of a crime you will commit it only analyzes data that it has of you and based on your profile (socioeconomic, racial, educational, age, location and others i imagine) it will predict the likelihood that you will commit a crime.
    Based on that they would pay closer attention to the juvenile and place him in more rehabilitation programs.

  • Russ

    Minority Report anyone? It may be preventative, but it has the potential to go towards the extreme.

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  • http://bestjobsforfelons.com/ jobs for felons

    Talk about BIG BROTHER!!!. This is no different than profiling based on age, race or income. I work for a community group that helps get jobs for felons. I see young people all the time on the fence with their lives, this is certainly not helpful.

  • http://jetl.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/science-fiction-becomes-reality-washington-d-c-to-test-new-crime-prediction-software/ Science Fiction Becomes Reality: Washington, D.C. to Test New Crime-Prediction Software « JETLawBlog: The Official Blog of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law

    [...] Some worry about the possibility of false positives, and prejudging and punishing people for the crimes they could potentially commit. Others are concerned about potential abuses of the system and argue that the use of such technology violates the Constitution. Still others point out that the combination of such software with omnipresent surveillance could lead to the police scouring social-networking sites like Facebook for signs of potential criminal behavior. [...]

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