Microsoft and Bloomberg Collaborate on Pre-Crime Technology

Microsoft and Bloomberg Collaborate on Sophisticated Pre-Crime TechnologySusanne Posel, Contributor
Activist Post

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor for New York and Raymond Kelly, police commissioner, are collaborating with Microsoft to create pre-crime and counterterrorism technology to aid federal intelligence and local law enforcement agencies domestically and internationally.

The Domain Awareness System (DAS) will be a very sophisticated software technology that aggregates and analyzes public information in real time that will produce comprehensive reports to be used by NYPD to ascertain potential threats and pre-crime activity.

By utilizing smart cameras and license plate readers, combined with Microsoft technologies, NYPD personnel can search suspects, allegedly suspicious packages, and any other information at their disposal to control possible criminal action in NY.

Graphical interface, environmental sensors and law enforcement databases will be interlaced so that crime analysis can effectively allocate proper man-power and improve response to potential situations. This creates an aggregate of information for the NYPD to use in real-time.

Over 3,000 CCTV cameras will be connected to the DAS that are spread throughout NYC.

As part of the agreement, 30% of the revenue on Microsoft’s future sales of DAS will be redirected to fund more pre-crime efforts by NYC. In addition, the NYPD will confer with Microsoft on their use of the DAS and any innovative revisions of the software that comes from real-time use. This shared knowledge is meant to consistently improve the technology; which makes the NYPD a beta-testing ground for the future of Big Brother surveillance technology.

In a formal statement, Bloomberg said that to justify this use of pre-crime technology he will be “devoting considerable resources to counter-terrorism. . . our heavy investment in technology and our willingness to develop new, cutting-edge solutions to keep New Yorkers safe.” The DAS software provided by Microsoft will “allow police officers and other personnel to more quickly access relevant information gathered from existing cameras, 911 calls, previous crime reports and other existing tools and technology. It will help the NYPD do more to prevent crimes from occurring.” Bloomberg also added that the revenue generated from the sale of DAS will “fund more new crime-prevention and counter-terrorism programs.”

Kelly added that the development of the DAS was “by police officers for police officers.”

The real-time analytics and situational awareness DAS generates is touted to improve public safety for New York residents. The New York Wireless Network, which is a high-speed, mission-critical wireless broadband infrastructure, will aid DAS to extend the ability of officers to survey average citizens on the streets.

The DAS will allow the NYPD to:

  • Gain real-time access to video feeds and all citizens arrest records as well as any 911 call wherein the potential suspect was named.
  • Chronological and geospatial maps of citizen’s criminal history and patterns.
  • Track cars related or associated with potential suspects.
  • Retrieve information from various databases for appropriate deployment of resources.
  • Review video feeds where potentially harmful packages are delivered.
  • Connection to radiation detectors throughout the city and immediately alert the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative command center.

In the interest of fighting terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the Future Attribute Screening Technology project (FAST) that utilizes sensor technology to detect cues “indicative of mal-intent” defined as intent or desire to cause real harm.

By monitoring psychological and behavioral cues that are entered into real-time algorithms FAST can predict the probability of a crime being committed by any person. FAST was reported to be 70% accurate, according to field test research. However, the conclusions of the study are deceptive and reliant on the researcher’s foreknowledge of the intent of the individual being monitored.

In a DHS privacy impact assessment, FAST was tested on volunteers that were pre-sorted into groups wherein one group was “explicitly instructed to carry out a disruptive act, so that the researchers and the participant (but not the experimental screeners) already know that the participant has mal-intent.”

This fact lends to the strong possibility that FAST could be used to generate false positives that would make criminals out of average Americans.

In June of 2010, DHS admitted in a document that data mining is being conducted on all members of the American public in conjunction with FAST. They also state that in initial trials of FAST, DHS employees were used as test subjects.

Robert Middleton, Jr., FAST program director, said that FAST “sensors will non-intrusively collect video images, audio recordings, and psychophysiological measurements from the employees.”

With the “success” of FAST, the DHS recommended that it be used in airport checkpoints overseen by the TSA as well as a mobile version of the program “could be used at security checkpoints such as border crossings or at large public events such as sporting events or conventions.”

As pre-crime technologies become more prevalent and accepted in everyday society, those who believe that they have nothing to hide will continue to go along with the new systems being put in place to make sure that they stay in line. The reality of constant surveillance will have an impact on our lives that goes beyond the intrusion into our personal lives.

When a thought becomes enough to convict a person of a crime they have not committed, perhaps then the masses will wake up. Until then, the Big Brother control systems being put into place now are reconditioning us to not only curb our actions to fit their expectations, but are also changing our minds so that no part of our lives is sacred.

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