German police to use “Minority Report” crime-predicting software

genetic

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I doubt this will ever work. All a criminal needs to do is slightly change his pattern to fool statistical data.
 

furpile

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Except in the movie they were called "precogs" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minority_Report_(film)
I was going to say this as well, but in the article they clarify:
The name is a contraction of “Pre-Crime Observation System”. The “Precobs” title borrows deliberately from the “precog” term used in “Minority Report” referring to psychics who predict crimes before they happened. That 2002 futuristic movie starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg was based on a story by Philip K. Dick.
Somebody is finally using technology to try and predict crime patterns and some "civil rights" idiots have to protest:
But a civil rights activist voiced concern in Tuesday’s Berliner Zeitung that personal data could eventually be used, instead of the currently anonymous information.
The only personal data that can be used would be that of criminals, who should lose their right to privacy in any case.
 

HavocXphere

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I doubt this will ever work. All a criminal needs to do is slightly change his pattern to fool statistical data.
The criminals aren't going to think about what some server somewhere might do...they're more interested in finding out if there is a big angry dog in that backyard or not.
 

furpile

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Or, it may predict that he will slightly change his pattern to try fool it :p
This system is based on statistical data, and statistical data should never be used to predict the actions of one person. However, predicting the actions of a group is a lot more reliable, and I think this is what they are doing. Monitor areas and times where crimes are committed, then predict where and when is most likely to be hit and deploy a larger force in that area. Then you have a much better chance of catching criminals.
 

OrbitalDawn

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The only personal data that can be used would be that of criminals, who should lose their right to privacy in any case.
So people are criminals before they've done anything...? Thought crime...? :p
 

garyc

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This system also uses real-time data such as the total cellular traffic from foreign SIM cards on key access routes. The pilot project in Zurich had an 85% success rate with the predictions it made and this caused burglaries to drop by a third. The predictions also allowed the police to arrest people for having possession of burglary tools before they actually managed to break in.

Rights groups are worried that this could extend to the use of personally identifiable data and that it may also end up resulting in racial profiling.
 

zippy

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Majority of criminals are stupid. Predictable. Some of them even post their intentions on Facebook. Even if this only works 85% of the time it will result in a significant decrease in crime.
 

furpile

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So people are criminals before they've done anything...? Thought crime...? :p
Not at all (hopefully). I don't know exactly what data they use, but I assume it would be mainly crime reports, so all the data they have is from people connected to previous crimes.

I see garyc mentions traffic from SIM cards as well. This could become a privacy issue, but with the Cell companies already sending out your phone number on data connections to the internet, this has already happened without us knowing.

There is a fine line between privacy and security, as the American's often show us. We give up more privacy each day for more more perceived security, but often this is abused and we just lose our privacy. Therefore any such system would have to be open to audits from independent third parties to ensure the privacy of civilians.
 

Knersus

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They already use similar statistical prediction algorithms for weather predictions and we know how well that works out...

But yes, if it shows there is a good chance it will rain tomorrow then you take your umbrella, and I guess in the same way if they can predict there is a good chance of a crime happening in a certain area then they can increase the police numbers in that area. Just the increased numbers of cops might actually deter a would be criminal so in that sense it could sometimes be hard to prove its effectiveness.

Anyways - these Germans know what they are doing so if someone convinced the Police to run a pilot project of this then they must have had some good evidence to back it up.
 
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