When crooks are plotting, so are vigilant police districts. Officers are increasingly turning to software and predictive analytics to anticipate when and where misdeeds are likely to occur. But big data is only one component in a proliferating arsenal of high-tech policing tools. As organizations around the country pushed forward faster, savvier law enforcement, they’re seeming more and more like the precrime component in Minority Report.
The Louisville, Kentucky, police district lately unveiled a proposal to send self-guided drones to investigate alerts from gunshot-detecting sensors, giving video footage back to HQ. But privacy groups are perturbed by monotone monitoring–already utilized elsewhere in investigations and surveillance. In May, the International Association of Chiefs of Police technology conference included a meeting on “developing public approbation” for drones.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are developing tattoo identification technology to identify persons of interest–and those boasting similar ink. Proponents say the FBI-supported program automates the process of analyzing tattoos for potential gang affiliations; privacy advocates argue it infringes on First Amendment rights.