Minority Report’s Pre-Crime is no longer a work of fiction. The Communist Party in China are working closely with state-run defence contractors, China Electronics Technology Group, to develop a software program that will collate citizens’ everyday behaviour and pre-determine terrorist acts before they occur.
Data collated will include hobbies, jobs, consumption habits, unorthodox behaviour and even family planning violations, and will be closely analysed for patterns. The program, which offers no safeguards from privacy laws is said to also take advantage of the neighbourhood informants already in place in society, assigned by the Communist Party.
Minority Report’s Pre-Crime is no longer a work of fiction.
The worrying Pre-Crime establishment follows a drafting of cyberspace laws released last July:
“If neither legal restrictions nor unfettered political debate about Big Brother surveillance is a factor for a regime, then there are many different sorts of data that could be collated and cross-referenced to help identify possible terrorists or subversives,” says Paul Pillar from the Brookings Institution.
The only spokesman for China Electronics, who has several big contracts with the Chinese Communist Party – including electronic warfare systems – commented on the Pre-Crime initiative. According to Wu, an engineer, the data collection scope can draw a ‘portrait’ of suspects by collating information, which also includes bank accounts and shopping habits.
“…Pre-Crime establishment follows a drafting of cyberspace laws released…”
Chinese anti-terror laws came into effect January 1st this year, adding to their already dang’an that has existed since the Mao era. Dang’an is a file on every citizen compiling school reports through to work permits and personality assessments. Dang’an will determine if you are eligible for a promotion later in life, and further revelations last year suggested a trustworthiness score on citizens would be introduced.
“We don’t call it a big data platform,” Wu said of the data collating laws, “but a united information environment.”
Paul Pillar is sceptical, however. “The people who are good at this are good because they have access to a lot of data,” he says. “They can experiment with all kinds of stuff.”
Meanwhile, Twitter has recently announced their new profiling abilities to monitor user hashtag behaviour to oust probable protestors before they protest. The new program has a 70 percent success rate in determining a user’s behaviour.
In California, the Fresno Police Department announced they will now calculate a citizen’s threat level by using databases, previous arrest reports, social media postings and property records, while Google have just “joined forces” with the Pentagon for a larger access to data sweep.
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