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Could Cops Use Google As Pre-Cogs?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the oh-sure-that's-easy dept.

Crime 376

theodp writes "Remember the Pre-Cogs in Minority Report? Slate's Will Oremus does, and wonders if Google could similarly help the police apprehend criminals based on foreknowledge collected from searches. Oremus writes: 'At around 3:45 a.m. on March 24, someone in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., used a mobile phone to Google "chemicals to passout a person." Then the person searched Ask.com for "making people faint." Then Google again, for "ways to kill people in their sleep," "how to suffocate someone," and "how to poison someone." The phone belonged to 23-year-old Nicole Okrzesik. Later that morning, police allege, she and her boyfriend strangled 19-year-old Juliana Mensch as she slept on the floor of their apartment.' In theory, Oremus muses, Google or Ask.com could have flagged Okrzesik's search queries as suspicious and dispatched cops to the scene before Mensch's assailants had the chance to do her in." I bet you're already thinking of just a few reasons why this might not such a good idea.

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bad idea (5, Insightful)

beh (4759) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243875)

Hmm - what reasons could there be to legitimately do these kinds of searches?

  - checking whether something seen on some crime drama actually makes sense
  - checking whether a stupid newspaper story makes sense
  - checking whether an outrageous story from a neighbour makes any sense
  - looking for ideas to write a crime novel
  - learning about the effects of certain things, say, for medical interests (medical students)

Either way - what people do should be what people do on their own; locking people up because
they MIGHT do something is a very bad precedent. And where will you stop?

Will you allow someone to a gas station and fill up their car after they had a bad fight with their
partner, whom they know will have to cross a road somewhere in the next hour? Or should you lock
them up after the fight? (independently of whether you or your partner started the fight)?

How about filling your car, and going for drinks later - having a car with a full tank of gas at
your disposal afterwards? Time to lock you up?

Sure, at a guess, looking up 'ways to kill people in their sleep' I would also think makes you
more likely a potential murderer than filling up your car. But, where do you draw the line on
what's legitimate and what isn't?

Also, maybe after you read how painful or possibly difficult your goal is - who's to say that
reading about it might not actually lead you to give up the thought? And then you still get
locked up because of something you looked up, where the result of the search itself already
deterred you (though, obviously, that can't be seen in any google search strings - you just
stop searching)...

Also, the only goal you'd reach is that now a potential murderer has to break in somewhere
only to look up how to murder someone - and then the wrong person would get arrested...
(...which might give the best possible version - look it up on the victim's computer - get them arrested!)

There are so many ways to screw this up - as bad as it is, until someone _actually_ tries
to go through with it, don't interfere...

The pre-cog route will just make things a LOT worse for civil liberties / personal freedom.

Re:bad idea (4, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243921)

What reasons could there be to legitimately do these kinds of searches is none of you damn business.

I search stuff I want to know all the time. I've searched some horrible, horrible things but never wanted to do them. This is ridiculous and should never be used. But of course, it will eventually. It had already been mentioned that searched using the word torrent would one day be seen as suspicious and possibly prosecuted.

Re:bad idea (4, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243951)

and yes I didn't read the parent post but it is none of anyones business - i was that angry.

Re:bad idea (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244087)

Actually, you're both right, in the sense that (A) there are many "legitimate", non-suspicious reasons to search for "controversial" subjects, and (B) more importantly, no search has to justify its own "legitimacy" (which is your point) because of fundamental rights of privacy, particularly investigation without due process and probable cause.

GPP was suggesting perfectly good answers to a question. You're pointing out that the question shouldn't have to be answered at all without some other evidence-based reasonable suspicion.

Re:bad idea (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244517)

Correct. Unless there's a very strong correlation that one behavior overwhelmingly leads to another that is a crime, then using one's research to attempt to predict a crime will lead to nothing more than the police showing up to essentially ask you if you're going to commit a crime. Even if you were, you simply say, "I'm sorry officer, but I have no legal obligation to speak with you on this or any other matter."

Seeing as how they can't really compel you to spend too much time with them until they arrest you, and if they do arrest you they must then provide you with legal counsel, this would not work in any way for a lot of potential criminals, as one's lawyer would also basically tell you to say nothing at all.

Until there's at least a crime-in-progress, you haven't done anything. Conspiracy to commit is difficult when there's no crime either, especially if there isn't even any materiel for a crime. Even then, one could research a crime, gather supplies for a crime, and be almost to the point of committing a crime, but then at the last moment, decide not to commit the crime. Still no crime has been committed.

Help (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40243957)

Here's a tip to you: stop pressing [Enter] when you reach the rightmost edge of the text area to write your comment.

Here's a tip for Slashdot: delete all single carriage returns so that idiots stop formatting their comments like we're still using 80-characters displays.

Re:Help (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244225)

Shorter lines are more readable.

Re:Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244277)

I size my browser to the point which I find it most convenient for me.

Please don't force your arbitrary whims on me.

Re:Help (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244297)

That's subjective. Sure, you can more easily scan to the next line, but if you let the text go all the way out to the edge of the screen you have to do less scanning. Several of his sentences would be one line on my screen requiring no scanning whatsoever.

Re:Help (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244543)

and if you're on something other than a desktop, those lines might wrap. HTML is designed to have the view rendered by the browser. Arbitrary forced line lengths destroys this ability. Are we geeks or not?

Re:bad idea (0)

dalias (1978986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243965)

Locking people up because they might do something is of course a bad idea, but the question that's actually interesting is whether somebody should keep an extremely close eye on them without impeding or interfering with their lives, ready to intervene before a violent crime is committed at the last minute if and only if it's actually about to be committed.

Re:bad idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244141)

No.

Re:bad idea (2)

jbburks (853501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244539)

Yes

Ban crime novels (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243969)

crime drama [...] crime novel

Perhaps this could be used by some social conservative group as a way to ban crime novels by bending constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press without breaking them.

medical students

Can the Google account be linked to an accredited med school?

locking people up because they MIGHT do something is a very bad precedent

It can be done without setting precedent in the case law sense. It might just involve enforcing traffic laws more strictly against someone because they MIGHT do something.

Re:Ban crime novels (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244311)

So only medical students should be able to learn about those topics?

What about if I just like to learn?

A lot of scholarly journals are paywalled (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244357)

So only medical students should be able to learn about those topics?

As it is right now, a lot of scholarly journals are paywalled. The only free access is through a subscribing institution.

What about if I just like to learn?

<devils-advocate>Then become a medical student.</devils-advocate>

Re:A lot of scholarly journals are paywalled (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244403)

You can learn a lot without reading scholarly journals.

I can't afford it, nor do I have the time to do it.

Re:Ban crime novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244315)

medical students

Can the Google account be linked to an accredited med school?

So... you actually log in to a Google account whenever you want to do a search?

Log in to search for this keyword (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244419)

So... you actually log in to a Google account whenever you want to do a search?

About a week ago, Slashdot ran a story [slashdot.org] about Google warning its Chinese users that China tends to turn off access to Google for people who search for certain keywords. Likewise, Google could require that users who search for specific keywords or combinations thereof log in first if a country requires it.

Re:Ban crime novels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244361)

Freedom of the press? Traffic laws? Are you high?

First, you mean speech- novels are art, not news. And where the hell did that nonsense about traffic court come from? Leniency is given to non-habitual offenders- ie. based on prior behavior, not potential.

Please reconsider voicing an opinion on legal issues until you're a whole lot less ignorant.

New use for Facebook (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244031)

Cross-reference Facebook profiles with AI algorithm to identify psychotic tendencies. Anyone deemed psychotic is tagged to an automated watch service that silently records their activities. Once a predetermined set of data points is reached, intervention and forced treatment commences during pre-crime stage. Those who fail repeated treatment regimes are transported to remote tropical island from which there is NO ESCAPE. There, with little more than the rags on their backs and stone tools, tasked to rebuild a new society of their choosing. Once again, sci-fi B movies lead the way.

Re:New use for Facebook (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244285)

Anyone deemed psychotic is tagged to an automated watch service that silently records their activities. Once a predetermined set of data points is reached, intervention and forced treatment commences during pre-crime stage.

So you're waiting for them to write six lines with their own hand?

Re:bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244131)

Just because I search for "how bad does truck drivers armpits smell" doesn't mean I really, REALLY want to know it.

Re:bad idea (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244137)

Or you are just curious.

I may be curious how a H-bomb works, but i don't have any plans on making one. ( even if i could.. )

Re:bad idea (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244307)

A million times this. I'm a Wikipedia junky (obligatory xkcd [xkcd.com] ) that searches things out of raw curiosity with no applicable reason whatsoever. I've also done my share of looking at gore photos, crime scene photographs, things of that nature. I'm totally non-violent and would never hurt a fly, but if the police were to start looking at my search history and profiling me based on that alone, they'd probably want to keep a closer eye on me anyway "just in case".

Just because a particular subject interests me, that doesn't mean I'm going to emulate it. Morbid fascination does not equal intent, whether now or in the future.

It amazes me how many supposedly educated people would support things like this. This is basically just another step down the road to thought police [wikipedia.org] and telescreens [wikipedia.org] . Doubleplusungood.

Re:bad idea (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244511)

Curiosity is a felony, please turn up to your closest police station.

No, but... (2)

fragfoo (2018548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243925)

They can always use Facebook as Post-Cogs.

No need (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40243933)

No need for precogs. There's already a foolproof way of telling if someone is going to commit a crime.

If they're a nigger, grab 'em now before they rob you. Call me racist if you want, but it might just save your family's life.

There are so many crimes (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244013)

Allow me to fix that: "If they're a human, grab 'em now before they rob you. Call me speciesist if you want, but it might just save your family's life." There are so many crimes and torts nowadays that it's difficult to live without committing one.

Re:There are so many crimes (2)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244129)

All the more reason why we need to be protected. Freedom and Security are the same. I believe Google's tight integration with the Universe of Vast Knowledge should provide real-time updates on who is searching for anything related to crimes, or acts of unsociable conduct, and we should be investigating dangerous people all the time. Especially those who thought of doing something bad. Hopefully we will smother them all with their ungood think and trying to hide from the video feed we installed in their internet TVs.

Unreasonable to expect privacy (0)

hessian (467078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243975)

It's not a popular notion, but it's unreasonable to expect privacy in public acts like searches conducted through a third party website (Google).

Any government knows that if a terrorist event or other great "problem" occurs, and they had the option to stop it by filtering through searches, the government will get blamed for not stopping the event.

For this reason, all modern governments are going to inspect packets and filter searches. Whether they pass that information on down to local law enforcement is dubious, because a lot of these "crimes" involve foolish people killing one another and not the catastrophic effect on the middle classes that a terrorist attack might cause.

The Slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244213)

Where is your mandatory Twitter feed, Citizen?

Re:Unreasonable to expect privacy (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244251)

It's not a popular notion, but it's unreasonable to expect privacy in public acts like searches conducted through a third party website (Google).

It is reasonable to demand privacy in your search history. I do not want my health insurance company to know that I was searching for information about a particular kind of disease. I do not want my bank to know that I was searching for information about bankruptcy proceedings. I do not want anyone to know about the sort of pornography that I search for.

To put things in perspective, the law mandates that video rental records be private. Now, if walking into a video store and renting a video is something that we can do with an expectation of privacy, a web search is certainly something we should expect to be private.

Re:Unreasonable to expect privacy (1, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244289)

I do not want anyone to know about the sort of pornography that I search for

FREEZE! Drop the box of kleenex on the floor NOW!

Re:Unreasonable to expect privacy (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244283)

I'm not sure if you should consider doing business with a '3rd' party as a public act. That would have some serous ramifications for consumer privacy.

That said, if the contract with Google ( there is one..and you agree to to by use ) says they can hand over your searches at will, i agree there are no guarantee there.. However, the issue here is the police using this data to predict crime, not doing research for a current ( judge sponsored ) investigation for evidence.

The summury sums up why its a joke (4, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243983)

So.... you google how much salt would kill someone, and how pepper makes you sneeze. Later that day your housemate sneezes and a pot of salt falls onto them killing them (Hey, it *could* happen).

This is as about related as killing someone by gas/chemicals as killing someone by strangulation is.

Re:The summury sums up why its a joke (4, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244421)

This is as about related as killing someone by gas/chemicals as killing someone by strangulation is.

What if your partner wanted to try choking as a sex act? What if you Googled it to find out how dangerous and/or if there are implications to it. What if you typed "choking someone death" in Google to try to find out more about choking deaths? What if they did pass while in the act and it was truly an accident or there was something you didn't know about them (there could be countless things that could go wrong. Maybe you missed one.

Maybe you are housecleaning and you want to find out if some chemicals interact and may cause death.

Spoofing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40243991)

Spoofing an identity to get them in trouble would be pretty easy.

Internet Answers (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#40243993)

Imagine some of the answers they found to those questions on Yahoo. I can't believe they pulled it off after asking the Internet.

Re:Internet Answers (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244331)

Imagine some of the answers they found to those questions on Yahoo. I can't believe they pulled it off after asking the Internet.

Considering they're both under arrest, and the police have records of texts and Facebook conversations about disposing of the body, among other ridiculously incriminating evidence, I'm not sure "pulled it off" is exactly right.

Actually, sounds about right for asking Yahoo how to get away with murder. Though knowing Yahoo, the first 20 replies were "You shouldn't murder people, murdering is wrong."

No. (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244001)

No. [wikipedia.org]

Cops could (in theory, with the right legal framework in place, and the right IT support, and funding, etc.) use Google's data and analysis as strong indicators of suspicion. That could be useful, but it's not nearly enough to warrant an in-person police response.

An analogy would be for me to run up to a random cop on the street and ask him how long it'd take to get reinforcements to the area. It's not the kind of activity that normally happens, so I've probably earned a bit of surveillance and a few funny looks, but it's no reason to be arrested on the spot.

Re:No. (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244065)

An analogy would be for me to run up to a random cop on the street and ask him how long it'd take to get reinforcements to the area. It's not the kind of activity that normally happens, so I've probably earned a bit of surveillance and a few funny looks, but it's no reason to be arrested on the spot.

The most important difference is that said cop probably would not (unless he was especially unwitting) give you actionable intelligence as a result of your inquiry. The problem scenario that happens on Google is that you actually find what you're looking for. I could see this as just another way to weed out "dumb criminals" (like anyone who robs a bank without a ski mask on) since the more perceptive criminals will just find other ways to go about gathering their nefarious intel, like looking for news stories on dead people to see how they died, without using any keywords that signal you might be looking specifically for how to kill someone.

Re:No. (4, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244267)

"Let's find out," the officer cheerfully replies, as he picks up the radio and calls the dispatcher. "Can I get some assistance at the corner of 3rd and main? There's some wacko here who says he comes from the Internet on a quest for knowledge and troll skins. Could be a mental patient."

Re:No. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244443)

"Let's find out," the officer cheerfully replies, as he picks up the radio and calls the dispatcher. "Can I get some assistance at the corner of 3rd and main? There's some wacko here who says he comes from the Internet on a quest for knowledge and troll skins. Could be a mental patient."

Sounds like a good way to get tazered to death...

New method of suicide-by-cop?

Re:No. (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244103)

And now that I think about it, that's also a good way to distract the cop while your accomplices commit some other crime...he's busy watching you instead...

Re:No. (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244215)

I'm pretty sure "annoying a cop" or "looking at a cop funny" or "speaking to a cop when not spoken to" are all reasons to be arrested on the spot.

More seriously if they tried analysing such data and responding in person they'd be overwhelmed with all the false positives (that have been mentioned in other posts, people researching novels, etc) that they'd have to give up on the idea anyway.

then open wifi = easy frame up (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244021)

then open wifi = easy frame up

Re:then open wifi = easy frame up (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244433)

I think that's the point: to get people and businesses that run open Wi-Fi to use WPA2 instead.

Don't worry! (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244025)

I bet you're already thinking of just a few reasons why this might not such a good idea.

If you are, don't worry, the police are on their way to rectify the situation. We can't have people pre-thinking that thoughtcrimes of the future are bad...

The Future Is Now (4, Insightful)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244027)

People who use "encryption", care about "security" and things like "transparency" are already under suspicion of committing terrorist acts.

If you have a brain you're suspicious.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/9618-newly-released-fbi-domestic-terrorism-training [truth-out.org]

Just the other day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244039)

Just the other day I typed "How to rape" into google just to see what would come up.

Re:Just the other day (3, Funny)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244079)

Showing results for How to Rap
Search instead for How to Rape

What happens if (5, Funny)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244053)

you google "people who google 'chemicals to passout a person'"?

google databases can be subpoened (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244057)

This means they are protected BEFORE there isa suspicion of a crime. But good luck protecting your privacy after. I presume this extends to other portals like Yahoo and Facebook.

99.999% false positives? (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244061)

Let's be real, once implemented, only retards would use google without tor or whatever to do searches. And there'd still be a ton of false positives from people searching interesting things out of idle curiosity, research, verifying what they saw on TV, writing a book, etc.

Re:99.999% false positives? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244089)

And immediately, it would become popular knowledge that it's dangerous, and everyone would use Bing or some other search engine when they wanted to look up anything remotely suspicious.

Re:99.999% false positives? (1)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244447)

Even a false positive might only be false after the fact. In this case, I think if the cops showed up asking about the curious searches that they a) wouldn't have gone through with it and b) might have been busted for possesion even if they still would have.

The female doesn't seem to have been arrested yet but the boyfriend has [arrests.org] . I'm expecting a breakup.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (5, Insightful)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244085)

Who decides what is 'suspicious'?

The really insidious part is this:

[...] help the police apprehend criminals based on foreknowledge [...]

If they haven't committed a crime yet, they're not yet a criminal. Period.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244231)

If they're actually making preparations to murder someone, they have committed a crime and are criminals.

I don't have a problem with that. Of course, the burden of proof would have to be a lot higher than "googled some things".

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244495)

Well put. The presumption of innocence requires that a crime be committed. We'd need to devise a different legal system before this question becomes important.

That is, unless this exact sort of idiocy is what leads people to want to modify the legal system. We've done dumber things before.

We know where this goes. (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244101)

Google searchs:
  - How to legally protest X president
  - How to legally protest corporate development
  - permit to protest in x county
(sometime later)
"Damn, my chain saw won't start, need to cut that would out back.."

- How to fix chainsaw that won't start
(Police)
OMTFWTFG!!!! Terrorist! Get him!

Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244105)

Try searching for terrorist related materials and surfing extremist sites.

See how long before you are put under surveillance.

That warrantless wiretapping program isn't for fun.

Dirty Honda (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244109)

How do I clean all this blood out of the front seat of my Honda?

Re:Dirty Honda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244159)

OK, Now how do I get rid of all this water?

Re:Dirty Honda (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244335)

This isn't google. You want to go to your address bar and type "google.com" into it then try again there.

Not enough "Oh HELL, NO!" in the Universe for this (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244111)

When Minority Report first came out in theatres, I was intrigued and went to see it. It's the only movie I've ever walked out on. Why? Because the very idea of being arrested and convicted of a crime you haven't yet convicted pissed me off to the point where I couldn't stand to watch another minute, so I left. Some years later I made myself watch the whole movie on TV but you get the point. This is the Slippery Slope that makes all previous slippery slopes look like absolute Amateur Night. Police, prosecutors, and judges are all just human beings, and we've all seen examples of all the above engaging in prejudicial or just plain careless behaviour, arresting and convicting people based on their own personal bias or worse. The last thing we need is phantom data on "potential" crimes that haven't yet been committed being used as a reason to arrest someone. This isn't even considering how such a thing would be used for political purposes; no one would be safe from arrest ever again.

Re:Not enough "Oh HELL, NO!" in the Universe for t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244291)

You SERIOUSLY need to read some more P.K.Dick.

Re:Not enough "Oh HELL, NO!" in the Universe for t (3, Informative)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244299)

No one's safe from arrest now. There are so many laws on the book that in the course of day-to-day life you must be violating some of then. And in this day and age of indefinite detention without judicial review, they can always just accuse you of something and say "Oops sorry!" after five or ten years of solitary confinement assuming anyone ever notices you went missing and bothers to do something about it. Nope, the civil rights you're afraid are eroding are long gone already.

For the time being, though, I suspect your searches will mostly be used against you to demonstrate intent after-the-fact. If it looks like an accident but you searched on those terms ahead of time, that would be the difference between murder 1 (And possible death penalty) and manslaughter and a slap on the wrist.

Re:Not enough "Oh HELL, NO!" in the Universe for t (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244345)

no one would be safe from arrest ever again

And that's exactly what they want.

Re:Not enough "Oh HELL, NO!" in the Universe for t (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244397)

have you ever heard of drama ? The entire point of drama is the resolution of a conflictual, uncomfortable situation. In Minority, the entire plot revolves about why pre-crime enforcement is a bad idea. And you walked away?

Re:Not enough "Oh HELL, NO!" in the Universe for t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244425)

That's the silliest reason I've ever heard not to like Minority Report. It's a sci fi film about a dystopic future where you can be arrested for future crimes. The point of the movie is in asking questions about the moral implications of such technology. They showed a scenario in which it didn't work very well, thus showing that it's probably not a good idea.

So you walked out on it because you don't understand symbolism in films?

Nothing changes (1)

sverdlichenko (105710) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244115)

False positives' possibility is still ignored. Let's just grab everyone and think about children.

Just use Bing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244119)

Nobody will notice.

Re:Just use Bing (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244547)

But they will notice. If you use a larger search engine, your query is easier to drown out in all the other noise.

Thought Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244123)

Assuming there's 100% accuracy in identifying potential crimes, taking action based on that information still borders on punishing thought crime. So what if he thought about strangling her? He didn't actually do it at that point. At most, I would be in agreement with cops using this information to watch the thought criminal.

AC for Flamesuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244145)

You definitely couldn't arrest them for something they could possibly do with information they searched for - there's a million reasons they might have wanted to find something out, you don't know what they're planning to do with it, if anything - but it's not entirely unreasonable that something sufficiently concerning might be the new form of "suspicious behavior". You can be casually approached for things as simple as driving with a hood on, wearing sunglasses in a bank, or going for a walk. As long as your aren't trying to arrest them for something that hasn't happened, harassing you about it or claiming it's a crime to search for it, it wouldn't be completely crazy to, say, get a phone call or a letter that just says "Hey, we're aware someone searched for x using your device/account/network." There are library books that get you on watchlists, at least it'd be better to know when it happens.

I don't think it's right to arrest them (1)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244153)

I don't think it's right to arrest them, but (assuming you had legal access to the search info) it sounds like a good reason to go to a judge and get a warrant to put surveillance on the suspect.

More importantly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244163)

How in the hell do you say Okrzesik?

Want to undercut the people? (1)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244173)

You make people afraid to learn.

There are so many problems with that kind of law enforcement that just thinking about how to list them out here makes me tired...

Post-Cogs (1)

dowens81625 (2500160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244195)

I don't see a world where actions of someone will used to prevent a crime from happening but I do see a world. That is happening now to use that information to monitor the suspect in question, and be able to have an arrest warrant in hand the moment after the crime or attempt.

Keep them busy? (1)

paenguin (311404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244201)

With the right searches, a determined public could keep the authorities so busy that they would eventually abandon the system.

NO (3, Interesting)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244219)

No. Our constitution doesn't allow you to be arrested for thinking about committing a crime, only for committing one.

How about we go back to swift and sure punishment that's so severe that most sane people wont do the crime? Instead, we have too many in jail for minor offenses, while the well connected can steal billions or kill people and not even get indited or get off on technicalities.

Let's fix the criminal justice system we have, not create one in which we make up more crimes that haven't happened.

Re:NO (4, Insightful)

teslar (706653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244353)

No. Our constitution doesn't allow you to be arrested for thinking about committing a crime, only for committing one.

You'd be surprised [wikipedia.org]

NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244441)

WHY do i disagree?
look at canada vs USA
you have 8 times the population - FACT
we have per capita ten times more guns - FACT
we have ten times less per capita of gun crime - FACT
our system is more rehabilitation vs punishing ( see texas 40% reduction in crime as they went to rehabilitation from a punish mode in one year)

studies show the more you punish the more repressed people are the more violent things become as they are forced to hold in anger and rage rather then give ways to vent and allow feelings to come out.

and who the fuck uses google any more or faceplant or bing or any of there crap. NO really.

Curiosity as a crime (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244233)

Great way to kill off any chance of a future for our country.

Author never read Cory Doctorow's "Scroogled" (4, Insightful)

cbelt3 (741637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244243)

A quite logical extension of such thinking. When it comes to liberty of thought, the road to Orwell's 1984 is paved with 'good ideas' gone wrong.

In the late 1970's I purchased a copy (paper) of "the Anarchist's Handbook". Why ? I was doing research for a story I was writing for a Creative Writing class in college. I already *knew* how to make explosives.. I was an Engineering student !

Criminalizing people for their knowledge would mean that pretty much every Engineer will end up in jail. Yeah... that will definitely not help a modern world.

Guardian angel (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244247)

What if you send a cop to scare the shit out of the potential criminal ?

Try trackmenot (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244261)

http://cs.nyu.edu/trackmenot/ [nyu.edu]
Let it run in your fav browser and have it use a set of search engines creating a random cloud of false searches when your online.
You IP will have AOL, Yahoo!, Google, and Bing looking for terms from the daily mainstream press.
Average frequency and other settings can be used to fill logs all day everyday ;)
When you do search try something like startpage.com

Short answer: no (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244319)

Long answer: HELL NO!

What do you have to hide, anyway? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244327)

Here's he biggest reason it won't happen: Google stock will collapse as people flee to other search engines that don't report to police like something from 1984.

and google shoots itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244333)

http://sphider.eu

want to search go get your own and to hell with the big boys

Fight fire w/ fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244349)

I think it's a great idea, and a great accompaniment would be a botnet of thousands of computers instructed to do "suspicious" searches. Bonus if the botnet contains computers owned by police officers, prominent political figures, etc.

No Wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244369)

It's no wonder our ellected officials keep passing draconian laws. It's because everybody has such short memories that they will soon forget about them anyways.

This pre-crime Idea has been discussed before.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20117058-281/homeland-security-moves-forward-with-pre-crime-detection/

I guess I shouldn't talk about Earthbound(snes) (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244399)

So yeah I killed Frank behind the arcade, and now I'm going to the police station. I know the cops gonna jump me, so I'm gonna have to beat them down with my bat....

(Suddenly sirens can be heard around my house)

Person of Interest... (1)

singhulariti (1963000) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244455)

....in real life then?

Maybe Reach Out a Helping Hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244469)

Seeing that Google mostly knows everything about us anyway, I'd assume they would have access to the users phone number. Why not instead of calling the cops... have a Psychiatrist call them and have a little chat. Something along the lines of "How is everything going?" "Is there anything you'd like to talk about?" Subtly drop the hint that they have been red flagged and someone is taking interest in their activity. Hopefully it would just prevent the crime.

Bot (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244503)

How about 'anonymous' or somebody building a network of distributed bots which do random suspicious searches every day of the year so the suspicious data is too much to sift through?

If they implement this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40244515)

and I google for porn instead, would I get strippers turning up? :)

Minority Report actual movie (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#40244565)

I think Oremus didn't watch all of Minority Report, my memory of it was a tale of why not to do pre-crime arresting..
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