An internal Homeland Security document has revealed that a controversial Minority Report-style programme designed to predict whether a person will commit a crime is already in use.
The FAST system, which stands for Future Attribute Screening Technology, is being tested on some members of the public voluntarily.
In Minority Report, the ‘PreCrime’ police department apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called ‘precogs.’
But the DHS is banking on algorithms to do the job.
It is building a ‘prototype screening facility’ that it hopes will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to ‘detect cues indicative of mal-intent.’
The push to ‘collect, process, or retain information on members of the public,’ came to light through an internal DHS document obtained under open-government laws by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic), CBS News reports.
Ginger McCall, open government counsel at the D.C.-based EPIC, a nonprofit group, said: ‘If it were deployed against the public, it would be very problematic.’
In the document FAST programme manager Robert Middleton Jr. refers to a ‘limited’ initial trial using DHS employees as test subjects.
He says that FAST ‘sensors will non-intrusively collect video images, audio recordings, and psycho-physiological measurements from the employees,’ with a subgroup singled out, with their permission, for more rigorous evaluation.
FAST is designed to monitor body movements, voice pitch changes, changes in the rhythm and intonation of speech, eye movements, body heat changes and breathing patterns.
Blink rate and pupil variation are also measured and age and occupation are also factored in. …