Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
I 181
Predictive Policing/Morozov: Oakland in California is, like many other American cities today, covered with hundreds of hidden microphones and sensors that are part of a system known as ShotSpotter that not only alerts the police to the noise of shots but also triangulates their position ((s) through three measuring points. (1)
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) uses software called PredPol. (2) The software analyzes years of previously published statistics on property offences such as burglary and car theft, breaks the patrol card into five hundred square meter zones, calculates the historical distribution and frequency of actual crimes, and then tells the officials which zones to monitor more vigorously.
I 183
The New York Police Department installed the so-called Domain Awareness System, which synchronizes the city's 3,000 surveillance cameras with arrest records, emergency calls, license plate recognition technology and radiation detectors. (3) It can monitor a situation in real time and access a variety of data to understand what is happening. The leap from here to predicting what could happen is not so great.
I 184
MorozovVs: But how do we know that the algorithms used for prediction do not reflect the prejudices of their authors? For example, crime occurs in poor and racially diverse areas. Could algorithms - with their supposed objectivity - sanction even more race profiling?
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson: Thesis: There will be crimes in the future, not because there have been past crimes, but because "the ecological vulnerability that favored the first crime has still not been addressed". (4)
I 188
A striking example of how such a system can be abused comes from The Silicon Jungle, allegedly a fictional work written by a Google Data Mining Engineer and published by Princeton University Press. (5) A terrorist-o-meter is being developed there to determine the terrorist tendency of users. Users who are dissatisfied with their value can improve it through their behavior.
I 190
Crime prevention/David Garland: Thesis: Crime is an event favoured by circumstances. Instead of individuals, one should focus on the...
I 191
...routines of interaction, the design of the environment, and controls, as well as on concentrating on incentives to specific behaviors. (6)
Behavior/Newman/Clarke/Shoham: thesis: it is ethically better to represent a society in such a way that people are not seduced into crime than to allow such seductions and subsequently to be punished (to visit punishment). (7)
I 194
Behavior/criminalisation/Ian Kerr/Morozov: another concern is that our personal characters are victims of the ruthless efficiency gains introduced by SCP (situational crime prevention). For example, the Canadian legal philosopher Ian Kerr warns of the dangers associated with the search for the "automation of human virtue", which he calls "the programming of people who do the right thing", by restricting and in some cases completely eliminating moral behaviour through technology rather than ethics or law. (8)


1. Ethan Watters, “Shot Spotter,” Wired, March 2007, http:// www.wired.com/ wired/ archive/ 15.04/ shotspotter.html.
2. on PredPol and predictive policing in general, see “Sci-fi Policing: Predicting Crime before It Occurs,” Associated Press, July 1, 2012; Joel Rubin, “Stopping Crime before It Starts,” Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2010, http:// articles.latimes.com/ 2010/ aug/ 21/ local/ la-me-predictcrime-20100427– 1.
3. “NYPD, Microsoft Push Big Data Policing into Spotlight,” Informationweek, August 20, 2012, http:// www.informationweek.com/ security/ privacy/ nypd-microsoft-push-big-data-policing-in/ 240005838.
4. Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, “Predictive Policing: The Future of Reasonable Suspicion,” Emory Law Journal, May 2, 2012, http:// ssrn.com/ abstract = 2050001.
5. Jungle: Shumeet Baluja, The Silicon Jungle: A Novel of Deception, Power, and Internet Intrigue, 1st printing (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011).
6. David Garland, The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). 16
7. Graeme R. Newman, R. V. G. Clarke, and S. Giora Shoham, Rational Choice and Situational Crime Prevention: Theoretical Foundations (London: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 1997), 215.
8. Ian R. Kerr, “Digital Locks and the Automation of Virtue,” in “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda, ed. Michael Geist (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010), 247. Available at SSRN: http:// ssrn.com/ abstract = 2115655.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Morozov I
Evgeny Morozov
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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-18
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