The terrorist threat as perceived since 9/11 has enough intelligence agencies on the hunt, so the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group recommends that DHS now focus on domestic extremist, aka homegrown terrorists, via federalizing the police to bring them deeper into the intelligence apparatus and thereby reflect “a transition in how Americans perceive national security.” In “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission” [PDF] which was presented at a hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, it states:
As threat grows more localized, the prospect that a state/local partner will generate the first lead to help understand a new threat, or even an emerging cell, will grow. And the federal government’s need to train, and even staff, local agencies, such as major city police departments, will grow. Because major cities are the focus for threat, these urban areas also will become the sources of intelligence that will help understand these threats at the national level, DHS might move toward decentralizing more of its analytic workforce to partner with state/local agencies in the collection and dissemination of intelligence from the local level.
Such mission creep is not new, but is alarming in light of the ridiculous FBI list topped only by the ridiculous DHS list of what can qualify a person as a potential domestic terrorist. In June 2011, we looked at Homeland Security testing mind-reading terrorist ‘pre-crime’ detectors. Now the police are joining DHS on the pre-crime detection bandwagon. In East Orange, NJ, police are planning to shine a red spotlight on potential “pre-crime” suspects.
In the video above, the police say they intend to mark people with a red light before they might commit a crime. These light-based intervention systems can shoot a red light up to a block away. Try to run away? All those handy-dandy privacy stealing for security surveillance cameras will track you. The message is, “The police are observing you; the police are recording you, and the police are responding.” The high-tech policing also includes license plate scanners that could have the cops come after you for being a terrorist or for having too many unpaid parking tickets.
Public Intelligence posted a newer DHS Social Network Analysis, Behavioral Threat Detection, Biometrics Presentation from 2009. It included Project Hostile Intent and improved screening accomplishments “by providing a science-based capability to identify unknown threats indicated by deceptive and suspicious behavior.” SPOT accomplishments included a “proof of concept demonstration” of mobile SPOT tech such as a “hand-held device to support recording and reporting SPOT behaviors.” This type of technology combined with optimized motion X-ray technology (page 42 PDF), has moved beyond proof of concept and into working reality in New York. The NYPD is testing a new gun-scanning technology called Terahertz Imaging Detection. You could secretly be scanned, virtually frisked, and not even know it.
“Police, along with the U.S. Department of Defense, are researching new technology in a scanner placed on police vehicles that can detect concealed weapons.” CBS New York reported. The Terahertz Imaging Detection “measures the energy radiating from a body up to 16 feet away, and can detect anything blocking it, like a gun.” Although police tried to say they would only use this scanner in “reasonably suspicious circumstances,” the NY ACLU said, “It’s worrisome. It implicates privacy, the right to walk down the street without being subjected to a virtual pat-down by the Police Department when you’re doing nothing wrong.”
Bingo! So what happens later on down the road? Will this technology be tweaked so it’s capable of scanning citizens for illegal weed? Have a joint on you and busted! How about scanning for other things like perhaps a pamphlet with anti-government sentiment. Would you then be spotlighted in red and indicated as a potential pre-crime suspect who is guilty until proven innocent? What if it progresses to ‘mind-reading’ pre-crime scans and you are having an I-don’t-trust-the-government-or-cops type day? Minority Report is coming to real life, people. It may be five or ten years, or maybe it’s right around the corner?
In case you are curious about DHS Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences S&T Focus Areas, they include analysis, observation, interaction, personal identifications systems, human technology integration and community preparedness and resilience. Below are a few screenshots from the 48 page presentation posted on Public Intelligence [PDF]. Keep in mind, this was presented in 2009 and we’ve come a long way since then, baby . . . as now even the police are using pre-crime detector tools.