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Police Database Lists 'Future Criminals'

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the shape-of-things-to-come dept.

Privacy 1036

Rio writes: "A article tells us about a database that contains a list of people who police believe are likely to break the law. It features names, addresses and photographs of potential suspects --many of whom have clean slates. Since the system was introduced in Wilmington in June, most of the 200 people included in the file have been minorities from poor, high-crime neighborhoods."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141907)


sp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141915)


robble robble

This bites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141920)

If they don't have me listed yet, then their database is no good.

Re:This bites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141988)

yah, spammers and trolls are definitely the biggest problem in society today. We need to get to them even before they start. To bad this was too late for you. Don't worry though, the troll police will be by shortly.

Privacy is gone... Get over it. (0, Flamebait)

mwjlewis (602559) | about 12 years ago | (#4141925)

Soon they are going to have tabs on if we wash our hands in the bathroom....

Re:Privacy is gone... Get over it. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141938)

>Soon they are going to have tabs on if we wash our hands in the bathroom...

Well, you're supposed to wash them anyway, so why are you afraid? Oh, I see...

Re:Privacy is gone... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142111)

Well, I guess it's time to move to a country that doesn't pull this kind of 1984esq, minority reportish profiling...Are there any countries like that left?...oh, darn. Well, time to create a new country then. Just have to find some land now... wait the antarctic is getting DSL...

You should have nothing to fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141947)

Unless of course, you don't wash your hands, you filthy bastard.

Soon they are going to have tabs on if we wash our hands in the bathroom....

Re:Privacy is gone... Get over it. (1, Funny)

Bob McCown (8411) | about 12 years ago | (#4142013)

A Harvard man and a Yale man are at the urinal. They finish and zip up. The Harvard man proceeds to the sink to wash his hands, while the Yale man immediately makes for the exit.

The Harvard man says, "At Hah-vahd they teach us to wash our hands after we urinate."

The Yale man replies, "At Yale they teach us not to piss on our hands."

Re:Privacy is gone... Get over it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142119)

you're the reason Hep-C is spreading. was your mom a crack head that didn't teach you to wash your hands after wiping your ass?

Terrorist databases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141926)

We also need to be proactive in preventing terrorist countries with nuclear population control.

First? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141928)


Anyways, God Bless Amerikka! Land of the FREE! Land of OPPORTUNITEEEE!!

Fuck you Amerikkka!

Not first... Stupid 2 minute delay!

Seems "minority report" is not far from reality... (5, Interesting)

yuggoth (85136) | about 12 years ago | (#4141929)

how long till the suspected criminals-to-be are arrested "just in case"?

Re:Seems "minority report" is not far from reality (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141987)

how long till the US invades and removes the governments of other countries, "just in case?"

Re:Seems "minority report" is not far from reality (1)

darnellmc (524699) | about 12 years ago | (#4142089)

Sadam has already broken the agreement that ended the war with him. So any bombs that drop in his country are his own fault.

This database is insane. Even people with clean records being stopped just so their picture can be added!!! Never mind catching all the criminals they already know are out there!!!

Stop the insanity! (4, Funny)

PopeAlien (164869) | about 12 years ago | (#4142027)

We could save a whole lot of trouble by having everyone chained up and electronically monitored at birth. We could most likely achieve a zero percent crime rate. We've just got to find someone that everyone trusts to monitor the system and administer electric shocks to those suspected of contemplating bad thoughts. Someone pure of heart. We better get voting, ideally using some of those ultra secure secret electronic voting machines..

Re:Seems "minority report" is not far from reality (1)

xactoguy (555443) | about 12 years ago | (#4142031)

Why is parent post moderated as flame-bait? They bring up an extremely valid point. What if this list starts being used in such a way, like minority report? I see this as being a definite possibility, although maybe not an extremely likely one, but it still could happen.

Not suprising? (3, Insightful)

Squeezer (132342) | about 12 years ago | (#4141932)

Statistics show that lower income minority population usually cause more crime then high income majority population.

Why does the author act suprized with his last sentence?

Re:Not suprising? (4, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | about 12 years ago | (#4141990)

Actually statistics show that there is actually a higher ratio of what would be crime in the high income bracket, it is just ignored. Think about the recent corporate scandels.

Re:Not suprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142003)

lower income minority population

The term "Minority Report" refers to a statement of a dissenting opinion, not to a report about ethnic minorities.

Correlation VS Causality (2)

immanis (557955) | about 12 years ago | (#4142056)

Stastics also show that people who eat breakfast are in better shape than people who skip breakfast.

That doesn't mean that an unhealthy person will lose weight by suddenly starting to eat breakfast.

There is a significant difference between a causitive relationship and a correlation.

That doesn't mean anything though. You can use stastics to prove anything. 85% of all people know that.

Re:Not suprising? (1)

Spock the Baptist (455355) | about 12 years ago | (#4142110)

"Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?"

Yea, it reminds me of a dog...

Re:Not suprising? (2)

drunkmonk (241978) | about 12 years ago | (#4142118)

Well, that is true statistically but unless we are willing to do away with "innocent until proven guilty" then the fact that certain demographics are more likely to commit crimes doesn't have any bearing.

I can see both sides of the argument. Yes, we have the technology, both to be able to profile individuals with a reasonably high degree of accuracy and to be able to store those profiles and mine them when needed. In this way, the whole idea seems a good one because it would, ostensibly, make everyone safer.

On the other hand, no profiling is completely neutral. There is always some bias built into the system because it is based on probabilities. And in a system where "all men are created equal" one cannot assume that certain individuals based on their race, religion, creed, whathaveyou are more likely to commit crimes, no matter how well the math may work.

Personally, I'd rather give up a little security for more freedom. I don't think that, unless you are a declared suspect for a crime, you should be the subject of investigation.

does this remind anyone of... (1, Insightful)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | about 12 years ago | (#4141933)

Minority Report?

you were beaten by a few seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141968)

redundant? []

Re:does this remind anyone of... (2)

garcia (6573) | about 12 years ago | (#4142008)

no, we don't have a tub of people seeing the future, nor do we have cars running up and down the walls of buildings, and we certainly don't have Tom Cruise running around being a pimp. ;-)

Pennies... (2)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | about 12 years ago | (#4141935)

If you've ever handled a penny the gub'ment already has your DNA. That's why they keep them in circulation.

Might as well send them a cheek swab now so they can clone you...

Re:Pennies... (1)

spencerogden (49254) | about 12 years ago | (#4141972)

And how exactly does you dna get on a penny?

Re:Pennies... (1)

Ark42 (522144) | about 12 years ago | (#4142015)

At least mention that its just from the simpsons. That doesnt make it true.

future crimes... (4, Funny)

Rev.LoveJoy (136856) | about 12 years ago | (#4141940)

Does this mean we can arrest all those about to hit the karma cap for "future trolling..."

-- RLJ

humor folks...

Re:future crimes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141996)

u = h0m053xua1

Slightly unfair (1, Insightful)

Hacker'sEdict (593458) | about 12 years ago | (#4141943)

That is complete prejudice to these people and is completely unfair to them and there families. How can some one say that these people "may" break the law? Unless we can see into the future this is completely prejudice and in fact a crime! "Judgement of character" look it up!

Re:Slightly unfair (5, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | about 12 years ago | (#4142070)

How can some one say that these people "may" break the law?

The same way we can say that John Ashcroft "might" have taken bribes from senior Al-Quaida members. He might have. And he might not have. Both are truthful statements, yet neither one reveals anything about whether or not John Ashcroft actually did take bribes.

What I find disturbing is that now the FBI is arresting people who "might have been intending to plan to commit terrorist acts". Not for actually trying to carry out terrorist acts, not for actually planning terrorist acts, but because they thought these people might, at some time in the future, plan to commit terrorist acts.

Thoughtcrime is a reality folks, learn to deal with it.

The Course of Wisdom (5, Insightful)

gallen1234 (565989) | about 12 years ago | (#4141944)

Sure it might be legal but that doesn't make it wise. What I'd like to know is where do the people come from who implement these policies? I think Arthur Clarke was right when, in "The Songs of Distant Earth" IIRC, he suggested that anyone who wanted a political office was, by definition, emotionally unsuited to having that office.

Anyone seen minority report? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141945)

I didn't, but then that's just because Tom Cruise is an anti-American loser, and trash talks America.

But this story sure remindsme of that premise.

Re:Anyone seen minority report? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141954)

I didn't, but then that's just because Tom Cruise is an anti-American loser, and trash talks America.

Since when?

Trend (5, Informative)

dolphinuser (211295) | about 12 years ago | (#4141949)

This is part of a disturbing national trend.

In Ohio, they're keeping a DNA database [] of CLEARED suspects!


Re:Trend (1)

morningdave (259151) | about 12 years ago | (#4142037)

Man, that is one unfortunate url for a newspaper. :)

Re:Trend (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 12 years ago | (#4142082)

So what? As long as they don't violate your rights who cares.

I'd be more concerned with the money they are spending on this.


Minority Report linkage ? (1)

DaveWhite99 (525748) | about 12 years ago | (#4141951)

I'd be curious to know if this program was created before or after someone heard about Minority Report ? While I'm opposed to it on ethical grounds, it sounds legal as long as the justification for arrest is not based solely upon appearing on the list. That is, the arresting officer(s) are going to have to charge the "suspect" with some crime other than appearing on a list.

Re:Minority Report linkage ? (2)

SealBeater (143912) | about 12 years ago | (#4142002)

If that's the case, then why bother having a list in the first place?


Re:Minority Report linkage ? (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | about 12 years ago | (#4142113)

If that's the case, then why bother having a list in the first place?

I'm not advocating what they've done, but I think I know why. By having a list of potentials, they can narrow their initial search for a suspect by checking out likely entries from the database. That's EXACTLY what the police do with people who HAVE been convicted of a crime. When a new crime takes place, they look at known criminals first. In this case, they've just extended the list to people who they think MIGHT commit a crime.

I wonder if they show the pictures to victims to get an identity....

Re:Minority Report linkage ? (1)

clockworx (467502) | about 12 years ago | (#4142091)

Considering that law enforcement has an element of discretion to it, I certainly wouldn't want to be on this list. Get pulled over for speeding? It could be the difference between a warning and a ticket, or perhaps even more of a hassle like arrest, search, and vehicle seizure. Police have the option of "letting things slide". I would guess for someone on this list, not much is going to slide. Empty beer can on the floor of your car? Being on the list might be the difference to whether or not the cop hauls your ass in anyways when you explain it's a month old.

There's millions of examples where this can go wrong.....

Maybe they can predict my whole life (1)

Frying Ferret (557022) | about 12 years ago | (#4141955)

Maybe they will start deciding at birth what people will do with their lives. I can see it now, they kill the kids whom they think will cause problems in the future, and give everyone else their life's salary when they turn 18. Complete predetermination.

A Natural Choice... (5, Funny)

phraktyl (92649) | about 12 years ago | (#4141958)

Just get a list of current government officials. You can't get possible criminal list with better odds then that.

Can I get an... (1)

killmenow (184444) | about 12 years ago | (#4142004)

Amen, Brother!

And why aren't there any... (1)

E-Rock-23 (470500) | about 12 years ago | (#4141960)

...Politicians on the list? Don't they come from a high crime neighborhood (the Capital Building)? Aren't they likely to commit crimes (soft money, self-imposed pay raises and yes, the ever-evil DMCA)? Until I see some senators and other high ranking government officials on this list, it just won't be believable...

man (0, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | about 12 years ago | (#4141961)

I hate it when people always use racism as an excuse. I mean sure a database of people likely to commit crimes may not be the best thing in the world. The police would probably look at it every time they didn't have a suspect and check for anyone who is likely. I'm guessing that would lead to more than 1 innocent person being arrested.
However, I absolutely HATE it when people put a racist spin on things. They are saying hey! the police made a list of likely criminals and they chose people in minorities! they are racist! NO. If you read it correctly the police chose people who live in high crime areas. People who live in high crime areas are probably more likely to commit crimes than people in low crime areas. Common sense. high crime area = more people who commit crimes. And it just so happens that in said high crime areas many of the residents are minorities.

Re:man (1)

freeefalln (541648) | about 12 years ago | (#4142069)

the fact that you're focusing on the racism part other than the database itself, is just sickening. who gives a shit if its targeting minorities or not, thats not the issue. you're right the article does make race the focus, when the databse itself should be what they're worrying about. the race of the people in the database should come second.

Wait a sec... (1)

Niaxato Blackstar (199598) | about 12 years ago | (#4141962)

I don't necessarily see why we need the database to tell the police that poor urban areas are going to have higher crime. Jeez, let poor Mac the Beat Cop think about it a second: Poor area, not much hope... hmm... yeah, that's a brewing place for crime.

The database, from the descrtiption seems to be pretty much a digital version of Deanna Troi, aka. Cmdr. Obvious. ("I think they're disagreeing with you, skipper...")

Re:Wait a sec... (2)

yog (19073) | about 12 years ago | (#4142080)

This database sounds like a bad idea simply because
of the precedent. How long before it becomes statewide
or national in scope? How long before innocent people
get their name on it by mistake, or for malicious reasons?
Having said that, there must be an unofficial such list in
every precinct in the country. A good police department has to keep track of
questionable behavior and likely suspects. It's a reality of the job.
A cop walking the beat has such a list in his head, no doubt about it.
They should have been more discreet, in this particular case.

Expand that database... (4, Funny)

billbaggins (156118) | about 12 years ago | (#4141964)

Officials at the New York Stock Exchange refused comment as to whether they would pressure the administrators of the Delaware database to include CEOs of large corporations in their "future criminal" database.

As of press time, rumors that the MPAA and RIAA had sent representatives to the Wilmington police department with lists of local computer owners were unconfirmed.

article here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141969)

The article is /.'ed, so here's the text. Posted AC to avoid k-whore.

Controversial Police database Lists 'Future Criminals'

Names, Addresses Of Potential Suspects Listed

Posted: 12:02 p.m. EDT August 26, 2002

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union are up in arms over a police file of potential criminals in Delaware.

The database and cock-tingler contains a list of people who police believe are likely to break the law. It features names, addresses and photographs of potential suspects -- many of whom have clean slates.

Since the system was introduced in Wilmington in June, most of the 200 people included in the file have been minorities from poor, high-crime neighborhoods.

State and federal prosecutors say the tactic is legal. The photos are being taken by two Wilmington police squads created to arrest drug dealers.

Many of the people whose photos have been taken were stopped briefly for loitering and let go.

"It cherished my balls" said Jack Mehof, one of the victims of the new system. "Although I had never
cum like that before, I was a bit unnerved by the whole experience."

Its interesting... (2, Troll)

deft (253558) | about 12 years ago | (#4141970)

Lots of other professions speculate on compilied data. The /. posting here implies that they are guessing completely, but in fact they are really just taking note of people that are hanging in shady areas, loitering, with no real reason to be there.

If the majority of those people end up commiting a crime, and they see a pattern, I see no problem with getting familiar with those faces in case anything ever does happen.

Now, it would be funny to see some CEO's pop up on a fbi list.... this ceo has aurthur anderson consulting as his auditor, a seemingly inflated stock price... hes probably laundering, lets keep an eye on him!

Let's see... (3, Interesting)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4141973)

Most crime happens in poor, minority-dominated neighborhoods. It only makes sense to increase the police presence in those areas, through random patrols and targetted surveillance of possible hotspots and hotheads.

The people who live in those neighborhoods have a right to live in safety. If this can effectively retard the development of criminals, isn't it worth it?

This why we have affirmative action programs like "Midnight Basketball". When there is a possibility of someone going down the path of crime, it is much cheaper to stop them when they haven't done anything than it is to incarcerate them later.

Re:Let's see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142033)

The difference here seems to be instead of starting a program which will prevent crime. They are starting a program which has the very obviuos potential to be the Mad Libs version of police investigation.

Re:Let's see... (5, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | about 12 years ago | (#4142086)

This why we have affirmative action programs like "Midnight Basketball".
Which, to the best of my knowledge has never been shown scientifically to prevent crime, criminal development, or truancy.

But more importantly, think about what this. A database is a big collection of information - or maybe not so big (yet). Lets say they have a crime comitted and no suspects. They have a descripting "medium height, medium build, dark complextion". Okay, so they first go to the "pre-offender" database. Run a simple SQL statement against the database. "SELECT FROM PRE-FELONS WHERE..." etc etc.

Exactly how is that not a search of the "pre-criminals" is beyond me. We are all guaranteed to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures". What does that mean? Is your picture, your demographics and non-criminal history not your "effects", not your "person"?

The right to live in safety is not absolute. What is absolute is the Bill of Rights. What is absolute is the fundamental protection that all Americans enjoy from persecution.

We can do a lot of things to retard development of criminals, but most of them have higher costs than benefits.

The easiest way to cure world hunger is to kill all the hungry people. The easiest way to cure crime is to kill all the criminals. Does that mean these are routes we should pursue?

Re:Let's see... (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 12 years ago | (#4142120)

"The people who live in those neighborhoods have a right to live in safety. "
yes, from both the people, and the government.

Better than profiling (4, Insightful)

crow (16139) | about 12 years ago | (#4141977)

This is probably a response to racial profiling. They've been told it's wrong to suspect people on the basis of race, so they're instead making a specific list of people they think or suspicious.

With any database like this, major issues include how people are added and how the information is used.

The article mentions that many of those added were stopped for loitering but not charged. Hence, they've broken some minor town ordinance, so while they don't have a regular police record, they had a reason to add them.

The article says very little about how the information is being used.

First on the list: (1)

mfago (514801) | about 12 years ago | (#4141980)

CowboyNeal of course.

Whew... (3, Funny)

dwm (151474) | about 12 years ago | (#4141982)

Luckily, this was in Delaware.

If this had been done in Philly, the whole city population would have had to be listed...

Re:Whew... (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4142055)

Philly is the armpit of the East Coast. If there's any city over there that I wouldn't live, it would be there (Newark would be a close second, though).

Can any Philadelphia residents explain what that stench is that you notice as you enter the city? The closest I can figure is that it's the smell of cheesesteaks and horse shit.

Round Up The Usual Suspects (1)

jacoby (3149) | about 12 years ago | (#4141985)

You shouldn't believe that they don't have a similar list in their heads. They have the phrase habitual criminal for a reason.

Of course (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141993)

Of course the database will have poor minorities. Know why? Because poor minorities are the ones committing crimes! Whether it's the greaser sticking you for money to support his three children, the sand nigger blowing up our buildings, the gook/chink overcharging you for electronics, or the nigger trying to lift your car stereo, poor minorities are the ones breaking the law. You don't see decent white folk holding up liquor stores, do you?

I applaud this effort. It shows that someone is finally realizing who's committing the violent crimes, and who should be watched. For all you tree hugging liberals who think this violates civil rights, GET OVER IT. Maybe if these poor slobs would stop breaking the law, we wouldn't have this kind of problem.

racial profiling is ok (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141994)

well if you use statistics of the amount of blacks in the USA and the amount in prisons, the results are staggeringly unpreportional. Obviously, for some reason or another (perhaps the 'badass' hiphop attittude from tv), blacks commit more crimes. This is why racial profiling has been used, and used successfully. If you don't believe me, just watch an episode of COPS. Most of the people pulled over are black. Another example of racial profiling being used successfully is with terrorists. If you look at the 9/11 attack, ALL the assailants are middle eastern. Talk about despreportionality!

This story just looks like more liberal propreghanda. The police have a hard job and especially in these dangerous times I believe this system is good and makes me feel safer.

Department of Pre-Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4141997)

Heh...Stupid Spielberg. Set that movie waaaaaaayyy too far in the future. Welcome to John Ashcroft's the Department of Pre-Crime! Lets combine Pre-Crime with indefinite detention of enemy combatants on secret evidence, and the fact that we have a higher proportion of people in prison than Communist Russia ever did... the New America, Land of the Free*

First Off (5, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | about 12 years ago | (#4141998)

First off, if you are going to keep tabs on potential criminals, you should do so on the basis of who comitts most crimes. Minorities, young people and poor people (often the same group) commit many of the crimes. Of course, the other major criminal group wealthy white males between the ages of 45 and 65. So if we are going to track these types of pre-criminals, we should do so fairly and consistently.

But secondly and more importantly, this is not legal. This is a pure violation of several aspects of the bill of rights and the Constitution at large. This violates due process, this violates a persons right to be free from warantless searches (their identity and "person" will be searched everytime a crime is comitted without a clear suspect!), and this violates the much ignored 14th amendment which pleges "equal protection under the law".

I imagine now that this is public knowledge on a wider scale that it will be struck down.

BULL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142001)

This is such crap. I can only wish bad things upon the Wilmington, DE LE offices.

Why so obvious? (2)

binaryDigit (557647) | about 12 years ago | (#4142009)

Taking pictures of people stopped for loitering. How low tech. These days, more and more DMV's are going with computerized drivers licenses including pictures. Now all they have to do is to use the dl database to compile information based on address (since location is obviously an important criteria for them) and then just pull the pictures. This could be done without anyone (i.e. the public) knowing. Heck, they could be doing it now.

Now true, this would be easy to defeat by providing false info, or getting phoney licenses, both easy enough, but the man would still be able to get a large db up and going quickly and quietly.

"minorities from poor, high-crime neighborhoods.." (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142012)

is that why they called the movie "Minority Report"?


Is this story copyright infringement? (2)

gosand (234100) | about 12 years ago | (#4142014)

Wow, what a short article. The text posted contains all the text of the article, except for the following lines:

State and federal prosecutors say the tactic is legal. The photos are being taken by two Wilmington police squads created to arrest drug dealers.

Many of the people whose photos have been taken were stopped briefly for loitering and let go.

Then after the article, there is this notice:

Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Does this mean that /. is in violation of AP's copyright?

What the... (0)

Chexsum (583832) | about 12 years ago | (#4142016)

How did they get my photograph?

this is news? (1, Informative)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 12 years ago | (#4142028)

They can have databases all they want [provided they can justify the expense to the voting public next time around]. Provided they don't violate your civil rights who gives a fuck?


From another article (5, Interesting)

Sc00ter (99550) | about 12 years ago | (#4142030)

Mayor James Baker called the criticism "asinine and intellectually bankrupt."

"I don't care what anyone but a court of law thinks," he said. "Until a court says otherwise, if I say it's constitutional, it's constitutional."

That's from this [] article.

Re:From another article (2)

dotslash (12419) | about 12 years ago | (#4142117)

He is right,

However, if a court of law finds that a *reasonable* person would consider this a violation of someone's civil rights, then the official responsible can be sued for civil rights violations and cannot claim qualified immunity.

"I hereby inform you that the actions you are taking are violating my civil rights. If you do not cease immediately, I will bring charges against you and you cannot claim qualified immunity, because as of know you are aware of the fact that you are voilating my rights."

Telling line (4, Insightful)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | about 12 years ago | (#4142038)

Many of the people whose photos have been taken were stopped briefly for loitering and let go.

``Loitering'' basically means the cop thought you looked out of place. If that's all it takes to be branded as a suspect--and, don't forget, a suspect is somebody who's guilty of some terrible crime but just hasn't been caught yet--then you better not get caught staring at a cop's jackboots.



Future criminals? The RIAA knows better! (3, Funny)

brooks_talley (86840) | about 12 years ago | (#4142041)

These police are amateurs. My money says 90% of those in the database are *actual* criminals, having managed to violate the DMCA one way or another.


Illegal in the State of Oregon, US (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142043)

We recently got in a heap of PR trouble about not caving into federal pressure to harrass persons of arabic descent. Same law.

The cops here are not allowed to keep files on citizens excepting in the course of an active criminal investigation.

There is some sense here in the U.S. It's just hard to find.


Privacy and freedom (1)

DodgyGeezer (83311) | about 12 years ago | (#4142045)

I view privacy as my first line of defense against the assault by the State and business on my freedom. Too many people seem willing to disregard their privacy, or not at least not care too much about others delving in to it. Contrary to many Libertarian values, I believe this is a situation where more government regulation is required to strengthen and protect my liberty. The US has shockingly poor privacy laws, and it seems now that Europe is on the brink of weakening their own inadequate ones. In the UK, I view the 1984 Data Protection Act as bare-minumum foundation, yet even there, the current Labour government is making noises about changing the law.

Delaware (1)

conway (536486) | about 12 years ago | (#4142048)

The Worst State(tm)

(if anyone read the cover-page article in The New Republic..)

Delaware now seems not only to be the leading pro-corporate leech-state in America (ever see where all of your credit card bills are mailed from) but also the first to start the "pre-crime" division? (ala Minority Report).

And what right do they have to divulge people's personal information without their consent, when no overriding law would allow them to do so (i.e. the child sexual offender laws, etc).
Is there any legal precedent for this???

nothing to lose then (3, Funny)

crystalplague (547876) | about 12 years ago | (#4142049)

IMO, if these people are being treated as criminals without actually committing a crime, they might as well commit crimes. I don't know about you, but if I were singled out as a potential criminal, my first order of business would be to remove all doubt by killing everybody dear to the person that lets this continue.

Re:nothing to lose then (2)

DragonWyatt (62035) | about 12 years ago | (#4142107)

...I don't know about you, but if I were singled out as a potential criminal, my first order of business would be to remove all doubt by killing everybody dear to the person that lets this continue

Trying to get yourself into the database early, eh?

Situation in Denver. (3, Informative)

Ironpoint (463916) | about 12 years ago | (#4142050)

The Denver police had spy files. When the public found out about it there was outcry. They label groups such as the Quakers "extremist organizations" in their files. The law abiding people in the files were finally allowed to view them after much wrangling, but the city kept an "archival copy" of the files for "archival" purposes.

everyone is comming a crime every day (1)

zoftie (195518) | about 12 years ago | (#4142051)

Laws are so tight nowadays, that you can't spend a day without breaking one law or the other. Now if there is enough interest to prosecute criminals and put them through legal system - that is completely another question. Overzelaous authorities trying to get promotion overwork themselves creating draconian systems like that. What is being served is control and not justice. Its main concern of the state , is to control populace, not make sure that it has its essential liberties supported.

At least.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142052)

At least in MINORITY REPORT they had precogs that could tell the future. A bunch of cops eating donuts with a 35mm camera is not the same thing, not even close.

New Suspects to be added to the list. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142054)

Jamie Fagarthy
All Slashdot Moderators

Corporate CEOs? (2, Redundant)

Dr. Zowie (109983) | about 12 years ago | (#4142060)

Delaware has a lot of corporations, because their corporate law is so lax. I wonder if they list officers of all their coporations? (a high-risk group if ever I saw one...)

Go figure, it's for the "war" on drugs. (5, Insightful)

Wakko Warner (324) | about 12 years ago | (#4142066)

The "future criminals" list, according to the article, is being collected by an anti-drug squad.

Yet another example of how absolutely disgusting the "war on drugs" has become in this country. They're paying a group of policemen to spy on ordinary citizens because they might smoke pot some day, or try a handful of mushrooms.

When can we get these retards back on the street fighting actual crimes? (Actually, do we even need the services of these particular retards anymore?)

Does anyone actually support the war on drugs anymore? If so, what are they smoking?

- A.P.
- A.P.

1984. (5, Insightful)

Talinom (243100) | about 12 years ago | (#4142071)

George Orwell's "Thought Police" seem to be a step closer. Are we going to be arresting potential hackers because someone is computer literate? How about arresting potential rapists because the person is about to hit their sexual prime?

What are the requirments for entry into this exclusive database? Income level? High incidents of arrest of your immediate family? High intelligence? Low intelligence? Neighborhood you grew up in?

Take this a step further: Just enter EVERYONE into the thing and link it with our upcoming national ID system. Now everyone is a suspicious person until they prove themselves innocent.

This is wrong on SO many levels. IMHO of course.

So let me get this straight... (1)

SlimySlimy (128337) | about 12 years ago | (#4142073)

Now some people are:

Assumed to be soon guilty and searched for until arrested,
Then innocent,
Until proven guilty?

Too close for comfort (1)

longduckdong (579308) | about 12 years ago | (#4142074)

Too many people with power are taking all these movies way to seriously. Come on people - they are just movies. It doesn't mean we have to actually implement every insane idea portrayed in a movie. It's called a "story" and I for one would like to keep it that way.

To the rest of the sane population:
If you don't want a nation based on Gataca and Minority Report, you had better start voting these a-holes out of office.

Stuff like this makes the news.... (2)

bziman (223162) | about 12 years ago | (#4142076)

...and my family, friends, colleagues, and shrinks still can't understand why I'm paranoid. I should have gone into the blinder industry -- I coulda made a fortune from a government contract, handing them out to the public.


Great idea! (2, Funny)

mfago (514801) | about 12 years ago | (#4142084)

They should start with the Fortune 500, and then move on to congress!

really... (1)

jhampson (580482) | about 12 years ago | (#4142085)

The people listed as "likely perps" are people already-harrassed for loitering and DWB.
It's not at all an Online Issue(why YRO then?).
Unless they expand the list to cover people who've downloaded Kazaa or go to pr0n sites, most of us who read /. are safe!

P.S.: I wish that people wouldn't post stories already on The Register, the Drudge Report,
Anchordesk(they often get their news from /. Let's get with it Dave C!),or MSN!

There is already a list of ... (5, Funny)

Frank of Earth (126705) | about 12 years ago | (#4142095)

... here []

I would best most of those CEO's don't live in high crime areas

[This was a joke to the moderator challenged]

at most this is police harrasment (2)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 12 years ago | (#4142101)

This is not some Orwellian Big-Brother program. This is an effort by a local police agency to apply pressure to street-level drug dealers to push them out of the area. It's a desperate move that will unlikely halt drug use or sales, but may shuffle it off the regular corners for a short time. The article says police have been temporarily detaining loiterers and photographing them, then releasing them and posting their pictures on the interweb. This reminds me of how people in one community who were bothered by men cruising a particular public restroom in a park for anonymous sex started shooting video of the outside of the restroom and showed the video on public access TV. The slight difference here it that the TV show never said, "These guys are having gay sex or will have gay sex." It left it up to the viewers to infer. In the wilmington police operation, they're saying these people are likely to commit a crime, which is really hard to back up.

Perhaps drawing attention to these loiterers will get their parents involved and maybe they won't prove the cops right.


I don't like it, but... (1, Flamebait)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | about 12 years ago | (#4142103)

>most of the 200 people included in the file have been minorities from poor, high-crime neighborhoods.

I bet if they targeted White CEO Execs, everyone would cheer in rejoice. I can't stand special interest groups, tree huggers and minority lovers. Because a bunch of minorities is in the database, it's all wrong. If it were 200 White CEO's I'd bet most people would feel different.

From what it looks like... (4, Interesting)

Restil (31903) | about 12 years ago | (#4142104)

They're just crusing high crime areas (where the probabability is greater that a resident will be involved in criminal activity), then they find someone who's doing anything that's even remotely in violation of the law (loitering for instance), then adding them to the probability list.

And of course, they cite numbers of "successful guesses" but fail to mention how many misses. Its not necessarily meaningful. Very VERY few people are completely 100% in compliance with the law. I wouldn't go so far to say that someone who occasionally speeds is to be considered a criminal, but if you look at the teeth many laws have, especially copyright law, many of us are in violation to the degree that we could spend many thousands of years in prison and be fined billions of dollars, should they bring those cases to court and press the maximums.

6.6 Million americans (about 3%) are currently under supervision of a correctional institution, either in prison, or on parole or probation. And that's RIGHT NOW. That's a significant percentage of the population. To drive around someplace where that percentage is signficantly higher, it wouldn't be terribly unlikely to get a 10% matchup with pure guessing by pointing out random people who will one day end up in trouble with the law. To tout statistical probabilities as indications that this system is any more useful than pursusing criminals after the crime has been commmited is nothing more than a lazy effort to create the impression that something is being done about the "problem".

What is the point of this anyway? So someone's name is on a "future criminals" list. Does that make any difference when a trial comes up? I suppose if there's a murder, and one of the suspects happens to be on the list, that might be something, but if the only critiera for being added to the list was the fact that you once jaywalked 5 years ago, there would be little grounds to take it seriously, and defense lawyers would have a field day if someone was held longer than necessary based only on such inconsequencial evidence.


Ellen Feiss mpegs -- smoke a bowl, buy a mac! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4142105)

Stoner Chicks Rule []

hmmm.... (1)

dotgod (567913) | about 12 years ago | (#4142122)

This sounds like the beginning of a system like the one used in Asimov's "All the Troubles of the World" [] .
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