Predicting Crime Through Data

Email a Friend
From and

Throughout history, America’s law and order branches have profiled citizens, both unofficially and under the auspices of policies like “stop and frisk.” Most of this profiling has been based on race, gender and neighborhood.

But what if those identifying factors were combined with other information, like how many tattoos we have, and bits and pieces collected of data by the National Security Agency (NSA)?

Would the powers that be start predicting which among us might commit felonies? Would we find ourselves in a real-life version of the movie “Minority Report"?

Jim Adler knows from experience that these questions aren’t just the stuff of science fiction. He recently created a program that makes predictions about criminal behavior based on identity. And as he sees it, programs like his aren’t good for society, but they can raise questions that are.

Adler is an entrepreneur and thought leader on big data, privacy, security, and voting systems. He’s testified before the U.S. Congress, Federal Trade Commission, and National Institute of Standards and Technology. He joins The Takeaway to discuss his crime prediction program and the way surveillance data can be used by more than just the NSA.