“His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand—passive resistance and open displays of contempt.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Data mining is the new gold- for law enforcement and intelligence agencies cashing in on the collusion between federal funds that finance fusion centers, and the for-profit-prison structure.
The Wild Imagination of the Police Database
Computer software like Palantir Gotham and i2 COPLINK are the onboard and in house databases that are used in every police investigation regardless of whether a crime is committed or not. Any time a person comes into contact with authorities, it is possible that data- even the most ‘harmless’ data will be added to COPLINK.
And- like the NSA dat trove or the DEA’s torched SOD files, these databases are filled to the brim with questionable, innacurate, misleading and often plainly malicious data.
While initially intended to help citizens in distress during natural disasters and acts of terrorism, these tools have in fact become the modern American ‘dossier’ in full effect. And- instead of a file about a citizen with basic data like ‘name, drivers license data, publucly available address, criminal record if any, disposition of case if any’ these databases now contain:
1) your neighbors names
2) your alleged ‘web of associations’
3) investigators notes from each and every interaction you have ever had with them
4) information about your politics, your taxes, your family
5) each and every other interaction that left a record in a government database anywhere ever
6) loosely related data that may not be related to you at all- but that can influence how you are treated by government and the police
Here is what i2COPLINK says about its product:
Police software for better information gathering, sharing, analysis and tactics
IBM® i2® COPLINK® is police software with capabilities to consolidate data from many sources, aid collaboration and help generate tactical leads. It enables law enforcement professionals to generate photo lineups, save their search history and organize investigations to generate reports more easily. i2 COPLINK is modular police software that can be tailored with additional crime-fighting tools to address users’ specific needs for improved crime-solving capabilities.
IBM i2 COPLINK police software helps law enforcement officers to:
Discover investigative case leadsby organizing and providing tactical, strategic and command-level access to vast quantities of seemingly unrelated data.Visualize and analyze data on mapsthrough time-sequence playback.Centralize multiple data stores in one system and discover hidden value in existing information stores.Share data with other law enforcement organizations with security-rich features, including password protection and data encryption.Search where and when needed—at the desk, in the car or with a mobile device.
Smear Campaigns and Organized Stalking of Information in Practice
Whereas once, if a person had a jaywalking ticket or a drunk driving charge on their criminal record, and it was dismissed or resolved positively in the persons favor- these databases now have that information.
This in itself is not a problem because some citizen information has always been used this way.
But here is how these databases are different- and why you should care.
To start with- remember- these databases and the multi-billion dollar police and security industry is a self perpetuating bureaucracy- a make work project in itself at the feeding trough of bloated budgets that only seem to grow larger by the year despite any actual threat.
So, lets look at the practice if policing using these databases in such a climate of make work.