The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is conducting field trials of a new software system that would enable enforcement agencies to predict crime even before it happens.
The program, which takes its cue from the Tom Cruise starrer Minority Report, uses algorithms to predict crimes reports CBSNEWS.
The existence of the software, named Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST was revealed after the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) retrieved internal Department of Homeland security papers under the Freedom of Information Act.
The program uses information like ethnicity, gender, breathing, heart rate, thermal patterns and blink rate, in order to determine whether a particular person is about to commit a crime or not.
According to the document, DHS has already conducted at least one field test of the technology and plans to use the technology at large conventions and sporting events to catch criminals before the crime actually occurs.
The programs’ “sensors will non-intrusively collect video images, audio recordings, and psycho-physiological measurements from the employees”.
EPIC claims that the DHS did not get the necessary permissions before it conducted the tests and added that the technology could raise serious privacy concerns for American citizens. It also suggested that DHS should conduct a full privacy review before it goes ahead with further tests.