“Minority Report” flashback

I am getting one of those uneasy flashbacks, this time to a movie I saw ages ago, called “Minority Report“.

“In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.”

We are really getting the preview of that now in the wake of the shootings in American schools. Some software company claims that their software can alert the schools to future crimes by monitoring students’ social network posts.

Yeah, I know, how stupid would you be to post stuff to your social network when you know there is a program monitoring you. But that aside, we are actually looking at the situation so vividly depicted in the “Minority Report”.

Should this kind of monitoring be welcomed, the students will receive punishments before they actually commit any misdeeds. Okay, that may prevent some of the crimes from happening but are you willing to bet your life that the students would actually commit them if they were left alone? We do not have the presumption of innocence for nothing. Employing the “punishment before crime” system changes that presumption into “presumed to commit crime even though actually didn’t and never will”.

That just does not work in my book. Parents must watch over their children and must bring them up as stable and responsible human beings. When parents fail, we must not give in to the temptation of technology. Remember that those who are willing to sacrifice their freedom for their safety deserve neither.

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Stainless Steel Rat

It is refreshing to hear someone speak out for the necessity of crime. Last time I heard that was from James Bolivar DiGriz, “The Stainless Steel Rat” of Harry Harrison. This time it comes from nobody else than Whitfield Diffie, speaking at the Australian Information Security Association’s National Conference 2012 in Sydney this week. I remember I always sympathized DiGriz and I am apparently not alone there as Whitfield Diffie speaks out about the philosophy of crime’s usefulness:

“I’m inclined to think that society needs crime,” he said, explaining that in the event of a crime taking place offline, such as a home robbery, it creates jobs for police, judges, lawyers, insurance companies.

Yeah, all right, as long as we do not get caught!… -->

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Murders, rapes and walking in the dark

Bumped into some statistics today and found it interesting enough to share:

  • Murders (per capita) by country
  • Rapes (per capita) by country
  • Walking in the dark by country

Not obvious a priori, say?

I picked out some for you:

Country Safety Perception Murder rank Rape rank Sweden 85% #16 Canada 82% United States 82% Denmark 81% #14 Finland 81% #12 #7 Netherlands 81% #25 Japan 78% #45 Austria 78% #28 Switzerland 77% #20 France 77% #27 Belgium 77% #17 #3 United Kingdom 70% Italy 65% #21 Australia 64% #18 New Zealand 62% #29 #2… --> continue reading →