‘Minority Report’ software now available to Law Enforcement

The software is also crammed into Microsoft’s Kinect Console to map human body physiology and movements.

AFP | JULY 23, 2012

The software behind the film “Minority Report” — where Tom Cruise speeds through video on a large screen using only hand gestures — is making its way into the real world.

The interface developed by scientist John Underkoffler has been commercialized by the Los Angeles firm Oblong Industries as a way to sift through massive amounts of video and other data.

And yes, the software can be used by law enforcement and intelligence services. But no, it is not the “pre-crime” detection program illustrated in the 2002 Steven Spielberg sci-fi film.

Kwin Kramer, chief executive of Oblong, said the software can help in searching through “big data” for information. It can also create souped-up video-conference capabilities where participants share data from multiple devices like smartphones and tablets, integrated into a large video display.

“We think the future of computing is multiuser, multiscreen, multidevice,” Kramer told AFP.

“This system helps with big workflow problems.”

A key part of the system is the gesture interface, which the company calls the “g-speak” spatial operating environment.

That grew out of a project by Underkoffler — then a scientist at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology — for “Minority Report,” before he became chief scientist at startup Oblong.

“We have demo versions of this kind of software which show exactly the ‘Minority Report’ user experience, allowing you to move back and forth in time, or to zoom in to look at details,” Kramer said.

He said the same software can help businesses to “allow better collaboration, visualization and analysis of large amounts of data.

“You can have a lot of data but it’s hard to make use of that,” Kramer said.

“It can be on different machines and hard to access. This allows multiple people to look at that.”

Gestural interfaces have been developed for other firms including Microsoft’s Kinect but Oblong says it has far more sophisticated systems which can use Kinect and more.

Some highly sensitive systems use a data glove which can be more precise than ordinary hand movements.

Oblong has contracts with firms such as Boeing, General Electric and Saudi Aramco to help in analyzing large amounts of data. It is also developing a gestural interface for onboard computers with automakers.

It has raised an unspecified amount of venture capital from investors including Foundry Group, Energy Technology Ventures and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners.

Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group, said Oblong offers “a path to fundamentally change the way we interact with computers.”

Yet the question Oblong often gets is how users can get the “Minority Report” software.

David Schwartz, the company’s vice president for sales, said “We get calls from people in the military who say, ‘I want the ‘Minority Report’ interface.”

He said the systems could be used for a realistic version of high-tech software interfaces on TV shows like “CSI.”

“They would like to get it for free,” he added.

What makes the real-life version of the software different from the one seen on film is that Oblong does not supply the analytics of the futuristic “pre-crime” division.

That does not prevent a company or law enforcement agency from using the software and adding its own analytics.

“We think law enforcement and intelligence are big data users and we think our technology is the leader,” Kramer said.

He said Oblong currently has no government customers in the United States or abroad but offers itself as “a core technology provider.”

Still, Oblong leverages its role in the movies to get in the door, even if the software is not quite the same.

“I think most people look at those ‘Minority Report’ interfaces and imagine how they could use that flexible system in their own office or designs studio,” Kramer said.

“It isn’t science fiction, it’s real.”

Human Tagging Roles Out in the U.S.

Thanks to Apple’s “timely” release of eye and face scanning technology on its iPhone, now the slaves that enjoyed the convenience of such technology will have to submit to it.

Reuters
July 20, 2011

Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company’s already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects.

The so-called “biometric” technology, which seems to take a page from TV shows like “MI-5” or “CSI,” could improve speed and accuracy in some routine police work in the field. However, its use has set off alarms with some who are concerned about possible civil liberties and privacy issues.

The smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, is made by BI2 Technologies in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and can be deployed by officers out on the beat or back at the station.

An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person’s eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it takes to identify a suspect in custody. This technique also is significantly more accurate than results from other fingerprinting technology long in use by police, BI2 says.

When attached to an iPhone, MORIS can photograph a person’s face and run the image through software that hunts for a match in a BI2-managed database of U.S. criminal records. Each unit costs about $3,000.

Some experts fret police may be randomly scanning the population, using potentially intrusive techniques to search for criminals, sex offenders, and illegal aliens, but the manufacturer says that would be a difficult task for officers to carry out.

Sean Mullin, BI2’s CEO, says it is difficult, if not impossible, to covertly photograph someone and obtain a clear, usable image without that person knowing about it, because the MORIS should be used close up.

“It requires a level of cooperation that makes it very overt — a person knows that you’re taking a picture for this purpose,” Mullin said.

CONCERNS

But constitutional rights advocates are concerned, in part because the device can accurately scan an individual’s face from up to four feet away, potentially without a person’s being aware of it.

Experts also say that before police administer an iris scan, they should have probable cause a crime has been committed.

“What we don’t want is for them to become a general surveillance tool, where the police start using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the national ACLU in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, advocates see the MORIS as a way to make tools already in use on police cruiser terminals more mobile for cops on the job.

“This is (the technology) stepping out of the cruiser and riding on the officer’s belt, along with his flashlight, his handcuffs, his sidearm or the other myriad tools,” said John Birtwell, spokesman for the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department in southeastern Massachusetts, one of the first departments to use the devices.

The technology is also employed to maintain security at Plymouth’s 1,650 inmate jail, where it is used to prevent the wrong prisoner from being released.

“There, we have everybody in orange jumpsuits, so everyone looks the same. So, quite literally, the last thing we do before you leave our facility is we compare your iris to our database,” said Birtwell.

One of the technology’s earliest uses at BI2, starting in 2005, was to help various agencies identify missing children or at-risk adults, like Alzheimer’s patients.

Since then, it has been used to combat identity fraud, and could potentially be used in traffic stops when a driver is without a license, or when people are stopped for questioning at U.S. borders.

Facial recognition technology is not without its problems, however. For example, some U.S. individuals mistakenly have had their driver’s license revoked as a potential fraud. The problem, it turns out, is that they look like another driver and so the technology mistakenly flags them as having fake identification.

Roughly 40 law enforcement units nationwide will soon be using the MORIS, including Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, as well as officers in Hampton City in Virginia and Calhoun County in Alabama.

Judge sides with law-brakers, strikes down Arizona immigration laws

Clinton appointed judge puts on hold execution of Arizona’s enforcement of existing immigration laws; for now.

AP

District Judge, Susan Bolton

A federal judge dealt a serious rebuke to Arizona’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law on Wednesday when she put most of the crackdown on hold just hours before it was to take effect.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton shifts the immigration debate to the courts and sets up a lengthy legal battle that may not be decided until the Supreme Court weighs in. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer said the state will likely appeal the ruling and seek to get the judge’s order overturned.

But for now, opponents of the law have prevailed: The provisions that most angered opponents will not take effect, including sections that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.

The judge also delayed parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places — a move aimed at day laborers. In addition, the judge blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.

Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked,” Bolton, a Clinton appointee, said in her decision.

She said the controversial sections should be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues. Other provisions of the law, many of them slight revisions to existing Arizona immigration statute, will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The law was signed by Brewer in April and immediately revived the national debate on immigration, making it a hot-button issue in the midterm elections. The law has inspired similar action elsewhere, prompted a boycott against Arizona and led an unknown number of illegal immigrants to leave the state.

Lawyers for the state contend the law was a constitutionally sound attempt by Arizona to assist federal immigration agents and lessen border woes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providing health care for illegal immigrants. Arizona is the busiest gateway into the country for illegal immigrants, and the state’s border with Mexico is awash in drugs and smugglers that authorities badly want to stop.

Brewer’s lawyers said Arizona shouldn’t have to suffer from America’s broken immigration system when it has 15,000 police officers who can arrest illegal immigrants.

“It’s a temporary bump in the road, we will move forward, and I’m sure that after consultation with our counsel we will appeal,” Brewer told The Associated Press. “The bottom line is we’ve known all along that it is the responsibility of the feds and they haven’t done their job so we were going to help them do that.”

The ruling came just as police were making last-minute preparations to begin enforcement of the law and protesters were planning large demonstrations against the measure. At least one group planned to block access to federal offices, daring officers to ask them about their immigration status.

In a sign of the international interest in the law, about 100 protesters in Mexico City who had gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy broke into cheers when speakers told them about the federal judge’s ruling. The demonstrators had been monitoring the news on a laptop computer on the stage.

The crowd clapped and started chanting, “Migrants, hang on, the people are rising up!”

Gisela and Eduardo Diaz went to the Mexican consulate in Phoenix on Wednesday seeking advice because they were worried about what would happen to their 3-year-old granddaughter if they were pulled over by police and taken to a detention center.

“I knew the judge would say that part of the law was just not right,” said Diaz, a 50-year-old from Mexico City who came to Arizona on a since-expired tourist visa in 1989. “It’s the part we were worried about. This is a big relief for us.”

Opponents argued the law would lead to racial profiling, conflict with federal immigration law and distract local police from fighting more serious crimes. The U.S. Justice Department, civil rights groups and a Phoenix police officer had asked the judge for an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new (law),” Bolton ruled.

Federal authorities have argued that letting the Arizona law stand would create a patchwork of immigration laws nationwide that would burden the agency that responds to immigration-status inquiries and disrupt U.S. relations with Mexico and other countries.

The core of the government’s case is that federal immigration law trumps state law — an issue known as “pre-emption” in legal circles. The judge plainly accepted that view, pointing out five portions of the law where she believed the federal government would likely succeed on its claims that U.S. law supersedes state law.

“Even though Arizona’s interests may be consistent with those of the federal government, it is not in the public interest for Arizona to enforce pre-empted laws,” Bolton wrote.

Supporters of the law took solace in the fact that the judge did keep several portions of the law intact, including a section that bars local governments from limiting enforcement of federal immigration laws. Those jurisdictions are commonly known as “sanctuary cities.”

“Striking down these sanctuary city policies have always been the No. 1 priority of SB1070,” said Sen. Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican who sponsored the law.

Brewer is running for another term in November and has seen her political fortunes rise because of the law’s popularity among conservatives. It’s not yet clear how the ruling will affect her campaign, but her opponent was quick to pounce.

“Jan Brewer played politics with immigration, and she lost,” said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat. “It is time to look beyond election year grandstanding and begin to repair the damage to Arizona’s image and economy.”

The law has drawn considerable support among residents in heavily Republican Arizona, where people are fed up with the problems associated with illegal immigration. Ryan Alexander, 39, says illegal immigration has helped bring down wages for jobs in America and created what he calls a slave-labor market.

“I don’t think any of that is good,” he said. “Bottom line is if you’re not supposed to be here, you shouldn’t be here, whether you’re Russian or whatever.”

The Psychopathic Criminal Enterprise Called America

The Government uses the Law to Harm People and Shield the Establishment
By Prof. John Kozy
District of Criminals, for criminals and by criminals

District of Criminals, for criminals and by criminals.

Most Americans know that politicians make promises they never fulfill; few know that politicians make promises they lack the means to fulfill, as President Obama’s political posturing on the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico makes perfectly clear.

Obama has made the following statements:

He told his “independent commission” investigating the Gulf oil spill to “thoroughly examine the disaster and its causes to ensure that the nation never faces such a catastrophe again.” Aside from the fact that presidential commissions have a history of providing dubious reports and ineffective recommendations, does anyone really believe that a way can be found to prevent industrial accidents from happening ever again? Even if the commissions findings and recommendations succeed in reducing the likelihood of such accidents, doesn’t this disaster prove that it only takes one? And unlikely events happen every day.

The president has said, “if laws are insufficient, they’ll be changed.” But no president has this ability, only Congress has, and the president must surely know how difficult getting the Congress to effectively change anything is. He also said that “if government oversight wasn’t tough enough, that will change, too.” Will it? Even if he replaces every person in an oversight position, he can’t guarantee it. The people who receive regulatory positions always have ties to the industries they oversee and can look forward to lucrative jobs in those industries when they leave governmental service. As long as corporate money is allowed to influence governmental action, neither the Congress nor regulators can be expected to change the laws or regulatory practices in ways that make them effective, and there is nothing any president can do about it. Even the Congress’ attempt to raise the corporate liability limit for oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion has already hit a snag.

The President has said that “if laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice” and that BP would be held accountable for the “horrific disaster.” He said BP will be paying the bill, and BP has said it takes responsibility for the clean-up and will pay compensation for “legitimate and objectively verifiable” claims for property damage, personal injury, and commercial losses. But “justice” is rendered in American courts, not by the executive branch. Any attempts to hold BP responsible will be adjudicated in the courts at the same snail’s pace that the responsibility for the Exxon-Mobile Alaska oil spill was adjudicated and likely will have the same results.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989. In Baker v. Exxon, an Anchorage jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion for punitive damages, but after nineteen years of appellate jurisprudence, the Supreme Court on June 25, 2008 issued a ruling reducing the punitive damages to $507.5 million, roughly a tenth of the original jury’s award. Furthermore, even that amount was reduced further by nineteen years of inflation. By that time, many of the people who would have been compensated by these funds had died.

The establishment calls this justice. Do you? Do those of you who reside in the coastal states that will ultimately be affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster really believe that the President can make good on this promise of holding BP responsible? By the time all the lawsuits filed in response to this disaster wend their ways through the legal system, Mr. Obama will be grayed, wizened, and ensconced in a plush chair in an Obama Presidential Library, completely out of the picture and devoid of all responsibility.

Politicians who engage in this duplicitous posturing know that they can’t fulfill their promises. They know they are lying; yet they do it pathologically. Aesop writes, “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.” Perhaps that’s why politicians never do.

Government in America consists of law. Legislators write it, executives apply it, and courts adjudicate it. But the law is a lie. We are told to respect the law and that it protects us. But it doesn’t. Think about it people! The law and law enforcement only come into play secundum vitium (after the crime). The police don’t show up before you’re assaulted, robbed, or murdered; they come after. So how does that protect you? Yes, if a relationship of trust is violated, you can sue if you can afford it, and even that’s not a sure thing. (Remember the victims of the Exxon-Valdez disaster!) Even if the person who violated the relationship gets sanctioned, will you be “made whole”? Most likely not! Relying on the law is a fool’s errand. It’s enacted, enforced, and adjudicated by liars.

The law is a great crime, far greater than the activities it outlaws, and there’s no way you can protect yourself from it. The establishment protects itself. The law does not protect people. It is merely an instrument of retribution. It can only be used, often ineffectively, to get back at the malefactor. It never un-dos the crime. Executing the murderer doesn’t bring back the dead. Putting Ponzi schemers in jail doesn’t get your money back. And holding BP responsible won’t restore the Louisiana marshes, won’t bring back the dead marine and other wildlife, and won’t compensate the victims for their losses. Carefully watch what happens over the next twenty years as the government uses the law to shield BP, Transocean, and Halliburton while the claims of those affected by the spill disappear into the quicksand of the American legal system.

Jim Kouri, citing FBI studies, writes that “some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena.;” they share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate. Is it any wonder that America is failing at home and world-wide?

Some may say that this is an extreme, audacious claim. I, too, was surprised when I read Kouri’s piece. But anecdotal evidence to support it is easily cited. John McCain said “bomb, bomb, bomb” during the last presidential campaign in response to a question about Iran. No one in government has expressed the slightest qualms about the killing of tens of thousands of people in both Iraq and Afghanistan who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened on nine/eleven or the deliberate targeting of women and children by unmanned drones in Pakistan. What if anything distinguishes serial killers from these governmental officials? Only that they don’t do the killing themselves but have others do it for them. But that’s exactly what most of the godfathers of the cosa nostra did.

So, there are questions that need to be posed: Has the government of the United States of America become a criminal enterprise? Is the nation ruled by psychopaths? Well, how can the impoverishment of the people, the promotion of the military-industrial complex and endless wars and their genocidal killing, the degradation of the environment, the neglect of the collapsing infrastructure, and the support of corrupt and authoritarian governments (often called democracies) abroad be explained? Worse, why are corporations allowed to profiteer during wars while the people are called upon to sacrifice? Why hasn’t the government ever tried to prohibit such profiteering? It’s not that it can’t be done.

In the vernacular, harming people is considered a crime. It is just as much a crime when done by governments, legal systems, or corporations. The government uses the law to harm people or shield the establishment from the consequences of harming people all the time. Watch as no one from the Massey Energy Co. is ever prosecuted for the disaster at the Upper Big Branch coal mine. When corporations are accused of wrongdoing, they often reply that what they did was legal, but legal is not a synonym for right. When criminals gain control, they legalize criminality.

Unless the government of the United States changes its behavior, this nation is doomed. No one in government seems to realize that dissimulation breeds distrust, distrust breeds suspicion, and suspicion eventually arouses censure. Isn’t that failure of recognition by the establishment a sign of criminal psychopathology?
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who blogs on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

How to crush dissent? You make it a crime

Infowars.comDissent

A major Anti-Defamation League report goes further than ever before in an effort to purge the Internet of all dissent, listing completely non-violent criticism of Obamacare posted on Internet forums as a reason to conduct a “major law enforcement operation” against opponents of big government and health care reform.

The ADL’s April 2010 report is entitled, “Violent Voices: Anti-Government Extremism Takes on New Intensity,” and consists largely of lists of comments culled from alternative news websites and forums, as well as Fox News.

“During the first few months of 2010, anti-government extremism has taken on a new level of intensity in the United States. The arrests of the Hutaree militia in Michigan illustrate this passion, which exists both within and outside the militia movement. Unfortunately, the Hutaree arrests may come to be seen not as the culmination, but rather as a first step in what may need to become a major national law enforcement operation,” states the introduction (emphasis mine).

Such words are chilling bearing in mind that the infamous MIAC report, which listed gun owners, Ron Paul supporters, libertarians and people who fly U.S. flags alongside neo-nazis and terrorists, was partly based on information provided to the Missouri Information Analysis Center by both the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to the ADL, a “major law enforcement operation” may be needed because Americans are upset that “health care reform effort is in fact key to evil efforts to implement a tyrannical government by any means necessary.”

While some of the comments listed by the ADL do hint at or call for violence, the organization underhandedly mixes them in with people who are merely expressing their displeasure at the passage of health care, amnesty, or new taxes. The vast majority of comments listed in the report relating to health care have no hint of racism or violence whatsoever.

One of the “extremist” comments worthy of a “law enforcement operation” listed by the ADL reads as follows.

“The bill that passed has NOTHING to do with healthcare,” wrote “TXplt” on the Gun and Game Forums on March 22. Rather, “…it is used solely as a vehicle to push an agenda—to destroy what is working in our insurance industries, to increase our government intrusion into citizens’ lives…and to eventually act as a vehicle for our power hungry miscreants to attempt to dictate every aspect of our lives.”

Another example is then listed.

A poster called “stainless,” writing to the Assault Web forums on the same day, thought the situation even more dire. “I don’t think you quite understand the scope of this bill,” he wrote. “From now on the gov. has absolute control of our lives…They can now declare a health ‘Emergency’ and shut down any portion of our society they want at any time. I suspect we will begin to see the practical affects [sic] of this control fairly quickly.”

Indeed, most of the comments listed in regard to health care contain no violent threats whatsoever. Consider the following example, which was posted by one of our own Prison Planet Forum moderators.

“Have you read the bill? It is a full police state bill. Your body is now owned by the state. Your children are owned by the state. Your blood, sperm, ovaries, all reproductive methods are owned by the state. Your organs are owned by the state. This is a Nazi Eugenics bill with full bailout financing to the federal reserve front companies (big insurance).” Post by “Sane” to the Prison Planet Forums, March 22, 2010.

This is shocking – the ADL lists relatively mild comments which criticize Obama, immigration, or the health care bill, statements that contain no threats and not even a hint of violence, and lumps them in with death threats against the President as well as lawmakers, immediately after stating that a “major law enforcement operation” needs to be undertaken to shut these people up.

A “major law enforcement operation” needs to be set up to take on people who don’t like Obamacare and express their dissatisfaction on the Internet? More than half the entire country opposes health care reform. The Feds are going to be kept very busy raiding every two-bit Joe Blogger who comments on a news story if the ADL has its way.   More…