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back to article Euro project to arrest us for what they think we will do

Radical Think Tank Open Europe has this week exposed a study by the EU that could lead to the creation of a massive cross-Europe database, amassing vast amounts of personal data on every single citizen in the EU. The scope of this project also reveals a growing governmental preference for systems capable of locking people up …

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Such is Life...

Speaking as an openly bisexual transgendered person who occasionally campaigns for transgender rights and has been known to smoke the odd bit of weed....

I'm stuffed, basically, arent I?

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Time to rise up or leave, or both

Being British, I was pleasantly surprised on a return long holiday to China this summer that my previous impressions of day to dat living there were much less full of this kind of ham-fisted restrictions that seem now to be plaguing the UK. Either it is time to rise up and say firmly "no", or leave the UK for good, or do both.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Time to rise up or leave, or both

Christ, you know it's come to something when people are celebrating China as a beacon of personal freedom.

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Big Brother

@Aaron Em

Profiling the views of people is a means to *predict* behavior. Combining that with an ever growing and improving Big Brother level of *automated* surveillance and data processing (i.e. data mining) gives a means to predict criminal behavior on a country wide level. The question then becomes what do the people in power choose to label as criminal? … Remember the people in power choose what is considered law, as NuLabour have shown repeatedly. So what happens if they choose to define for example, political protesting near them as illegal, which has already happened in the UK as protesters are now not allowed anywhere near government buildings anymore and large organizations that are a threat of protesting have repeatedly been blocked from access to anywhere near government buildings. (Such as the RSPB! ... yes Bird feeders! ... because they are also potentially environmental protesters ... and there's over 2 million members in that organization and when 2 million people protest everyone else gets to hear about it and people in power know they cannot oppose large numbers of people protesting against them, so they seek to divide such groups and distract the media from such groups ... which becomes ever easier the more profiled information they have on the members of these groups).

Anyway, combine automated prediction of behavior with automated data gathering and automated data formating (via data mining) and you get effectively a means to achieve Precrime. It doesn't require scifi precognitive capabilities because its simply based on the science of psychological profiling and everyone can be profiled and given enough data it is effective at predicting behavior. (But that doens't make it right to even consider using profiling against an entire population, because the people in power will abuse that power … they always do, after all, they seek power as their job and if they don't others who do seek power gain power over them, so the most power seeking fight to the top jobs).

As for your comment here : "could you at least check to make sure that the few facts you have in common with reality are straight" … I have checked facts, but you evidently haven't. The key to your shocking inability to see the way things are going is because you evidently prefer to jump to the conclusion "conspiracy theory nonsense". You are evidently so blinded by this assumption that its conspiracy nonsense that its stopping you reading up on enough details to allow you to learn and see the truth. Its people like you who only learn once you finally get punished by the growing system of controls, fines and punishments. But once you or your friends are punished its already way to late to stop the implementation of such a system.

By the way, the UK already has the government ONSET database which is already effectively Precrime style prediction of future criminal behavior and that is used against children to predict their behavior! … ONSET is already used now … Its not scifi, its being used now.

We all know knowledge is power, so is it any wonder people who seek power would also seek knowledge on the people they seek to gain power over. But going as far as profiling a population is a very scary amount of details to gain on an entire population (and so very powerful). But then the people in power want power over us so the more knowledge they gain the more power they gain.

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@Aaron Em

"Did none of you nose-picking fools watch the fucking movie? The idea of "Precrime" in the movie was based on the precognitive capabilities of (presumably mutant) humans; the EU's latest plan involves statistical analysis of supposedly reliable behavioral indicators."

Which is actually a point against the EU's scheme. Mutant humans with pre-cognitive abilities are pure science fiction. They don't exist, and we can't imagine how they might exist, but - crucially - we can't say that it won't be possible for them to exist in the future.

Whereas when it comes to statistical analysis of databases, we know that the databases will be based on inaccurate data, we know that the people put in charge of administering the database (because they couldn't get a proper job) will introduce errors either through incompetence, spite or corruption, we know that the magical algorithm that analyses the data (cooked up by consultant cronies who know the right people to get the contact) will be shit, and we know that it will be virtually impossible to correct any errors in the database or flaws in the algorithm because The State Does Not Make Mistakes.

Our knowledge of this is not based on high-flown futuristic musings but on the cold, hard fact of prior experience - we know how bureaucracy works and what it does when it's in charge of databases. So if the EU told us that three bald mutant children in a swimming pool were going to decide who should be locked up and who shouldn't, that would actually be better than being told they were going to build a database. We know nothing about mutant pre-cogs, so we might be able to hope that they would do the job properly, whereas we know with certainty that a database won't.

Oh, and this is the EU, so I can't wait for someone to be imprisoned for life after the temp in charge of translating Ruritania's criminal records for entry into the database assumes that the Ruritanian word "ermurdrin" means "murder", when it in fact means "theft of gooseberry pie from old lady's windowsill". Since we already have the European Arrest Warrant, under which British citizens have been sent to hellhole jails on the other side of the continent because the corrupt judiciary of an emerging economy convicted them on blatantly manufactured evidence, without any recourse to British courts whatsoever, I can't see why not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Time to rise up or leave, or both

Perhaps one of El Reg's contributing journalists would like to do a series of articles comparing the state of personal freedom between the UK and China?

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Big Brother

Wasnt Tom Cruise in this film?

Its beginning to look like we should start stockpiling weapons to defend whats left of our civil liberties with.

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Boffin

Feedback?

Complex systems can be prone to problems with feedback. And when these predictive systems are combined with society, they form truly complex systems. How will these predictive systems deal with the inevitability that some people will change their behaviour as a result of learning of such systems' existence and use?

It's easy to end up with all sorts of unwanted oscillations (like when a PA system amplifies itself as picked up by the microphones plugged into it, resulting in a ghastly squeal). In the case of a society with these kinds of predictive systems plugged into it, we could end up seeing, say, bizarre waves of social unrest, civil disobedience, politicians turning such unintended consequences into political footballs with the result that such political activity ends up contributing to the chaos.

How are the people in such projects going to deal with these kinds of difficult engineering challenges?

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Joke

Oh my God!

>Complex systems can be prone to problems with feedback. And when these predictive systems are combined with society, they form truly complex systems. How will these predictive systems deal with the inevitability that some people will change their behaviour as a result of learning of such systems' existence and use?<

It'll come to life, won't it? call itself Skynet, scorch the sky and use the human survivor as batteries (because it wouldn't occur to it to launch sunlight collecting satellites - garbage in, human programming, garbage out, Skynet AI).

Meanwhile Kaneda is trying to stop Akira from blowing the matrix wide open, whilst Blakes seven tries to destroy the Federation with an alien starship. Picard isn't taking this lying down, having been abused by the borg (Skynets bigger brother), and they have a huge JJ Abrams space battle with sweeping camera moves, gorgeous lens flares and multi coloured nebulae.

It ends with the precogs, Martians and Scientologists taking a hit out on Tom Cruise, so happy ending all round really.

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Happy

You forgot to mention ....

@Spleen:

You forgot to mention that the day-to-day operation will be outsourced to the lowest-quality bidder; currently Pakistan, so first the ISI and then by extension the Taliban will be all over it.

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Black Helicopters

Well, blast...

Hey! Do the MPs think they're in the US or something??

:-P

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Alert

Not Minority Report, Asimov's "All The Troubles Of The World"

For the benefit of those who choose not to visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_the_Troubles_of_the_World I provide this excerpt:

"Multivac, the world's largest supercomputer, is given the responsibility of analyzing daily, in essence, the entire sum of data present upon the planet Earth... It receives annually a precise set of data on every citizen of the world, extrapolating the future actions of humanity based upon the personality, history, and desires of every human being...

Recently, however, in addition to its existing duties, it has been given the responsibility of producing a daily list of crimes predicted to be carried out by the population at large, ranging from murder to spousal abuse...

The story begins with several of the administrators of the government being warned by Multivac of an upcoming murder attempt. Joseph Manners, the man accused of the crime, is quickly placed under house arrest, despite his protests that he is ignorant of any planned crime and the unwillingness of the law enforcement officers to inform him of what crime he is going to commit. In spite of the arrest, Multivac reports that the odds of the crime being consummated increase as a result of the governments actions, continuing to rise with every further movement."

Please, read the story, or at least the rest of the potted version at the URL above. The ending might be just what we need...

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Pint

Better Idea

Sounds like insidious labour plan to convert Europe to their Data hoarding ways. I have a better Idea ! Why not make a database of everyone who DOES NOT live in Europe, then we Free Citizen's of the enlightened EU can be checked against that and if we don't appear on it we will be fine & our data can be deleted !

The Beer glass as this is Pub Logic

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What else is new?

And they told us the escaped Nazis all went to Brazil.

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