Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Big Data Platform for "Precrime"

China is attempting to build a big data platform to predict terrorist acts before they take place. The chief engineer for the military contractor told reporters that although it is extremely important to examine the cause of an act of terror, it is even more important “to predict the upcoming activities” to stop acts of terror before they take place. In order to accomplish this, the Communist Party directed one of China’s largest defense contractors, “China Electronics Technology Group, to develop software to collate data on jobs, hobbies, consumption habits, and other behavior of ordinary citizens” to help predict future terrorist acts. By using its extensive surveillance, China will permit authorities to profile individual citizens based upon certain results, such as what is found on their online behaviors, financial transactions, where they go, and who they see. 
The bottom line is that China is building a data analytics platform to attempt to help the leaders in China better identify terrorists before they strike. The system being put into place is meant to watch for surprising transfers of money, calls across seas by citizens with no relatives outside the country, and other possible events that might indicate they were plotting an illegal action. In my opinion this article overlooked the privacy and security concerns that could potentially come with this substantial surveillance. Although the article did not go into any detail about it, I think it is important to explain the impact that could be had on the average citizen of China as a result of this extreme surveillance. Another issue I saw with what China is doing is that it does not seem like this will stop terrorists from other countries from coming into China, since all the data being collected is on their own citizens. Although neither article went into detail about it, I would think that this big data platform would have a positive impact on crime in China, but not so much for terrorism.


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