Homeland Security Tests 'Pre-Crime' Detectors

'Non-intrusive' sensors collect data on prospective crooks
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2011 3:45 PM CDT
Homeland Security Department Tests 'Pre-Crime' Detector Technology
FAST technology could determine whether this man will commit a crime.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Homeland Security is trying to make Hollywood's science-fiction fantasies come true, CNET reports. While the Tom Cruise film Minority Report portrayed psychics who predict crimes, DHS officials are using a "prototype screening facility" to "detect cues indicative of mal-intent" in people, according to a DHS document. The so-called Future Attribute Screening Technology relies on factors like gender, ethnicity, heart rate, and breathing to determine whether a person may be a goodie or a baddie.

So far officials are only using the technology on voluntary DHS workers as test subjects, says FAST program manager Robert Middleton Jr. But other DHS sources have said it could be employed at airport checkpoints, border crossings, sporting events, or conventions. How does it work? FAST "sensors will non-intrusively collect video images, audio recordings, and psychophysiological measurements," says Middleton. And the DHS swears that any information gathered will only be stored "under an anonymous identifier." (Read more Department of Homeland Security stories.)

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