jm + justice   4

Palantir Knows Everything About You
This is so fucking dystopian:
Operation Laser has made L.A. cops more surgical — and, according to community activists, unrelenting. Once targets are enmeshed in a [Palantir] spidergram, they’re stuck.

Manuel Rios, 22, lives in the back of his grandmother’s house at the top of a hill in East L.A., in the heart of the city’s gang area. [...] He grew up surrounded by friends who joined Eastside 18, the local affiliate of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest criminal syndicates in Southern California. Rios says he was never “jumped in”—initiated into 18. He spent years addicted to crystal meth and was once arrested for possession of a handgun and sentenced to probation. But except for a stint in county jail for a burglary arrest inside a city rec center, he’s avoided further trouble and says he kicked his meth habit last year.

In 2016, Rios was sitting in a parked car with an Eastside 18 friend when a police car pulled up. His buddy ran, pursued by the cops, but Rios stayed put. “Why should I run? I’m not a gang member,” he says over steak and eggs at the IHOP near his home. The police returned and handcuffed him. One of them took his picture with a cellphone. “Welcome to the gang database!” the officer said.

Since then he’s been stopped more than a dozen times, he says, and told that if he doesn’t like it he should move. He has nowhere to go. His girlfriend just had a baby girl, and he wants to be around for them. “They say you’re in the system, you can’t lie to us,” he says. “I tell them, ‘How can I be in the hood if I haven’t got jumped in? Can’t you guys tell people who bang and who don’t?’ They go by their facts, not the real facts.”

The police, on autopilot with Palantir, are driving Rios toward his gang friends, not away from them, worries Mariella Saba, a neighbor and community organizer who helped him get off meth. When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. “These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join. They internalize being told they’re bad.”
palantir  surveillance  privacy  precrime  spidergrams  future  la  gangs  justice  algorithms  data-protection  data-privacy  policing  harrassment 
april 2018 by jm
The Impenetrable Program Transforming How Courts Treat DNA Evidence | WIRED
'So the lab turned to TrueAllele, a program sold by Cybergenetics, a small company dedicated to helping law enforcement analyze DNA where regular lab tests fail. They do it with something called probabilistic genotyping, which uses complex mathematical formulas to examine the statistical likelihood that a certain genotype comes from one individual over another. It’s a type of DNA testing that’s becoming increasingly popular in courtrooms. '

[...] 'But now legal experts, along with Johnson’s advocates, are joining forces to argue to a California court that TrueAllele—the seemingly magic software that helped law enforcement analyze the evidence that tied Johnson to the crimes—should be forced to reveal the code that sent Johnson to prison. This code, they say, is necessary in order to properly evaluate the technology. In fact, they say, justice from an unknown algorithm is no justice at all.'
law  justice  trueallele  software  dna  evidence  statistics  probability  code-review  auditing 
november 2017 by jm
FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades
Wow, this is staggering.
The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. [....]

The review confirmed that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of “matches” of crime-scene hairs to defendants, backing their claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work. In reality, there is no accepted research on how often hair from different people may appear the same. Since 2000, the lab has used visual hair comparison to rule out someone as a possible source of hair or in combination with more accurate DNA testing. Warnings about the problem have been mounting. In 2002, the FBI reported that its own DNA testing found that examiners reported false hair matches more than 11 percent of the time.
fbi  false-positives  hair  dna  biometrics  trials  justice  experts  crime  forensics  inaccuracy  csi 
april 2015 by jm

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