New Software Calculates Suspects’ Threat Level; Could Identify Terrorists, Prevent Mass Shootings

Beware software used in Fresno, Calif., is helping law enforcement better respond to emergencies.It could even help identify potential terrorists or stop mass shootings.

FRESNO, Calif. — What if there was software available to law enforcement that could calculate the threat level of a subject in a potential case of emergency? Well, such a tool might already exist.

Law enforcement here are using the Beware software which has the ability to accumulate data on a suspect’s potential for violence, The Washington Post reports. It gathers arrest records, social media postings and other useful information that can lend a hand to responding police officers or investigators on how to proceed in protecting public safety.

For example, if a 911 operator received a call about a domestic dispute between a man and a woman, the software could run both parties involved and find that the man previously had a firearm conviction, letting responding officers know that the situation could turn dangerous and allow them to proceed accordingly.

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The Post’s report also suggests the software could be used to identify possible terrorists or stop mass shootings before they occur.

“This is something that’s been building since September 11,” said Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from the state and federal governments to purchase it.”

As in most cases involving public surveillance, there are those raising privacy concerns over law enforcement’s access to all that data and that laws are needed to protect the public from the potential abuse of such access.

Read through the full report to find out more on the technology.

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