Dystopian Fiction in Everyday Life

The Tampa Bay Times has the scoop on a new surveillance plan in Pasco County, Florida.  The Sheriff’s Department there is targeting people for enhanced police scrutiny based on what it claims is an “unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community.”

“As a result of this designation,” the Sheriff’s office warns targeted residents, “we will go to great efforts to encourage change in your life through enhanced support and increased accountability.”

Naturally, there’s a federal lawsuit.

Indeed, last year, the paper reports, “a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that the Sheriff’s Office creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks and other unspecified intelligence. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.”  In addition, there’s “a separate program that uses schoolchildren’s grades, attendance records and abuse histories to label them potential future criminals.”

To rub salt in the wound, the Sheriff’s Office has a video telling the program’s victims of increased harassment that inclusion is “good news” because it will give them opportunities to receive “assistance”. A hint of what that looks like comes in its letter to the surveilled, which warns, “Our desire to help you will not hinder us from holding you fully accountable for your choices and actions,” and promises that recipients’ names and criminal histories with get sent to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure “the highest level of accountability” for any future crimes they commit.

Spotted via Crooks & Liars’s Susie Madrak, Dept. Of Pre-Crime: Florida Sheriff Harassing Pre-Criminals — What could possibly go wrong, other than civil rights violations?. Photo Licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Fabius Maximus Blog

This entry was posted in Law: Criminal Law, Law: Privacy, Surveillance. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Dystopian Fiction in Everyday Life

  1. C.E. Petit says:

    <sarcasm>
    I wonder if this might encourage more compliance with mask-wearing guideliness in the Tampa Bay area.

    In July 2019, if one walked into a bank wearing a mask, someone would hit the panic button and Men With Guns would respond due to the public threat.

    In July 2021, if one walks into a bank WITHOUT wearing a mask, someone will probably hit the panic button and Men With Guns will respond due to the public threat. And should do so more in Florida, with its lower vaccination rates, than in other areas. (Note: In suburban Dallas only a few months ago, this actually resulted in criminal trespass charges against a woman who refused to mask up in a Wells-Fargo branch, despite multiple signs and being asked to do so.)
    </sarcasm>

  2. Eric says:

    If it just saves one life it’s worth it.

    • Monitoring everyone 24/7 including in their homes would likely do that even more effectively.. You for it?

      Confiscating the majority of the wealth of the N% richest and giving it to the Y% poorest would surely increase average life expectancy, and likely save quite a lot of lives too. You for that too:?

      • Eric says:

        But . . . it’s for the public safety and the greater good so all these arguments don’t apply anymore per the last year.

      • Eric says:

        This is proof that you have sold out your theory on freedom.

        You cannot reconcille the contradiction between your knee-jerk fear to a virus that requires historic curbs on privacy and fundamental liberty with the exact same arguments that violence, viral marketing of cigarettes, etc. are “contagious” too insomuch as they affect others with death.

        Completely and utterly devoid of a unifying principle of liberty.

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