The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement

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NYU Press, Nov 15, 2019 - Law - 272 pages

Winner, 2018 Law & Legal Studies PROSE Award





The consequences of big data and algorithm-driven policing and its impact on law enforcement





In a high-tech command center in downtown Los Angeles, a digital map lights up with 911 calls, television monitors track breaking news stories, surveillance cameras sweep the streets, and rows of networked computers link analysts and police officers to a wealth of law enforcement intelligence.





This is just a glimpse into a future where software predicts future crimes, algorithms generate virtual “most-wanted” lists, and databanks collect personal and biometric information. The Rise of Big Data Policing introduces the cutting-edge technology that is changing how the police do their jobs and shows why it is more important than ever that citizens understand the far-reaching consequences of big data surveillance as a law enforcement tool.





Andrew Guthrie Ferguson reveals how these new technologies —viewed as race-neutral and objective—have been eagerly adopted by police departments hoping to distance themselves from claims of racial bias and unconstitutional practices. After a series of high-profile police shootings and federal investigations into systemic police misconduct, and in an era of law enforcement budget cutbacks, data-driven policing has been billed as a way to “turn the page” on racial bias.





But behind the data are real people, and difficult questions remain about racial discrimination and the potential to distort constitutional protections.





In this first book on big data policing, Ferguson offers an examination of how new technologies will alter the who, where, when and how we police. These new technologies also offer data-driven methods to improve police accountability and to remedy the underlying socio-economic risk factors that encourage crime.





The Rise of Big Data Policing is a must read for anyone concerned with how technology will revolutionize law enforcement and its potential threat to the security, privacy, and constitutional rights of citizens.





Read an excerpt and interview with Andrew Guthrie Ferguson in The Economist.

 

Contents

Big Data Policing
1
The Rise of Data Surveillance
7
The Lure of DataDriven Policing
20
PersonBased Predictive Targeting
34
PlaceBased Predictive Policing
62
RealTime Surveillance and Investigation
84
Data Mining Digital Haystacks
107
Distortions of Race Transparency and Law
131
Policing Data
143
Risk and Remedy
167
Filling Data Holes
177
Questions for the Future
187
Notes
203
Index
247
About the Author
259
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson is Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law. Professor Ferguson is a national expert on predictive policing, big data surveillance, and the Fourth Amendment. He is the author of Why Jury Duty Matters (NYU Press, 2012).

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