Wednesday, August 08, 2012

technohood watch - what a concept!

I am working on a weeks-long stream of consciousness and needed to write it out - it's great how that often works. The concept (technohood watch) is a variation of neighborhood watch (no, not like in the one in Sanford, FL with George Zimmerman).  Technohood Watch is where average, everyday citizens with superior technological abilities act in a way that they may be seen as superheroes by the less informed, less technologically aware.

In essence, they are living their lives, going about their business, see criminal activity going on, and choose to report it.

The police are not always the first to see crime happening. I know this comes as a shock to many a criminal (and perhaps a few criminal justice students) but without a crystal ball, a time machine, or the ability to read minds, the police most often identify crime when average, everyday citizens 1) observe crime or evidence thereof, and 2) take time out of their busy day to notify the police.

As I noted in The odds of finding a "pattern of criminal gang activity,"the odds of this happening are surpisingly low, so to be blunt about it -- the police need all the help they can get.

In addition to the limitations of their inherent superhuman mind-reading powers (and the absence of a crystal ball or time machine), police officers are constrained by the U.S. Constitution. In relevant part, these Amendments limit what the police can do:
  • 1st freedom of speech and right to assemble/associate
  • 2nd right to bear arms
  • 4th unreasonable searches and seizures
  • 4th search warrants based on probable cause
  • 5th/14th due process/self-incrimination
  • 6th right to confront accuser 
. . . but if someone doesn't work for or act as an agent of the government those restrictions don't apply. There are many out-and-about professionals who are more likely to see criminal activity: cable and telephone installers, pest control professionals, newspaper delivery people, U.S. Postal Service (and Fedex, UPS, etc) carriers and drivers, meter readers, and my personal "favorite" -- door-to-door salespersons.

But technohood watch is designed for another population -- the folks who browse, peruse, occupy, explore, and otherwise engage in the space between my computer and your tablet -- between my server and your ipod -- between your xbox and my . . . you get the picture. This may not be a space where no man has gone before but it's definitely where few can go and not get lost.

So while folks are going through their day and they see a crime and feel the need to report it, they are engaging in technohood watch. It's related to USAonWatch and somewhat like Citizen Observer, but it's different. There are no meetings with the police or prosecutors to obtain guidance or get information like with Infraguard. It is complementary to all of these activities, but it's very different.

Technohood Watch is a crime prevention program that educates citizens on the application of basic legal principles and common sense. It teaches citizens how to help themselves and their community by identifying and reporting suspicious activity they see during their normal daily activities. It provides citizens with the opportunity to make their world safer and improve their quality of life. Technohood watch groups focus on observation and awareness to identify, report, or prevent crime and employ strategies that range from social interaction to active techno-patrols.

Technohood Watch has no membership requirements, as there are no members. The "program" is simply a venue for information and education. There are no connections between the learners and any police or similar government employee, agent, or representative. No directions are provided to the authors of Technohood Watch alerts, advisories, or other information or to the readers, and no one is targeted to investigate certain people, property, or activities. Technohood Watch participants may identify a child pornography ring one day and a cyberterrorist the next. It's a focus on the space, not the crime, with an emphasis on reporting.

What do you think? More -- @technohoodwatch

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