What If Crime Were Impossible?

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1 What If Crime Were Impossible? The Use of Computer Technology N. Richard Wagner

2 July 1, Copyright 1999 by N. Richard Wagner. All rights reserved. Dedicated to my mother, born Alberta Ruth Hetzer and to my father, Ralph Richard Wagner.

3 A Golden Age, whether of art or music or science or peace or plenty, is out of reach of our economic and governmental techniques. Something may be done by accident, as it has from time to time in the past, but not by deliberate intent. At this very moment enormous numbers of intelligent men and women of good will are trying to build a better world. But problems are born faster than they can be solved. Our civilization is running away like a frightened horse, her flanks flashing with sweat, her nostrils breathing a frothy mist; and as she runs, her speed and her panic increase together. As for your politicians, your professors, your writers let them wave their arms and shout as wildly as they will. They can t bring the frantic beast under control. B.F. Skinner, Walden Two (quote from the main character, Frazier),

4 iv

5 Preface Contents 1. Introduction 1 New Circumstances / 2 Crimes / 4 Preventing Crimes / 6 Public Versus Private Space / 7 Outline of Uses / 8 Technical, Legal, and Ethical Issues / 9 Summary / Traffic 17 An Assessment / 20 Current Traffic Surveillance / 22 Recommendations / Identification 27 Verification / 29 Speculative Verification / 32 Identification / 36 National Identification / 37 Recommendations / Fingerprinting 45 Fingerprints on Physical Objects / 47 Hiding Information / 50 Fingerprints on Data / 51 Statistical Fingerprints / 53 Subtle Fingerprints / 55 Crime-proof Hardware / 57 Summary / Surveillance 63 Public Space and Private Space / 64 Surveillance in Public Space / 66 Surveillance in the Workplace / 68 Surveillance and Control / 69 From finger to Mirror Worlds / 71 Proposals / Privacy 79 Cryprography / 81 Public-Key Cryptography / 84 Perfect Cryptography / 85 U.S. Cryptographic Policy / 87 Is Privacy Important? / 92 Privacy of Data / 93 Recommendations / Anonymity 101 Traditional Anonymity / 103 Anonymity on the Net / 105 vii

6 vi What If Crime Were Impossible? Future Anonymous Services / 107 Summary / Education 113 Information as Wealth Knowledge as Power / 116 Intelligent Tutors / 118 Simulation / 119 Virtual Reality / 121 Conditioning / 122 The Future of Education / The Dark Side 129 Warfare / 130 Pornography / 133 Gambling / 135 Other Problems / 136 Countermeasures / Communities 145 Creating Communities / 146 Traditional Communities / 148 Virtual Communities / 151 Future Communities / Agents 157 Ancient History / 158 Re-inventing the Wheel / 160 Intelligent Agents / 161 Agents for Monitoring / 163 Problems with Agents / Planning 169 The Difficulty of Planning / 170 Lack of Planning / 171 Those Who Predict / 174 Support for Planning / The Future 179 Technology growth / 181 Limits to Optimism / 182 Anti-technology / 184 Justification / 186 What to Do / 187 The Future of Society / 190 Scenario: Walden Three 195 Glossary 269 Table of Uses 275 References 277 Acknowledgments 283 Index 285

7 Preface... what can I not do? I tell you I am very subtle. When you and Adam talk, I hear you say Why? Always Why? You see things; and you say Why? But I dream things that never were; and I say Why not?... imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire; you will what you imagine; and at last you create what you will. G.B. Shaw, Back to Methuselah, DURING A 1986 COMPUTER ethics course that my friend Myles McNally and I were teaching, 2 he mentioned the phrase What if crime were impossible? It struck me as profound these were magic words, words of power. I imagined societies with better planning, tighter control, more interference, and at the same time with openness and privacy. What if we made full use of computer technology, to enhance our security and our lives? Indeed, what if crime were impossible? This book explores technological possibilities for society, including controversial techniques like computer surveillance and tracking, and sophisticated identification of individuals. Readers may misunderstand, picturing total computer control, George Orwell s Big Brother. 3 Yet the key concept is openness of access to information about activities in the public sphere, including individual, business, and government activities. 4 Hand-in-hand with this openness is the gathering and logging of information about all public activities, for one must possess the information in order to provide it. Part of the logged information would be available to everyone, and part only to proper authorities and under special circumstances. This book s ideas rest on two other foundations. There must not be just free speech, but empowered free speech making it easy to contact any individual or group desiring such contact, easy to start a discussion group, easy to let others know about important events. 5 Finally, there must be guaranteed privacy of activities inside one s own private space, including absolute privacy of communications between individuals and of private stored information. For the realization of these goals, planning and education are essential. The

8 viii What If Crime Were Impossible? renewed society I envision will require careful planning, while new forms of education, supported by computers, will play a great role in crime reduction. Sophisticated tools for both planning and education will be in the hands of ordinary citizens. From my background I have a bias toward the United States toward its strengths and its problems, but the book s techniques apply everywhere. Citizens in many countries, including the U.S., are pulling in all directions now, tearing their societies apart, some proposing technological approaches to problems and others distrusting technology the technocrats versus the Luddites. I am on the technology side, and so as problems grow, as technology improves, I see opportunities for change. Societies should ride the crest of this wave of change to take advantage of the new possibilities. Computers will not solve all problems with a quick technological fix. Quite the contrary, this technology will strengthen many existing approaches to society s problems. Nothing mentioned here is intended to replace the ways human beings have developed to handle problems, to get along with one another, using techniques from religion, philosophy, medicine, psychology, education, and law enforcement. And the computers can create problems, too: new varieties of crimes or a better job at old ones, as well as possible abuses of the power given by these computers especially abuses in areas like surveillance, identification, and tracking. However, the benefits far outweigh any new problems. The openness of access to information, if applied to the computers themselves, and to the surveillance and tracking, will limit abuses. Thus the computers must be used with care and with controls in place. I feel an urgency as I write, a need to finish this book. Technical societies are changing rapidly; possibilities discussed in the book are happening right now, too fast. Instead of openness, privacy, and free speech, society may end up only with control and surveillance. Companies and governments gather and exchange ever more private information about individuals. Countries are proposing to limit the use of cryptography and to mandate hardware that will facilitate wiretaps. At this unique point in history, society faces choices of how to use the developing technology, and it may make the wrong choices. San Antonio, October, 2000

9 1 Introduction I am surprised that [the writer] would be happy with a Gestapo - type electromechanical monster watching over his every move. His philosophy attacks our freedom. Letter opposed to traffic monitoring, IEEE Spectrum, April, The move [licensing of encryption technology] was dreaded by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who are fighting for backdoor keys to these systems so they may monitor transmissions in the same way they can obtain wiretap warrants. [An] Arizona prosecutor [said] that law officials claim many serial killers, child molesters and rapists like to keep a diary of their crimes; and increasingly they re doing it on computers. Newstrack section, Communications of the ACM, August, IN 1980 I ENTERED a smoke-filled room for a seminar on the ethics of computer technology 2 and took the only remaining seat next to the chainsmoking source of the room s hazy air. This gentleman, a physicist, proceeded to rail against harm to society from computers. I started disliking him for more than his smoke, but the clever rejoinders came to me later just as well. Physicists bristle at the implication of harm from their science. The irony of his own science s increasing dependence on computers was lost on him. Even in 1980, I knew that software failures had led to large financial losses, as well as deaths, and such problems have since multiplied. But this physicist was worried about control of society, about loss of freedom. I still see little harm to the structure of society from computers not even much potential for harm. Like it or not, the computers impact on people s daily lives is inescapable; anyone who objects to computers is not considering how established they are and how

10 2 What If Crime Were Impossible? much their absence would be missed. We ll all be slaves, opponents say, with cameras and computers following our every move, our every thought. As if a society could not enslave its members without computers. The Khmer Rouge did not use laptop computers when marching the Cambodian population into the countryside. Computers would make control of people so easy, the opponents say, that it could slip up on us. The computers might make control easier, but the same technology will enable free and wide dissemination of ideas and information just what is needed to prevent such control. We will keep you from using this technology, opponents say. It s too dangerous. True, they can keep individuals from using it, while private companies and governments use computer technology right now to invade privacy. Criminals will keep their secrets on computers, they say, and will talk to one another with no chance of a wiretap. How will we catch them? Are they going to forbid individuals from using a language not known to their wiretappers? 3 Rather than making secure communication impossible, focus on the crime and make it impossible. Society should embrace the computer revolution, should use the available computer technology in all its forms, not timidly, but boldly, with imagination. New Circumstances This book is not so much about new ideas as about new circumstances, a new setting for old ideas. It is a more dangerous, crowded world than ever before. While the world has always been dangerous, and there were crowded cities in ancient times, today s dangers are more complex and confusing, and the population continues to grow. In fact, a variety of technologically sophisticated devices are directed against individuals by criminals, by corporations, and even by governments. There are the familiar problems, not directly related to computers: overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, pollution, drugs, unstable governments, international crime, refugees, ideologically-motivated destructive acts the list could be continued indefinitely. But technological improvements, particularly in computer hardware and software, permit a much better, cheaper, and easier job of surveillance, tracking, monitoring, identification, data gathering, and data correlation. Other improvements make secure communication and secure data storage possible. Still other

11 1. Introduction 3 improvements enable open communication on a vast scale. The computer revolution, the greatest technological advance in history, is passing over society like a tidal wave. All aspects of daily life will change, nothing can remain static as the wave passes. This technology will transform education, health care, communications, entertainment, the arts, long-term planning all the areas of human endeavor. Many groups are putting this computer technology to use anyway, including private corporations, organized crime, and governments. Societies would do better bringing these capabilities into the open and letting individuals participate letting them enjoy the benefits. Should individuals cower in their homes, behind alarm systems, with guns and guard dogs, afraid to go out at night, not knowing what they might meet? Or would it not be better to keep track of the threats in the dark? No harm from computers? What about warfare? opponents say. What about computer pornography? Computer sabotage by hackers? Finally, playing a trump card, they say: What about programmer incompetence, especially the year 2000 problem and its possible consequences? 4 Yes, any technology can be put to bad use, but the first two problems exist separate from any enabling computer technology. The latter problem results from not doing a good job of using the computers. And new categories of crimes are coming into existence, ones not thought of or not possible before, and with the power this technology provides comes abuses and misuses. The computers enable the bad as well as the good, but society can engineer a positive surplus. Two groups are debating privacy and the use of computers in the United States. The liberal group, represented by the first quote at the start of this chapter, would prevent computer monitoring of individuals, and would welcome secure communication and storage to maintain unbreakable secrets. The law-andorder group, exemplified by the second quote, would use computers for tracking and surveillance, and would forbid uses for privacy and secrecy in particular they would suppress the use of cryptography a powerful tool to protect privacy and prevent crime. Society should follow neither course. Instead it should use this technology both to keep track of who is where and to support the secrecy of what they are doing in private and much more besides. I foresee a dissemination of information, a immense flow that is the key to preventing abuse, since

12 4 What If Crime Were Impossible? open access to information about all public activities limits these activities. Crimes Divide crimes into seven categories, according to the outcome. Here crime also refers to unlawful activities people might wish to carry out but cannot, and even to those they might carry out under other circumstances. The categories are: 1. Crime undetected: No one knows the crime occurred. 2. Perpetrator undetected: Only the perpetrator knows who did it. 3. No punishment: The perpetrator is known, but no one is willing or able to do anything about it. 4. Punishment: One punishes the perpetrator after the fact. 5. Deterrence: One deters the perpetrator, perhaps by fear of punishment. 6. Physically impossible: One arranges things physically so that the crime is impossible. 7. Behaviorally impossible: One uses upbringing, education, conditioning, and the influence of an open and just society, so that a would-be perpetrator does not want to commit crimes or does not think about them. This book s title calls for category 6, with category 7 as a long-term goal, though many of the proposals are in category 5 using fear of detection to deter. Place these categories in a two-dimensional chart, with ranges from bad to Good good, for society and for the perpetrator, on the two axes. 1 7 The diagram is not intended to give quantitative information, but only the idea of a 2 6 curve, beginning and ending Perpetrator with a category good for the perpetrator, while traversing 3 5 the scale from bad to good Bad Bad 4 Society Good for society. For example, category 1 is good for the perpetrator, but bad for society, so it is located in the upper left corner, at the upper (good) side of the perpetrator scale, and the left (bad) side of the society scale. Current society is mostly stuck in categories 2 through 5: not good for the perpe-

13 1. Introduction 5 trator or for society. Category 1 is also common, engendering efforts by society to detect these crimes. Much depends on the implementation of categories 6 and 7. Certain forms of physical impossibility might lead an individual to forget the activity, achieving category 7 after a fashion. Other forms could lead to increasing frustration and an eventual blowup. Surely moral education, conditioning or some other direct method to reach category 7 would be preferable. However, not all direct methods are desirable: consider drugs or a lobotomy used to make someone forget about crime. Notice that, for dangerous individuals, society already uses the costly and inefficient method of imprisonment to try to achieve category 6, and it is often ineffective. Society can and must do far better, and computer technology can help. Technology gives society possibilities not previously imagined for eliminating crime. For example, an individual will be able, if he chooses, to accept electronic communications only from people who identify themselves. As described later in the book, the identification can be perfect and foolproof. The individual would simply not learn of attempts at anonymous or falsely attributed electronic communication. This takes the anonymous part out of anonymous hate mail. The same technology will let anyone screen out mail from a particular individual, say, someone sending persistent, but not anonymous, hate mail. Thus society can make the crime of anonymous electronic hate mail impossible, if it wants, by using suitable authentication and screening. This crime then becomes a non-issue, a non-crime, allowing concentration on other matters. Society could render many crimes impossible. The definition of crime is important, and one cannot expect uniform agreement. Extend the use of the word crime beyond just unlawful acts, to unethical actions. In this extended sense, governments can also commit crimes against their citizens and against others. Historically these have been the worst crimes: the crimes against humanity. Throughout history, there have been horrible examples of genocide and destruction of culture, but even removing or denying the right of privacy is such a crime. George Orwell s 1984 carried this to an extreme, not just with the invasion of physical privacy, but with the invasion of privacy of thoughts. Orwell imagined an artificial simple language, Newspeak, introduced to help control the population.

14 6 What If Crime Were Impossible? Don t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Orwell presented this as a serious possibility, but it is a parody of the proposals here. 5 Preventing Crimes Even if the goal is to make crime impossible, society must often be content with reducing or deterring crime, rather than eliminating it. A list of general methods for dealing with crimes partly parallels the list in the previous section. Detect the crime after its commission, without identifying the criminal. This lowest, minimal level is important in many cases: If an illegal logging operation cuts trees, nothing will be done unless society learns about the felled trees. This example illustrates this book s emphasis on open access to information, since knowing about a crime is the first step, and often the crucial step, toward preventing it. Detect the crime after the fact and identify the criminal. In this way society can prevent a repetition of the crime by the same individual. As a bonus, the existence of such detection mechanisms will deter many criminals. Detect the crime during its commission. It may be possible to stop the crime before it is completed, so in a sense there may be no crime. In cases such as illegal pollution, for example, society may not know the criminal s identity but can still detect and halt the crime. Change objects that might be used for crimes so that the objects will not work in committing the crimes. Such objects are called crime-proof. For example, a variety of techniques could restrict the use of guns to their owner and to special circumstances, such as hunting season or outside buildings. Remove or eliminate objects used to commit crimes. Thus society would keep guns from muggers and spray paint cans from graffiti vandals. Society uses various limited versions of this strategy, but much more is possible. Remove the motive for the crime. This is a complex and subtle method with many approaches. Society could in theory use education, the instillation of morals, or other means to raise individuals who do not think about crime or do not want to commit crimes. With the desperate poor who commit crimes to

15 1. Introduction 7 survive, society could again in theory improve the lives of these poor. One could remove the motive for theft by constructing objects that no longer work when stolen, so that a stolen television set is useless to a thief. As a partial solution, if effective methods identify a stolen television set and prevent its resale, that will eliminate the motive for many such thefts. Make the crime non-existent or meaningless. Certain changes to society will eliminate the context for a former crime. For example, counterfeiters are fond of printing fake U.S. $100 bills, and the counterfeit bills are so good that the U.S. Treasury Department is adding security features to its bills, working down from $100 bills. But a better solution will eliminate paper money, so that there is no crime of physical counterfeiting. 6 Similarly, in a cashless society, a low-technology robber who wants to take cash from stores will soon be out of work. Public Versus Private Space Individuals on both sides of the privacy debate see society s options as a choice between developing technologies for surveillance and developing those for privacy. Society should employ both technologies, with wide and open surveillance in public space and absolute privacy in private space. For this reason, everyone needs a clearly-defined, inviolate private space, both physical and electronic. The electronic version might be distributed, but it should be just as secure as if it were in the person s private physical space. Everything outside private space is in public space. Chapter 5 gives more complete definitions of private and public space, but briefly, private space includes the contents of ordinary and electronic mail, as well as the identity of people in private vehicles also one s own home and the activities inside. Public space includes any activities where strangers are permitted, along with any actions involving hazardous materials, the identity of anyone taking public transportation, and the fact that mail was sent (when, from whom, and to whom). Some people will dislike plans for extensive surveillance in public space. They might envision a camera in every public toilet, checking for those who do not flush after each use, so they can be fined or jailed. In fact, there should be cameras and microphones in public toilets, to protect against robberies, assaults,

16 8 What If Crime Were Impossible? and vandalism. Right now most societies have no fine for failure to flush, but a decision about such fines is independent of decisions about surveillance. A person facing an assault in a public toilet will not be worrying about fines. The U.S. is moving toward small, private communities that use guards and gates to restrict access. This version of security and privacy for the wealthy is obscene, the opposite of what society ought to do, a perversion of attempts to head toward a safe and open environment. In this vision of the future, the poor are stuck with wretched lives of degradation and crime, while the wealthy buy what security they can an illusion of security that fails when they leave their protected communities, and even fails inside, as they try to keep crime out and try to hire honest guards. 7 There is a tradeoff between security and privacy. This book suggests trading some privacy in the public arena, outside one s own personal space, for additional safety and security, using advanced computer technology. At the same time the technology will enhance not only personal privacy, but knowledge of public activities carried out by other individuals and groups. Finally, the technology will support free speech, planning, education, and other important human activities. Outline of Uses Despite this book s stated objective of using computer technology to make crime impossible, the bulk of the applications actually identify the crime and the criminal after the fact, and so use deterrence as the mechanism. For example, it would be possible to install special hardware in cars and on the roads that would let each car know the maximum permissible speed and would prevent it from going over that speed, thus making the crime of speeding impossible. Proposals for smart highways that would guide cars along the road could easily include a speed limit as a feature. However, practical issues of expense will surely dictate a simpler system that identifies the car and measures its speed, to allow for a speeding ticket after the fact. 8 A section titled Table of Uses at the end of this book shows a breakdown into four categories of the uses of computer technology the book advocates, with subcategories and examples. (There is also a fifth category of bad uses.) The table first lists identification, of individuals and objects and even of

17 1. Introduction 9 data. The goal is to distinguish one object from another and to identify owners of objects. Then if an object is stolen or misused, authorities can determine its status and trace it back to its original owner. This will not usually make the theft or misuse impossible, but will catch perpetrators after the fact, acting as a deterrent. Second in the Table of Uses comes tracking, of individuals, of vehicles, and of many other objects, including dangerous objects and abstractions like telephone calls or electronic money. Surveillance in public will identify and track individuals and objects, with the resulting data logged into computer systems. In the event of a crime and with a court order, the proper authorities can retrieve logged data about specific people or objects to help solve the crime. Computers will exchange and coordinate data about similar but geographically distributed crimes. Here again, instead making crime impossible, these uses more often make it impossible to get away with the crime or to continue with similar crimes. The third category is privacy, of communications and of stored data. Here potent cryptographic techniques help equalize the discrepancy of power between an individual and corporations or governments, making it harder for either one to commit crimes against a person. Then comes a fourth catch-all category called applications support, giving additional techniques, including support for open access to information, and for education, health-care, and planning. Such open access is the key capability, but of course it also only makes crime more difficult, and not impossible. One promising area is the crime-proof hardware mentioned earlier: objects that will not work when stolen, or that cannot be stolen or misused, directly making crime impossible in these cases. Technical, Legal, and Ethical Issues With regard to this book s ideas for widespread surveillance, tracking, and individual identification, one might ask: Can we do it? This is the question of technological feasibility. The book treats this question throughout, but in summary for now, I am confident that society can implement effective versions of these proposals. Most such methods are already in use, though often not fully implemented or well-coordinated. Many high-technology devices are on the market or coming to the market. With new hardware, technological tinkering, inven-

18 10 What If Crime Were Impossible? tiveness, and computer coordination, society can greatly improve its tracking of crime and criminals. However, only constant vigilance will keep up with newlyinvented crimes. A related question is: Can we afford to do it? In fact, society cannot afford not to do it current global economic considerations require these steps. For example, how can the U.S. expect to maintain its technological leadership with crime out of control? How can any country afford to live with so much crime? Computer hardware and related surveillance hardware have fallen so dramatically in price that surveillance by businesses, and by governments like the United Kingdom, is commonplace now. 9 Corresponding software improvements make tracking, identification, and coordination of data easier and cheaper, though admittedly software development is the hardest part one should not understate the difficulty of creating software, but progress continues. Opponents of these techniques also talk about return on investment, saying that the crime only moves to a different location. Widespread and coordinated use of surveillance technology will leave nowhere for the crime to relocate and will be cost effective. There will also be savings in more efficient or unneeded prosecution and in reduced incarceration, as well as direct savings from deterred crime. Another question is: May we do it? This relates to legal feasibility, which varies from one country to another. One could rephrase the question as: Can any society work out the legal definitions and details with sufficient prescience and wisdom to stay up with the technology? Changing circumstances are a challenge to legal systems, especially when the changes are so rapid, but I remain optimistic about the legal situation in the U.S. However, this book will leave legal questions aside other authors have treated them. 10 The final question is crucial and basic: Should we do it? This is the ethical question, the question about what kind of society to have, a question for readers to decide. This book s justifications are mainly utilitarian: that the results will be good. Unfortunately, pragmatic and utilitarian philosophies stray close to the end justifying the means a type of reasoning used to rationalize all manner of evil, including the Holocaust. Society should proceed with these techniques, but carefully, with controls in place, and with wide and open debate, particularly involving philosophers, ethicists, religious leaders, and law enforcement officials. For example, one concern by surveillance opponents in the U.K. is the rapid

19 1. Introduction 11 growth of closed circuit television systems, out of control and with no debate. 11 Summary This is not a book about technological fixes supplied by computers. Instead the book explores the use of computers to improve old-fashioned solutions to problems. As mentioned in the Preface, the ideas rest on three foundations: openness of access to information about public activities, empowered free speech, and absolute privacy of private activities. Openness and free speech are powerful weapons against all crimes, but especially the worst crimes, the crimes against humanity. If everyone learns about public activities, then the large crimes, by businesses and governments, and even by individuals, become more difficult. Free speech promotes this openness and so is an integral part of it. Thus openness and free speech complement one another, but they can be at odds with privacy. The information one person openly obtains or openly distributes may be personal and private to another individual. This is the reason for such a careful line between public and private space. There must be guaranteed privacy inside private space, while there has never been true privacy inside public space only de facto privacy, except for those with the resources to monitor the public space. On the other hand, confidence in the privacy of communications promotes openness and free speech at least for the communicating parties. All these changes will not take place automatically, but will require planning, especially long-term planning. The technology of planning has improved greatly, since computers can keep track of everything quantifiable and can simulate the effects of choices. The computers are now essential because of the complexity of the modern world. These proposals only make sense in a world that uses computer-supported planning. Consider also the problem of control. I do not believe in true autonomous individuals. Everyone is partly controlled by heredity and environment. And I have no desire for control in the crass sense, though I would certainly like for people to feel the old-fashioned controls of etiquette and conscience a desire to behave well. Nevertheless, society should not tell people what to do and what not to do, but should just keep track of what they are doing in public, making this information available, sometimes only available under court order.

20 12 What If Crime Were Impossible? Then it should limit the gathering of such information by any but the proper agencies. Instead of direct control, one should arrange the world so that people cannot commit various destructive acts. And one should arrange education so that people do not want to carry out these destructive activities. There are limits to these proposals. The direct use of computer technology to make crime impossible falls short is no ultimate solution for several reasons. This is gadgetry used to prevent crimes that people would still like to commit; preventing the crime is not a worthy final goal. This prevention is a matter of getting a handle on crime, to control societies increasingly out of control. And the expanded use of computer technology must itself be tightly controlled to prevent abuses of the same technology. In addition, the law is flawed, so that each country s definition of crime is also flawed. Preventing crime can actually involve enforcing unjust or undesirable laws even supporting dictatorships. Thus illegal acts are not the same as immoral or unethical ones; the present book is also concerned with preventing the latter actions. One can also ask about people who feel that laws can be routinely broken if they can get away with it. What if they were forced (somehow) to obey every law strictly? Many societies, including especially the U.S., have a tradition of selectively obeying the law. People with such an attitude would be particularly nervous about societal changes to make crime actually impossible. Arbitrary or unreasonable laws should be changed or revoked, rather than broken. 12 Many techniques in this book only detect a crime during its commission or afterward, to identify the criminal and act as a deterrent. But if society does not have the will to rehabilitate or failing that to punish the criminals, they are not likely to stop their activities. Detecting environmental pollution does not help if no one will stop the polluter. And consider impulsive crimes or crimes of passion; these are hard to deter, though they can often be anticipated, as with a wife beater who only abuses when drunk. Other hidden crimes like child abuse or neglect are difficult to reduce using methods described here. The methods in this book are not as effective against mass crimes: strikes, revolts, revolutions, insurrections, mass hysteria, and all the other actions by large numbers of people. However, techniques described here would keep track of perpetrators to hold them accountable later.

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