Monday, 31 August 2015

Predicting future terrorists

"We live with the ever present risk of terrorism and violent extremism. It is part of life in contemporary Britain. Yet social work is sleep walking into a worrying new area that of ‘pre-crime’."

"This means, in social work terms, pre-determining which children are likely to go on to be harmed or will go on to become terrorists at some stage in the future. It sounds like something from the Tom Cruise film "Minority Report".

"It has been used in the Troubled Families area and is now being extrapolated out to determine in which families is child abuse likely to happen, and which children are likely to become home-grown terrorists."

"By using local authority data, statistical, actuarial and criminogenic data (via algorithms), risk factors are woven together to establish predictions, that point out, or indicate, who is likely to go on to be abused, or, who is likely to become a terrorist."

"Social workers need to understand this worrying development so that we point out the ethical and moral issues with this agenda contributions that importantly distinguish us from the security or policing services."

"The idea that we can pre-determine who is likely to be abused or become a terrorist is simply science fiction. It suggests risk in rather linear terms using a causal logic that we can, through statistical mathematics, locate and then resolve it. This is impossible. It represents an Orwellian development for social work and we need to take it on."

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