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Proceedings Paper

Challenge of emerging technologies: balancing the needs of law enforcement against the duty to protect individual rights
Author(s): James A. Lingerfelt
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Paper Abstract

This paper discusses three emerging technologies which will revolutionize the business operations of law enforcement: databases and search engines; biometric identification systems; and electronic surveillance and tracking devices. Unfortunately, these technologies may also lead to a serious ethical conflict for law enforcement. The tools will make it easier than ever to accomplish the core business of policing: crime prevention; investigation; and intelligence gathering. The same tools, used improperly, will also lead to routine intrusions on personal privacy. These technologies have been and are being developed for the private sector, the military and the intelligence community. The vendors are now aggressively marketing them to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The law enforcement community has embraced the technology, but without considering the long term impact. In the past, the police have abused wiretaps and other early surveillance technology. As a result, a sinister perception about police surveillance practices persists and a cumbersome bureaucracy has been imposed to control their use. Developing and establishing policies governing the use of emerging technologies can prevent these mistakes from being repeated. This paper recommends that criminal justice practitioners begin a discussion now, in advance of these technologies becoming commercially available, with a view to defining clear guidelines for their proper use.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 January 1997
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 2939, Training, Education, and Liability Issues for Law Enforcement Scientists and Engineers, (21 January 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.263465
Show Author Affiliations
James A. Lingerfelt, Metropolitan Police Dept. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2939:
Training, Education, and Liability Issues for Law Enforcement Scientists and Engineers
Trudy K. Overlin; Kathryn J. Stevens, Editor(s)

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