A federal judge refused to dismiss a case against a sheriff in Florida over a “Minority Report-style” computer program that predicts criminals. The sheriff’s office is accused of then proceeding to harass the “future criminals” identified by the program.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco sought to dismiss the case. According to the Institute for Justice(IJ), the organization representing the plaintiffs in the case, Judge Steven Merryday’s ruling to dismiss the motion to dismiss is a victory.
We obtained a copy of the order for you here.
“Today’s decision is an important step toward the ultimate dismantling of the program,” explained Ari Bargil, an attorney at the Institute for Justice.
The lawsuit cites a “dystopian ‘predictive policing’ program used in the county, and enforced by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO). According to the IJ, for the past decade, the PCSO has used a “crude computer algorithm to identify and target supposed ‘future criminals.’”
The Tampa Bay Times conducted an investigation that found out that the sheriff’s deputies show up at the homes of the identified “potential criminals” unannounced and demand to enter. If there was no cooperation, the deputies would write tickets for petty offenses such as having tall grass or missing house numbers.