TheSignificance of Computing in Criminal Justice — The Current and theFuture State
TheSignificance of Computing in Criminal Justice — The Current and theFuture State
Theevolution of computer technologies in perhaps one of the mostcelebrated developments that the contemporary society prides upon.Indeed, the list of the number of ways that the computer technologiesare benefitting the contemporary society is endless. The criminaljustice system is one of the notable areas of computer applications.The computers applications are being increasingly used insurveillance, detection, collection, analysis, storage, inference,and prosecution. However, with the increasing use of computertechnologies arise the concerns of efficacy in supporting the justicesystems. To certain extent, the concerns are orchestrated by variousinherent limitations associated with the computing in criminaljustice. On the overall, such a scenario invites the questions ofjust what might be place and future of computing in criminal justicesystems. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine thesignificance of computing in criminal justice, focusing on thecurrent and future state. A review of the trending developments incriminal justice system essentially reveals that computing occupies apivotal position is supporting efficiency in delivery of services,and that this trend will most likely continue into the future,characterized by continued discoveries that will not only beincremental, but also revolutionary, and these will be orientedtowards helping overcome the inherent areas of weaknesses.
Theplace of computing in criminal justice is crucial in different ways,yet the number of developments oriented towards enhancing efficiencyis also unprecedented. For instance, in many parts of the world,there is an increasing demand for technological verifications ofidentity. Body surveillance technologies that have significantlyaffected the security effectiveness in surveillance include biometricpassports, DNA databases and drug testing, as well as biometricidentity cards.
Accordingto Byrneand Marx (2011),the current security technologies no longer find the body assomething that is subject of impossibility. The current securitytechnologies of body surveillance have modified bodies into codes,making them even function like passwords. These forms of surveillancetechnologies are particularly pivotal since their modes of operationfacilitate identification of persons from a distance. In this regard,these surveillance technologies perfectly fit into the current modesof disembodied governance. The pieces of evidence retrieved from thebody surveillance technologies can then be utilized in supportingdealings in the criminal justice systems.
Scientistsacross the globe have intensified their research striving to perfectthe surveillance and curb, as well as detect crimes. The newapproaches contrasts with the past in the sense that the newcomputerized and robotized systems can conduct surveillance andprovide information in real time and sound alarms. According to Lum,Koper and Telep (2011),in the past, ideas pertaining to the development of such technologiessounded fiction. However, there are now various manifestations of howit is easy to use technologies to identify people, detect crimes, andcollect evidence. For example, there are emerging developments inbody surveillance involving the use of artificial ‘noses’ thatdetect explosives, identity of people and detect materials possessedby individuals. As if not enough, smart camera that identify peopleat a distance just from the way they walk and talk, to add to tracelaboratory technologies that analyses sweat, body odor and thermalplume human skin flakes for every person, are the common, trendingdevelopments.
Besides,the consumer demands are working equally well to support technologiesdevelopment by cutting down the costs of underlying technologiesbased on the economies of scale. The nanny cams, camera phones, aswell as satellite photographs are now ubiquitous applications, as faras technological developments are concerned. Even the digital cameraspossessed by the general public cameras have the potential ofimproving body surveillance. The imaging sensors in consumer camerashave been undergoing developments that make them have relatively highresolutions. This feature enables the public to engage insurveillance efforts, as it is not uncommon to see crime witnessholding phones and cameras aloft whenever news breaks. The derivativeinformation may assist police in the investigations. As if notenough, scientists are grappling with coming up with the sensitivetechnological tests that based on DNA. The technologies pertaining tothe radio frequency identification tags (RFID) are now common instores to help people manage their inventory. Many consumers acrossthe world have already implanted such technologies under their skinas a way of broadcasting their medical data, as well as identity.Such a development is particularly helpful in situations of emergency(Harris,2010).
Thepotential buyers of the sophisticated biometrics technologies are theprivate sectors, corporations, and public institutions that arepotentially vulnerable to security problems. Currently, biometrictechnologies entail collection by use of the sensing devices based ondigital representations of physical features that are unique topersons and objects (Chaiken& Dormont, 2011).Such include fingerprint, iris and vein patterns, the shape of thehand, patterns in the voices, as well patterns in behavior such aswriting, typing, or signature. In the forensic science, the use ofgenetic fingerprinting is now becoming common to the point ofsurpassing the traditional fingerprinting practices since it appearsrelatively accurate. This has prompted countries to create databaseswith genetic identification information about convicted criminals.Countries have come up with various ways of collecting, storing, andimproving the accessibility of information as a way of improving lawenforcements procedures. Additionally, DNA screening is widelyapplicable in solving disputes about parenthood and rape cases, apractice that is common in jurisprudence (TheInformation Technology, The Judicial Administration, The UnifiedJudicial System of Pennsylvania,2016).
Allthese technological developments are a positive contribution tocriminal justice. For instance, the rapid probes that are DNA-basedmay be utilized to protect the world from biological weapons, leavealone diagnosing diseases. Byrneand Marx, (2011)observe that the inherent problem with these technologies is thatthey could significantly intrude and reveal far too much about peopleto prospective employers and health insurers, just to name a few. Inone way, such a trade-off is uncomfortable because governments andcorporations will continue possessing highly advanced surveillancetechnologies. Moreover, with time, ordinary citizens would also gainthe capabilities to monitor their surroundings using consumertechnologies such as tracking tools, webcams, and net search. Thisstep would enable the watched observe the watchers.
Inbiometrics, the high-resolution imaging chips have significantlytransformed surveillance. These developments have boostedsurveillance by creating the allowance for the addition of minuteskin details, thereby increasing improving facial recognition. Thistechnology divides small areas on faces into four hundred block gridsand then carries out an inspection of each block. It is quiterelieving that these technologies are so sensitive that can analyzethe size of the pores, pimples, wrinkles and even spots on the skin.Additionally, utilization of the infrared cameras has alsosignificantly improved the face surveillance. These technologiescreate topographical maps through projection of grid pattern thatshines infrared light onto faces and accurately matches the featuresof the face. Thirdly, the developments in the wireless signalprocessing are adding power of instruments applied in astronomy suchas UAV into homeland security operations (Ferreira&Ferreira, 2011).
Thetechnologies of the giant-radio telescopes utilized in sensing thefaintest waves of energy from heavenly bodies are being utilized forsecurity surveillance. Such technologies include the airport scannersapplied in the scanning of the passenger bags. The underlyingprinciple is that every matter gives of back ground radiation,regardless of its material. In the recent past, Brijot Imagingsystems Inc. unveiled a system that could effectively differentiatebetween heat emanating from the human body and that from the plasticand metal objects. The technology can work effectively even whenpositioned as far as 45 feet from the target. Kindred technology,another new surveillance technology, has the capability to scanmolecular compositions of matter by utilizing extremely shortwavelengths. When machines made of Picometerix direct terahertz waveson the target, the molecules of the target resonates at telltalefrequencies. For instance, a single plastic explosive would vibrateat about 800 gigahertz. These technologies utilize the rays, whichare not hazardous since they do not penetrate the human skin. Theonly inherent problem about this technology pertains to the privacyintrusion. Unless the surveillance system is well programmed toexclude sensitive human parts, the people under scanning will alwaysappear naked in the monitors (Dryer& Stroud, 2015).).
Basedon the current, ongoing developments, it is indisputable thatcomputing will increasingly play a crucial role in supportingenhanced efficiency in criminal justice system regarding thesurveillance, collection, sharing, interpretation, and disseminationof evidence, among other processes. As has been the trend, more andmore discoveries will be made over time, and these will go a long wayin improving or revolutionizing the computing technologies further.Therefore, there is no sign that the criminal justice systems couldtake another turn and decide against the use of the computingtechnologies. However, it seems the ability to be able to assuredesirable results depends on its capacity to overcome the inherentchallenges. Therefore, one of the crucial areas of focus for thefuture developments will be not just be seeking incrementaldevelopments, but pursuing developments to overcome the impendingchallenges.
Thecomputer technologies have been noted to have several weaknesses thatwarrant attention. For instance, behind the acceptance and worldwideadoption of the emerging body surveillance technologies aresubstantial amounts of fears associated with people who may have“stolen identity”. Fears are that the identity of such people,the likes of potentially fraudulent welfare recipients, immigrants,terrorists, asylum seekers, “identity thieves”, may be hard toestablish using single applications because criminal elements arealso dynamic. The future developments will need to chart ways toprevent criminals from outflanking the systems.
Thereis a huge potential for new developments. For instance, in the nearfuture, the society anticipates the surveillance technologies thatcan identify people based on their breath and smell will reach themarket (Lum,Koper & Telep, 2011).Such technologies are feasible because they build upon the scent ofspit of individuals, which have been shown to be feasible. Indeed,the scientists have successful established that human smell comprisesof different molecules that are identifiable by distinguishing thesmell. Once this impediment is overcome, the biochemicalunderstanding of human odor could be applied in the diagnosis ofdiseases and even security surveillance.
However,according to Grañaand IOS (2012),it is worth noting that bodily secretions and scents are intriguingsubjects, just as the biometric technologies. As their popularityincreases in office access, passports, ATM passports and Identitycards, the vulnerability to thefts and spoofing increases.Cryptographers in Japan illustrated that common body surveillancesystems pertaining to the finger-based technologies could easily beduped such as by use of ordinary molds from melted Gumni Bearcandies. It is nevertheless worth acknowledging that thetechnological advancements have responded equally well. Currentsurveillance systems do not only capture images of fingerprints, butalso the terrain underlying the skin. This feature includes theswirling pattern of active capillaries, which give an indication ofwhether the skin is alive or dead. Other corporations have installedpalm scanners that can read the patterns of veins besides thefingerprints so that the “body does not lie.”
Evenso, if scientists are not keen, these technologies can result tomistaken identities. This is still a problem even with popularbiometric systems such as the fingerprints. The most notable incidentpertains to Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer in Oregon, whose fingerprintswere mismatched to those of the suspect associated with the bombingof the Madrid train (Sanders& Hannem, 2012).
Accordingto Choi,Librett and Collins (2014),about two percent of people do not possess legible fingerprints.Despite the fact that fingerprinting is the most established andpopular system in terms of ease of use, cost, accuracy, andacceptance, these features make identification problematic especiallywhen processing security information of a large number of people. Onthe other hand, in spite of their promising nature, iris scanning,and facial recognition systems are highly inaccurate when appliedseparately. The hope for advancing body surveillance technologies hasleaned on the exploring certain characteristics in movements easilyrecognized from a distance. Hereunder, researchers take measurementsof the torso silhouette, the shoulder, leg swinging and time taken tomove through strides. The development is so far a success, yet it isnot an exception from weaknesses. Although some signatures cannot beeasily disguised, people can dupe the system by simply putting onManolo Blahniks, leave alone the fact that technologies would takeconsiderable time reach commercialization
Besides,despite the fact that face recognition is the most obvious way thatbody surveillance could capitalize, it is subject to variousunderlying challenges. There are problems associated with mismatchingimages that could easily be distorted by the ill-placed shadows orsmiles. As some scientists grapple with mending the glitches, otherscientists are focused on utilizing iris technologies to supplementat-a-distance surveillance. One indispensable achievement about thesetechnologies is that computers can easily locate eyes on the face.However, the current systems cannot scan people’s eyes from adistance, more so, as people rush through the crowds. Therefore, thequestion that arises from such weaknesses is how the issue can beaddressed.
Itthen seems that there is an answer to this question: the world is notfar away from finding a ramification measure to the problem.Evidently, all the technological developments have certain loopholeswhen applied separately. However, one of the avenues that presenthope for the body surveillance technologies to increase reliabilityand efficacy is to combine ban assortment of the biometrictechnologies that are substandard by themselves. The effectivenesspotential lies with the combination of the various biometricsurveillance technologies. The multi-modal systems and the fusiontechniques could be combined to increase usability accuracy. Forinstance, the fingerprint technique could be combined with the iristechnique to dispel the inherent identification gaps. Indeed, mostpeople have welcomed such security developments. In New York, assignificant as 67 percent of class A commercial and residentialbuildings apply a combination of surveillance and biometrics in theaccess control and verification of employee arrival at work. So far,incidents pertaining to the mistaking of identity are limited becauseone technique complements and supplements the other through use ofspecialized systems such as GIS (Herchenrader& Myhill-Jones, 2015).
Anotheroutstanding issue is ethics, considering some of the technologiesinfringe into privacy or are potentially invasive (Jenks,2010. Inthis regard, it is hoped that the future of computer technologies incriminal justice is bright — the continued research developmentswill help identify and develop remedial measures, while the abilityto combine different surveillance and identification technologieswill further increase the capacity of effectiveness
Inconclusion, the aim of this paper has been to examine thesignificance of computing in criminal justice, focusing on thecurrent and future state. A review of the trending developments incriminal justice system has notably revealed that the technologiesoccupy a pivotal position is supporting efficiency in delivery ofservices, and that this trend will most likely continue into thefuture, characterized by continued discoveries that will not only beincremental, but also revolutionary, and all these will be orientedtowards helping overcome the inherent areas of weaknesses. It hasbeen further noted that the place of computing in criminal justice iscrucial in different ways, yet the number of ongoing developmentsoriented towards enhancing efficiency is also unprecedented.
Basedon the current, ongoing developments, it is indisputable thatcomputing will increasingly play a crucial role in supportingenhanced efficiency in criminal justice system regarding thesurveillance, collection, sharing, interpretation, and disseminationof evidence, among other processes. Therefore, there is no sign thatthe criminal justice systems could take another turn and decideagainst the use of the computing technologies. However, it seems the ability to be able to assure desirable results depends on itscapacity to overcome the inherent challenges. Some of the notablechallenges include identity theft, inconsistencies, the evolvingcriminal minds, and system inconsistencies. Therefore, part of thecrucial areas of focus for the future developments will be not justbe seeking incremental developments, but pursuing developments toovercome the fingerprint challenges. Nevertheless, the future of thecomputing technologies is criminal justice is bright, but relies oncontinued research developments to help identify and develop remedialmeasures, and the ability to combine different surveillance andidentification technologies will further increase the capacity ofeffectiveness.
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