The first problem is that profiling (as currently practised) doesn't work. It produces too many false positives, and too many false negatives.
For example, simple profiling based on a supposed correlation between name and affiliation is going to produce a lot of anomalies.
- Richard Rees doesn't have an islamic name.
- Sharif Abdel Gawad (the Greek Armenian Christian recently selected as a BNP candidate) apparently does have an islamic name. [source: Guardian, April 8th, 2006]
But of course, the problem isn't with profiling as such - it is with stupid and unimaginative and counterproductive profiling. Aha, so the solution is to have more extensive and deeper profiling?
But this just produces a deeper problem. For me, the most interesting aspect of Foucault's account of the Panopticon was not the impact on the prisoners, but the impact on the prison warders - and by extension on the society that employs them. And the more so-called intelligence goes into the Machine, the less intelligence is deployed by the real human beings with "intelligence" in their job titles.
Profiling is essentially an anthropological act - and requires all the intellectual caution and self-awareness that Bateson championed - first as an anthropologist, and second as a systems thinker. Steps to an Ecology of Mind should be required reading for policemen and spies. On second thoughts, maybe that's not such a good idea ...
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