Imagine a time when virtually all crime is stopped because the government has an elite agency that’s able to predict who is going to commit a crime before it occurs. If this sounds like the plot of a movie you’d be right, but it’s also a new government initiative.
The movie is Minority Report and it starred Tom Cruise as an enforcer in a system that relied on three individuals called “Pre-Cogs” that were able to see into the future and stop crime before it happened – or what was termed “Pre-crime.” Coincidentally, it was set in Washington, DC.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the agency charged with ensuring our Federal contractors and subcontractors do not violate anti-discrimination laws, announced on July 3 that they are soliciting input on developing a tool to help them predict employers who would be more likely to discriminate. The most recent Regulatory Agenda, lists the proposal “Nondiscrimination in Compensation: Compensation Data Collection Tool,” which will be a new program aimed at identifying contractors “likely to violate” anti-discrimination laws.
One has to wonder whether such a “tool” could be developed at all, and if so, how reliable would it be? Do we have confidence contractors won’t be wrongfully targeted and accused? Does such a program lay waste to the principle of presumed innocence? We will have to wait and watch to see how this movie plays out, but there is definitely reason to be concerned. One of the memorable tag lines of the 2002 Minority Report is “The system is perfect. It is never wrong. Until it comes after you.” Indeed.
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