How Mark Zuckerberg Could Prevent Gun Violence (Opinion)
Facebook-Technology for good?
The data that exist
Consider that Tashfeen Malik, who carried out the San Bernardino attack with her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a posting on Facebook, U.S. officials have said. Consider that Robert Lewis Dear, the suspect in the Colorado Springs attack, had been accused of violence against women and was feared by his neighbors.
Consider that James Holmes, who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and Adam Lanza, who killed 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, and Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, all had serious mental health issues.
Available data existed on almost every one of these individuals before they started shooting. But what we didn’t have — and still don’t have — is what might have prevented all those killings in the first place: an infrastructure that would enable us to combine relevant data from multiple sources and integrate it to give us more real-time signals about imminent danger. Building such a network will require billions of dollars from people such as Zuckerberg and Gates, who understand how to do it.
We’re not unaccustomed to using personal data to make threat assessments. Companies look at our driving records to determine how much we should pay for car insurance. Banks assess our credit records to determine whether to give us a mortgage. Privacy is important, but we routinely surrender a bit of it willingly every day. Yet when it comes to gun violence — literally a matter of life or death — we’re inexplicably more interested in protecting our privacy than we are of protecting our lives.
Another point from the article. the risk is more than guns. No, that’s not code for guns don’t kill people. It’s a salient recognition that guns when combined with mental illness or extremism by way of religion or politics are an extremely deadly mix. Determined killers can spell IED. Just observe the historic news reports about Oklahoma city and the new phenomenon used by DAESH- the frankentruck. A semi armored and full of explosives with nails and ball bearings. Literally tonnage of explosives in a manned truck. Extremists will use whatever they can manage to get most easily. That needs to not be guns.