Big Data brings a lot of challenges and benefits to business and the world is seemingly focussing on these presently, but equally law enforcement is engaged with big data although so-far it has escaped a lot of scrutiny, other than the age-old privacy and ‘Big Brother’-type warnings.

This is a fascinating book that looks at Big Data from a law enforcement perspective, considering the impact and benefits it is bringing as well as examining the risks and areas that need to be considered. It can also be considered on a tangent, focussing on political, sociological and public interests too. Big Data is developing and what may be possible in the future can eclipse what is present today – this cannot be viewed in isolation. The author has done a great job in bringing all the issues together.

A lot of Big Data-related initiatives are being coached as benefits by virtue of being race-neutral, wholly objective and not possibly discriminatory. Others may suggest that the ‘machines’ only react to the way they are processed and, of course, while it requires humans to do the last-leg bit of policing the ‘human imperative’ and its possible biases can be in play, with blind eyes deployed as necessary. Both elements can be valid, of course, although should the data and its processing be entirely free of bias, society may not be ready for some of the revelations that can emerge.

The book takes a hard look at the technologies that can affect and alter the who, where, when and society is policed. It is written from a U.S.-perspective although the same issues will exist in other countries. It was very engaging, well-written, accessible and quite impartial. Excellent referencing is used throughout to aid future research and study.

Some of the issues may be viewed as being alarming and you must hope that sufficient control can be deployed, yet many of the benefits can also be applauded and welcomed. With careful reading, consideration and implementation, it is quite possible that those interested in non-policing issues can derive other benefits for their own industry interests too.

The Rise of Big Data Policing Book Cover The Rise of Big Data Policing
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson
NYU Press