Table of Contents

Information Gathering

36. Informants

Any person (including the criminal himself) who may have significantly useful information about any crime or illegal activity (regardless of how small) that has occurred in the past, is occurring in the present, or will or may occur in the future, should be entitled to receive financial compensation from the government if they are the first or among the first to inform the government (such as the police or other proper authority) of such significantly useful information. Information qualifying for compensation should naturally be truthful but critical in helping lead authorities to the party or parties responsible for the crime or illegal activity. Of course, the actual amount to which any individual should be compensated for turning over such information to the authorities would depend heavily on the usefulness and timeliness of the information in finding and bringing the criminal(s) to justice.

Informants would be compensated quickly by the government (generally within 3 months of a conviction) and the criminal would then work to repay the government for these expenses. Quick and adequate compensation to informants is important to assure the continue flow of information to law enforcement authorities.

A rule of thumb may be that an informant or informants would earn or split 10% of the direct costs of the crime in which the informant’s information proved critically valuable or $100 minimum, whichever amount is greater.

Of course, if criminals inform on themselves, they would also get this 10% reward amount, but they would be responsible for paying 100% of the cost of the crime. Essentially, they would get a 10% discount if they informed on themselves. They would also get perhaps a significantly reduced charge for court/administrative costs, as well.

Police and all other kinds of law enforcement agencies should be obligated to keep all information confidential and concealed from all people not directly working on a case. This should be the standard procedure unless the informant himself agrees to reveal any of this information to the public, certain organizations, or individual people not working on the case. Law enforcement agencies who fail to absolutely follow these rules should be heavily punished and should be liable for any negative activity occurring to the informant as a result of information that was leaked by the agency and should compensate the victim accordingly. Protection should be provided to any informant who is at significant risk.

People who submit information anonymously to law enforcement forfeit their rights to the entire potential reward money. This would be because the government would bear a greater risk when basing actions (i.e. prosecutions) on anonymous information. Information would be considered anonymous if the government agency to which the information was given does not know the identity of the individual(s) submitting the information. As a matter of practice, the identity of individuals who submit information to law enforcement would be kept private and away from the public. This fact should remove most reasons for the anonymous submission of information.

If anonymous submitters change their mind after they have submitted the information, they may petition the law enforcement agency for a portion (perhaps 50%) of the reward money by providing proof that they were, if fact, the ones that originally submitted the anonymous information.

Elderly Volunteering

People, especially older retirees for exercise and anti-boredom reasons, should volunteer or be paid a small amount to patrol residential and industrial areas and look for law violations, especially minor ones such as littering, illegal sign or flier postings, excessive or overgrown vegetation, esp. near streets or sidewalks if vegetation blocks, hampers, or if it in someway interrupts or interferes with normal usage of the street or sidewalks. These volunteers should also note abandoned or long term storage of objects such as cars or boats that are in public view, general disrepair of properties such as fences, windows, etc, broken streets, curbs, and sidewalks, public lighting repairs, etc. These volunteers should also note graffiti and other forms of vandalism. The jobs of these volunteers would include documenting the violation and filing a report of the problem with the appropriate local government agency. It should be their job to detect and report all early signs of urban decay while it would be the local authority’s job to enforce compliance with the laws and to insure that problems are taken care of. Volunteers should be encouraged to patrol outside of their own neighborhoods.


37. Widespread Use of Video Cameras in Public

Governments should place video cameras in as many public places as practically possible. Cameras should be positioned so that all freeways, major streets and possibly even residential streets are monitored with high enough resolution cameras to enable the camera monitoring personnel to help positively identify all significant people, activities, and events involving accidents or illegal activities. For example, these cameras would be used to help determine the party at fault in accidents, enforce speed limit laws, record illegal vehicular maneuvers, read license plates, record vehicle break-ins, record acts of vandalism and graffiti, monitor all public spaces, etc., and gain detailed information about actual or potential accidents and any crimes or other illegal behavior. Sidewalks, sporting facilities, malls, parking lots, and virtually all other public spaces should be monitored with cameras. In addition, private businesses should be encouraged to buy and place cameras around their facilities. Residents could also do the same. Everyone should be told that if their video cameras record crimes and the evidence is used to catch the criminal, the owners of that camera will be given a portion of the fine imposed on the criminal as a reward for such information and as an encouragement for others to try to capture, in detail, criminal events on camera. Mass transportation vehicles should have cameras that are able to record what virtually every passenger is doing. Cameras should be installed in public restrooms (though perhaps not viewing immediate toilet areas). Rare or fragile natural landscapes, historical sites and other areas that wish to be preserved but which may potentially be at risk of vandalism should also be video monitored. All such cameras would be used to help enforce the laws and catch law-breakers.

Ideally, all these cameras should send their live data to law enforcement centers where people are monitoring them. If something were to occur, such as an accident, theft, of act of vandalism, etc., the monitoring personnel may send the appropriate help or law enforcement personnel, potentially saving lives, aborting criminal acts and provide a wealth of information upon which to catch the criminals responsible.  In addition, all these cameras should record on a loop lasting anywhere from a month or longer.  This way, if a complaint or notification of a crime is received in the future, there would be a historical record of video to which to refer.

One person who is a significant subject of the captured footage should be entitled to receive a copy of that footage within 48 hours of the request. The police retain the right to freely distribute whatever other footage they want, so long as they do not unduly violate a person’s reasonable right to privacy.


38. Audio/Video Recording of Interaction Between Law Enforcement and Public

All interactions between law enforcement personnel (police officers, prison guards, soldiers, etc.) and the public should be mechanically recorded in some way such as through video and/or audio. These records should be kept for at least one year, but preferably indefinitely, and should be referred to when needed to help settle a dispute. One way law enforcement personnel could meet these requirements would be to wear small, unobtrusive audio and possibly video recording equipment as part of their uniforms. Such devices should not enable the wearer to turn them off. These devices should also be designed to record as many variables as practical, like direction from which sounds come, movements and orientation of the officer or person wearing the device, etc.


39. Use of Deception for Gathering Truthful Information

Reporters, investigators, or anybody else with a legal or compelling purpose can use deception in their search for truth only if genuine attempts have been made to exhaust other commonly used methods that are customary and reasonable, namely, asking direct questions.


40. Torture

Only in cases where a criminal clearly has or clearly can be assumed to have the information needed by law enforcement to solve or prevent other critically significant crimes, law enforcement personnel should be allowed to use torture, or any other means, as a way to compel the flow of that information. Critically significant crimes would include crimes or potential crimes in which human life is at risk of murder.

Either at the time of sentencing or at any time thereafter, the courts could determine what the likely value of the withheld information is so as to help determine the amount of torture that should be allowed to force the divulging of the information. (The authority of a law enforcement entity to conduct torture would be determined, in part by a credit system, which is based on the historical confirmation of that law enforcement agency’s ability to gain the desired, but accurate, information during previous torture cases.) The torture would be reduced according to how much information is given and how true the information turns out to be. If a criminal does not offer any information, then the torture would continue throughout the entirety of his sentence. Criminals may offer as much information as they want and at any time they want, however, if any of this information falsely accuses another person of something, that criminal should receive at least double the penalty that the falsely accused would have received if convicted on the false accusations. In addition, the prisoner would be fined (or suffer additional torture) for each unit of time that he delays in divulging the necessary information or until investigators find out that information through some other means. If investigators find the information through some other means, the tortured criminal who withheld that information would be charged with the theft of the amount of money it took to gain the information through those other means. The tortured criminal would also need to pay a punitive multiple penalty on that amount.

The torture that would be used would be the kind that would only inflict safe pain. No type of torture would be used if there existed with it a possibility of permanent damage or significant permanent physical or psychological marks. The single highest person in charge of the investigation should always approve every method of torture used. In some cases, torture may be imposed without court authorization. The criminal would be responsible for paying all torture costs incurred.


41. Civilian Records

Every single person existing within the United States (including citizens, immigrants, visitors of at least 72 hours, etc.) should be required by law to have a Civilian Records file with the government that includes their fingerprints, DNA samples, photographs (including face, obvious tattoos or other unique features such as missing limbs or fingers, etc.), and possibly other unique information. It should be required that this information, including photos and any other unique identifying characteristics like tattoos, missing limbs or fingers, etc., be updated when needed, but at least every 5 years. Also, information like the names of extended family members, job information, and other relevant personal data which may be useful to law enforcement agencies should be collected, especially for use during times of emergency. This information would be placed in a nationwide database and used primarily to aid police and investigators in solving crimes.

In addition, every single person should also have, as part of their Civilian Records file, a record of every legal infraction, regardless of how big or small, committed by that individual anywhere on the planet. This record would include everything from traffic violations (including parking tickets, speeding tickets, etc.), thefts, assaults, murder, fraud, littering, and every other instance of legal noncompliance. The mere passage of time should not be able to expunge any entries from such a record. Only false accusations should be expunged from the record. False convictions should be noted. If a person has no history of even one lawbreaking activity, then his/her criminal section of their Civilian Records file would naturally be empty.

The country in which an individual is currently visiting should be entitled to the complete Civilian Records file of that individual, from birth, even if the visit is for as short as 72 hours.

These detailed records should be kept confidential and access limited to only the entitled law enforcement agencies. However, once these records have been filtered of any data that can potentially be used to identify an individual, such data may be made available for purchase on the free market, especially for use in data mining research operations. The types of data that could be filtered out of these records before they are released to the public should include some or all of the following: the criminal’s name, specific date of birth, photos, fingerprints, DNA samples, specific location of past or present residences, specific date, time and location of a criminal or legally non-compliant offense, or any other information that may create a significant possibility of the individual being identified.

Conceivably, some data filtered out for purposes of one study could be included for another study. Nevertheless, as long as identifying information is removed, and cross referencing could not reconstruct individual records, the rest of the data could be released.

Certain private individuals may have a good reason for obtaining access to a partial or full disclosure of an individual’s Civilian Record. Examples include, potential or current employers (checking their employees), co-workers who spend a large amount of time working with the person in question, parents (checking on personnel providing childcare), a spouse or immediate family member, and other people with similarly compelling reasons.

Perhaps two or three different levels of access could be allowed. Level 1 access may allow an individual to view the part of a person’s record that discloses only serious criminal offenses like burglary, assault, rape, murder, etc. Such information like social security numbers, or other extra sensitive information may be excluded from such reports. Level 2 may be more expansive, while Level 3 may be the entire, unfiltered Civil Conduct Record for an individual. So, if an employer wants to check up on a potential employee, the employer may ask for Level 1 access to so-and-so’s Civilian Record. This should provide the employer with enough information to make an adequate assessment concerning the potential employee’s criminal life. The government would need to approve the level of access for each of the petitions submitted by inquiring entities.

The actual subject of a Civilian Record would have the sole authority to authorize any stated employer free temporary access to their own records (such as for a background check by a potential employer). The courts could overrule the Civilian Record subject’s objection to a particular party accessing his records. The courts could also, with sufficient justification, allow entities (notably, law enforcement) access to such records without the subject’s knowledge.

Information in these records should not be altered or removed merely because of the jurisdiction in which these records are viewed. For example, people’s criminal records cannot be changed simply because the individual has moved into a different jurisdiction. Likewise, a person cannot escape punishment for a crime merely because he fled to another jurisdiction. In other words, a person will carry his same record with him regardless of where on the planet he goes.

Access to these records should be allowed only under close supervision by law enforcement authorities. Only handwritten notes can be taken during the viewing of such records, but no limits should be placed on the type or amount of information that can be written. No photocopying, photographing or any other comparable methods of reproduction should be allowed. All notes taken should be required to be treated with confidentiality and require to be viewed by people granted the same level of access and should be destroyed when no longer needed.

The immediate release of an individual’s partial or full Civilian Record should be authorized if such a release would potentially significantly benefit the public, such as potentially help mitigate a public uprising or outrage (such as against the police). Sometimes such records would demonstrate a pattern of non-compliance or criminal behavior, the knowledge of which may benefit and quell the public.


42. FBI and CIA Functions

FBI and CIA Merger

The FBI and CIA should be merged into one intelligence agency. They are both involved in intelligence gathering, and it would a make more sense to organize them as complimentary subsets within one intelligence organization than as completely independent organizations, especially in this modern world where the boundaries between wholly domestic or wholly international activities are increasingly becoming blurred. This would also encourage the personnel of the two organizations to communicate more effectively with each other.

Authorization to Kill
Neither organization, because they are civilian, should have the authority to assassinate or kill anyone. Both of these agencies, as would any law enforcement agency, have, as their primary purpose, the gathering of information. They should be fully empowered to arrest and transport individuals, using whatever force is necessary, where ever in the world they may be (with proper justification) and interrogate them. The killing of hostiles is naturally sometimes necessary for self-defense. However, capture and trial should obviously be the top priority. The military is the organization that should be responsible for an actual targeted killing. Such military actions, however, would need the authorization of the civilian command and control structure so that civilian control and oversight is maintained.
It is very important that a single organization does not possess both the power to develop a comprehensive intelligence (as the CIA possesses) as well as the power to deliver functional military strikes. Otherwise, the organization that has both capabilities can have too much leverage against the other arms of government, leading to an increased chance of destabilization and weakening of the proper civilian oversight and control. Not only could this lead to an ill-informed citizenry, but could also potentially lead further down the road to a coup d’état.