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Sybase Advertises 'PATRIOTcompliance' 158

Posted by michael
from the boogiemen-of-the-infopocalypse dept.
xmtrx writes "While everyone is rabidly pouncing, pounding and going pundit on Palladium, little-to-no attention is being paid to enterprise-class spyware such as Sybase's PATRIOTcompliance Solution. Their ad includes such gems as "Non-compliance is not an option" and "...helps you satisfy the many integration requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act by... filtering your customers, employees and suppliers against known suspects, and then... continuously monitoring their future activities." No punchline." The laws passed which affect financial institutions are mostly opaque to Joe Citizen. Sybase's press release sheds a little bit of light on what is going on behind the scenes.
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Sybase Advertises 'PATRIOTcompliance'

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  • Compliance with the Act is required for Banks and Brokers by October 2002; non-compliance could lead to costly civil and criminal penalties.

    With extra power comes extra responsability.

  • This is just plain scary and one of the reasons open source is the only way to go for enterprise (you could also say all) software. This sort of crap is much more difficult to put into open source programs.

    The even scarier thing to think about, is what happens when goverements want to make this sort of thing compulsary ? Then they'll have to go after open source projects, as this just doesn't work for them.

    It's a bit cliche but 1984 was a typo....
    • OK how would open source help here?

      The banks and brokers are being forced to do this by October. They don't have a choice.

      So, what, if they use open source they won't have to? Is that your point? It may be more difficult to put that crap in, but
      a) Sybase arent hiding it
      b) That crap HAS to go in.

      • How could Open Source help? Well, it may be that over there you're required to hand over this information to your spooks courtesy of the Police State Act. However, I'd like to make sure that products I'm using for non-US clients aren't busy (possibly illegally) disclosing information to the FBI.
    • I think the better question for the Enterprise is whether Open Source can fill the bill.
      If I'm forced to comply, can I implement Open Source in such a way that someone won't figure out a way around it and I won't incur liability.
      I don't think non-compliance is an option. It is, after all, the law.
  • We are the Borg, your species will be assimilated. Non-compliance is not an option.

    We will add your biological and technological
    distinctiveness to our own, however your technological distinctiveness will be filtered against our database and monitored.
  • Every new requirement by the government like this will mean a lot of money to be made by relevent software companies. (And will it stimulate economy?)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Making life hard for everyone and adding new regulation does not stimulate the economy by anyone's imagination.

      The economy is stimulated by people doing productive work. Guys writing software that does nothing other than snoop on us isn't a net increase in wealth. And in the absence of this requirement, these guys could be writing code people would actually want.
  • Don't buy it...... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mickwd (196449) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @05:51AM (#3921796)
    If your don't like this sort of stuff, stop buying (or considering) stuff from Sybase.

    And let them know your doing this.

    And why.
    • by nosphalot (547806)
      But what about when my bank buys it? Or the bank that my employer uses buys it? Let me guess, I should change banks and then get a different job. Do you even know what software your bank uses? I don't, and I doubt they would tell me if asked.
    • Sybase isn't putting this in because they feel it's the next big thing from their marketing department. They are offering it because Dubya decreed via the USA PATRIOT act that institutions *have* to do this sort of thing. Sybase are only responding to a government created market.
      • "Dubya decreed via the USA PATRIOT act..."

        Um, it was passed by Congress. That's the House of Representatives and the Senate. The President then signed it into Law.
        You really should learn about how the U.S. Government works before making assertions that are false.
        Hasn't been a decree in the U.S. since George III (although FDR came close a couple of times.)
        I'm not saying the Patriot Act is a good thing. I think some of it is stupid, illegal and downright sleazy. It was NOT, however, passed by fiat.
        • by jd142 (129673) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @07:49AM (#3921976) Homepage

          Actually all presidents have used the power of the Executive Order. It bypasses congress and allows the president to a law. For example, Bill Clinton executed an executive order lowering the allowed level of arsenic in drinking water. Bush changed that order. President Bush issued an executive order that contradicted the 1978 Presidential Records Act, a law passed by congress. The law would have required records of the Reagan White House to be released 12 years after that president left office. Bush also used an executive order to establish the office of homeland security. So parts of Bush's "anti-terrorism" package were enacted through what amounts to presidential fiat, the executive order. The next president will obviously be able to undo any and all presidential orders, just each congress can repeal the laws passed by the previous congress. I believe executive orders can also be ruled unconsitutional.

          I am sure Clinton signed some executive orders I disagree with and I'm sure Bush must have signed some I agree with, but these examples were both in the news at the time and they are the ones I remember.

          For more information about the checks and balances of the American government, check out your local library or go on-line and visit:

          And that's One to Grow On.

  • Not So Bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m_evanchik (398143) <michel_evanchikATevanchik.net> on Saturday July 20, 2002 @06:11AM (#3921835) Homepage
    While theoretically troubling, this really isn't that horrific. The Federal Government just doesn't have the resources to persecute a lot of people. There have been various reporting requirements on financial transactions for quite a while. These new requirements are not coming out of the blue.

    People also tend to forget that we are fighting a war. It's fine to be snide and cynical, but American troops are in combat abroad right now.

    That all being said, I doubt these reporting requirements will do much to stop terrorism. The evidence is mounting that our failure to stop past terrorism was not due to a lack of power or resources, but due to ineffective leadership and incompetence. All the information in the world won't help our government agencies who in the past have shown a frightening lack of intelligence.

    And I don't trust Ashcroft. He's grandstanding to score political points without actually achieving any worthwhile results. Of all the thousands of suspects rounded up and detained on suspicion of terrorism, only a handful have been charged with anything terrorist related, and all of those charged are pretty much low-level dupes (Lindh, Massaoui (sp?), etc.).

    Let's face it, anyone competent enough to pull off a real terrorist attack is also probably competent enough to know about and know how to circumvent these reporting requirements. The only people caught by these new rules will be the stupid and the uninformed, both of which may be up to no good, or more likely just unaware that they are doing anything wrong.

    Our country is at war and it is deadly serious. I just wonder if our biggest impediment to victory might be certain political hacks like Ashcroft who now find themselves in positions of unexpected power, with the ability to further agendas beside winning the war on terrorism.

    Maybe we all ought to start exercising our Second Amendment rights, which seems to be the only ones he finds sacrosanct.

    Come and get me coppers!

    (Huh? What's that knocking on the door?) = ^ &
    • Re:Not So Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lordfly (590616) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @06:56AM (#3921893) Homepage Journal
      1) We're not at war. Congress never declared war. Congress MUST declare an act of war against a country in order to be in a state of war. Simply saying ad nauseum in speech rhetoric about the "war on terrorism" does not make the nation at war.

      2) Ashcroft is quite possibly the scariest person alive, in my opinion. He might be grandstanding, but his actions since taking office has shown to me that he would rather just throw away the Constitution; makes his life easier.

      3) American troops have been in "combat" for like the past 20 years, doing "peacekeeping" missions. That doesn't change the fact that the PATRIOT bill infringes upon your privacy hardcore.

      I'm really quite sick of people saying that "dammit, we're in a war, stop badmouthing the government or else." Who are we fighting, exactly?

      Too bad everyone's too busy following the government's lead to really do anything.

      *reads post over*

      Man, I sound like a conspiracy theorist at 8 in the morning :)

      Lordfly
      • Congress does not need to make an explicit resolution for us to be in a state of war.

        Since WWII, the US has not made a formal declaration of war. We still, very rightly, give the name of "war" to the conflicts in Kuwait, Korea and Vietnam.

        Granted, knowing exactly who to fight is a tricky question. We do, however, know that we have been attacked. The Twin Towers did not fall over on their own.

        I believe in the good faith of our government, even of men like Ashcroft. I just wonder at their judgement and competence.

        It is a losing argument to say there are not compelling reasons for vigilance since 9/11. The most effective argument against increased government surveillance is that it is counter-productive.

        There is an enemy, the proof of that is the rubble cleaned from downtown Manhattan. The elusive nature of that enemy requires intelligence to combat. Intelligence does not only come from increased information. I am afraid that too much energy is being spent on gathering vast amounts of useless data.

        Don't argue the existence of the conflict, argue that the war is being ineffectively fought on the home front.

        • It is a losing argument to say there are not compelling reasons for vigilance since 9/11.

          "Vigilance" is well and good -- until it infringes upon the rights of those whom it purports to protect. Once upon a time, it was understood that Americans would voluntarily risk their lives to protect their freedoms -- and, when push came to shove, Americans did just that. Today, we willingly give up these rights so many fought and died for in misguided self-defense.

          I am shamed by all too many of those who call themselves my countrymen -- shamed because the ideals I thought my country stood for are so easily forgotten in the face of a single criminal act. Certainly, this country has enemies -- it always has. That is not to say that any infringements upon the rights of the public as a whole are necessary to pursue those enemies, or (if such infringements are necessary) that the benefit is worth the cost.

          In short: I would gladly die in another terrorist attack (or, better yet, trying to prevent one -- events of 9/11 might have gone quite differently if the flying public had been armed even as well as the terrorists) if doing so would help to keep my country free. If you cannot fathom making such a sacrifice -- you, sir, are a coward.
          • Re:Not So Bad (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by m_evanchik (398143)
            So which branch of the armed forces are you a member of? How are you putting your life at risk for your country?

            Or, as I suspect, do you find it easier to claim patriotic bravery than to practice it?
            • A reasonable criticism -- but I'm not asking people to go out and join the armed forces; indeed, I don't support military actions my government takes which are other than strictly defensive in nature. I'm simply asking people to protect their rights with their voices and with their votes, even when failure to do so is painted as inviting a mortal threat.

              I can't particularly claim bravery -- there've been few times when I've knowingly put myself in harm's way for some high cause -- but nor am I among the cowards (and I've met more than a few) who puts no other value above their own life. That's all I can reasonably ask of anyone.
        • Bush did it (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I think we all know who knocked down the towers.
          Does anyone forget that his daddy has been funding
          terrorists for decades?
          Who's presidency was in question when he was suddenly
          give great approval ratings? Coincidence? It's not a
          conspiracy who is behind all this, it's public knowledge.
          Face it, our president hates his own people, he's only
          done things to make things more expensive for us so he
          and his buddies can get even more rich and powerful than they all
          ready are. You want to go fight a 'war' go ahead sucker and
          die for that oil baron. He won't mourn you. Look how
          he treated his good buddies at Enron. And this guy talks about courage,
          the old fighter pilot flying away right after 9-11.
          Sad, stupid, suckers.
      • "We're not at war. Congress never declared war. Congress MUST declare an act of war against a country in order to be in a state of war. Simply saying ad nauseum in speech rhetoric about the "war on terrorism" does not make the nation at war."

        ad nauseum denials that the resoulation congress passed authorizing the war on terror dosen't mean that the US isn't in a state of war simply because the words declration of war were absent. There wasn't a nation of Al Qaeda to issuse a formal declration against, nor was it clear which nations are supporting Al Qaeda.

        The Resoulation-
        JOINT RESOLUTION

        To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

        Whereas on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens;

        Whereas such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad;

        Whereas in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence;

        Whereas such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and

        Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States; Now, therefore, be it

        Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

        SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

        This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force'.

        SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

        (a) That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

        (b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

        (1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

        (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

        Take careful note that this was passed under authority of the War Powers Resolution. The attacks on September 11 were also declared an act of War by the NATO alliance triggering sections of the mutal defense treaty against an attack on a member nations home territory.

        The idea that a formal declration has to be passed by Congress is rather new. There was no resoulation passed containing the words "declration of war" during the Naval war with France, The war against the Barbry states, The various Indian wars, The US Civil War, The Philipine insurrection, The Korean War, or the Viet Nam War, rather there were resoulations authorizing the wars passed by Congress as per the Constitution.

        The war on Terror is simply the latest in a series of wars that the USA has fought with the authorization of Congress. Article 1 section 8 of the US Constitution gives Congress the power to "To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;" but does require that a resoulation declaring war follow any specific format, and the resoulation regarding the present war follows the precedents set in authorizing past wars.

    • Who's to say that the transactions monitored will not belong to a political opponent?

      Who's to say that Ashcroft doesn't hanker after a database that describes his domestic political enemies to the last little detail? Exhuming Hoover?
    • Much of what has been done has been done to disrupt terrorist support networks. Money, training and housing. Without these the terrorists will have a much harder time. If you read detailed accounts of what terrorists went through on their way from teenager to terrorist it becomes evident that support networks were in place across the world for at least a decade.
    • People also tend to forget that we are fighting a war. It's fine to be snide and cynical, but American troops are in combat abroad right now.

      Ummm, so, we're going to locate Al-Qaeda troops and bunkers and such by watching for financial transactions?

      Quick! Over there! Someone just used an Al-Qaeda-linked credit card to order a pizza from that foxhole! Get 'im!
    • Re:Not So Bad (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GigsVT (208848)
      The Federal Government just doesn't have the resources to persecute a lot of people.

      Trying to avoid Godwin's here, but it's hard.

      What are you smoking? The US government has a budget of over 2 trillion dollars a year. Do you have any concept of how much money that is?

      If every byte on your hard disk were one dollar, it would be 2 terabytes.

      If you wanted to count that much money, counting 1 dollar bill per second, it would take about 64 thousand years.

      It's 2 million million dollars.

      So year, they have enough resources to throw the whole IT industry in jail on a whim, or to say... throw all of any religion they don't like into jail.
      • For all the money the federal government spends, it is widely dispersed and little of it is discretionary.

        For a somewhat detailed accounting of the federal budget, go here [census.gov] or here [whitehouse.gov].

        For a bird's eye view, go here [whitehouse.gov]

        Of that 2 thousand thousand thousand thousand dollars, about 30 thousand thousand thousand dollars can go under the general heading of "administration of justice".

        So there are not unlimited funds available.

        Just look at the case against Lindh. Here was a guy, caught red-handed fighting for the Taliban. THe Attorney General publically villifies him, and the Justice department has to settle for a plea bargain on technicalities.

        The government has great power and there is potential for abuse of that power, but it is nowhere near omnipotent.
        • Yes, but a large chunk goes to military (30%?), and when it comes down to it, that is a weapon that can be wielded against the US public if necessary.
          • The military gets about 15% ($300 billion) of the federal budget. Most of these moneys go to paying soldiers salaries and benefits or to weapons systems unsuited to quelling domestic disturbance.

            I don't see the US military getting involved in quelling dissenters to any considerable degree. This is not South America.

            There have been instances where US National Guard troops have responded to domestic rioters or dissenters. These instances (Kent State, LA OJ Simpson Riots, "Bonus Army" riots in 1932 (scroll down) [niu.edu]) have been of limited scope and usually warranted.

            I'm not worried about US troops being used for wholesale domestic pacification. We're not anywhere close to having to worry about such a scenario.
            • You aren't worried about troops being used for wholesale domestic pacification? What about the 101st airborne's "invasion" of Little Rock in 1963? Sounds a lot like the army being used for domestic pacification to me.

              • I was actually thinking of including this one in the list I made earlier.

                This episode is not terribly alarming.

                Firstly, the troops were there for a "good cause": letting some black kids go to a white school.

                Also, the federal troops where only called in after the governor sent in National Guard troops (supposedky to stop rioting by white mobs), a presence that was later countermanded by a federal judge.

                So I don't think this episode indicates that our civil liberties are endangered by the armed forces.

                In fact, this epidode shows that federal troops can be important in protecting our civil liberties, unless you are a white racist from Arkansas :~|
    • "That all being said, I doubt these reporting requirements will do much to stop terrorism. The evidence is mounting that our failure to stop past terrorism was not due to a lack of power or resources, but due to ineffective leadership and incompetence. All the information in the world won't help our government agencies who in the past have shown a frightening lack of intelligence."

      What is happening is that the government types are pushing intrusive, inconvienent, ineffective (but psychologically reassuring) security at airports to LOOK like they are doing something...

      This instead of examining the background of the thousands of middle eastern Muslim male immigrants, or "students" in this country. 95% of terrorist attacks against Americans have been carried out by these people.

      Yes, the Arab groups squeal. But, I have a message for the world:

      IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES IS A PRIVILEDGE, NOT A RIGHT!

      I don't have a "right" to emigrate to Saudi Arabia and start setting up Christian Churches, do I?

      So, in the name of PC, we strip search 80 year old grandmothers in airports, and let 18-45 year old Muslim male non citizens breeze through, ignoring that 100% of the 9/11 hijackers were of that demographic.

      On the other end, the "big brother" and "law enforcement establishment" types are using this crisis, this TRAGEDY, the deaths of thousands of innocents, as a way to gain more power to intrude than the "Drug War" ever could have justified...

      The lessons we need to learn from this is:

      1. Take foreign countries and groups making threats against the USA SERIOUSLY (China is next). 9/11 happened because we have been FAR too complacent about Islamic terrorism for too long.

      2. The "1984" crowd will exploit ANY crisis to make bad laws that will haunt us far longer than the name Osama Bin Laden.
      • Re:Not So Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

        by be-fan (61476) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @10:35AM (#3922532)
        Death is preferable to moral bankruptcy. The minute we decide that security is preferable to ethical behavior, we lose the right to say we are the greatest democracy in the world.
        • Right on!

          Freedom or death!

          Umm... of course, it would be ok if it's your death? I mean, I'm all for retoric and all that, it's just that I'm rather attached to life, so if someone has to die for this, I'd prefer it was you, not me.

          I have other causes for which I'm willing to die for, like saving the Earth from intergalatic space aliens. So, if it's ok with you, could you be the one that dies, preferable a horrible, painfull public death - all the better for the cause.

          What, you didn't really mean it? You're not willing to die for my rights?

          Bugger.

          Do you know someone else who will?

    • People also tend to forget that we are fighting a war. It's fine to be snide and cynical, but American troops are in combat abroad right now.

      So, why don't they go home. This, so called "war", will not archive anything and is just a waste of money and justification for the goverment to suppress human rights in its own contry.
      What should be done is to stop supporting reppresive goverments thoughout the world. Look, face it, Bush is not just stupid, he is a childish.
    • Re:Not So Bad (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      People also tend to forget that we are fighting a war.

      Give me a fucking break. We got attacked by: 1) 19 guys with boxcutters, whose "highly sophisticated coordination" consisted of buying plane tickets on Yahoo Travel and boarding with perfectly legal carryons; 2) A shoebomb guy who forgot to bring a working lighter for his cannon fuse, and 3) A dirty-bomb guy who had no bomb, no materials, no actual plan...what did he do again?

      In response to 19 people with sharp objects and rudimentary piloting skills, we've bombed the crap out of Afghanistan and ousted a government. Entirely appropriate, imo. But now, because of those 19 guys, we're overturning the freedoms that hundreds of thousands of men have died to defend? What the fuck is wrong with us?

      • And the hell of it is that most of those hijackers weren't even from Afganistan. They were from Saudi Arabia. Afganistan just happens to be a conveniently located, militarily-weak country for President Cheney's oil company to run a pipeline through once a puppet government was set up.

        Granted, the Taliban weren't exactly on Amnesty International's best-loved list, but the ends don't justify the means.
    • The Federal Government just doesn't have the resources to persecute a lot of people.

      The Federal Government can make citizens persecute other citizens. In that regard, it is extremely powerful and it can affect many of us.

  • by ivpiter (581780) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @06:16AM (#3921842) Homepage
    Although in troubled times restrictions are necessary I fully believe that "In times of emergency, restrictions on the freedom of the individual and imposed in the real or assumed interest of the community. We hold it to be essential that such restrictions be confined to a minimum of clearly specified actions ; that they be understood to be temporary and limited expedients in the nature of a sacrafice ; and that the measures restricting freedom be themseles subject to the free criticism and democratic control . Only thus can we have a reasonable assurance that emergency measures restricting individual freedom will not be degenerate into a permanent tyranny." - sec. 7 of the manifesto of the Congress for Cultural Freedom published in 1951 In was true then and it is true now. The steps of government and corporations that seek to influence the gov be be in the light, and not hidden, espically under the guise of "protecting the people". Peace folks,
    • Indeed. That's what I personally find so scary about all of this. Of course we have to be more vigilant right now - anyone who doesn't think there's a truly serious threat is deluding themselves, and it is pretty hard to come down against the government for making changes that allow them to more easily track down the bad guys.

      That being said, where is the out? The War Against Terror will never be over, because terror (read: asymmetrical warfare) is the weapon of the disempowered against the powerful. As long as literally billions of people on the planet don't have clean drinking water, let alone access to education and so on, then there will be an endless supply of rage to feed the other end of the process.

      They have us between a rock and a hard place - it is very hard to argue against harsh measures to weed out the terrorists ("but why do you want to make things easy for them?") but on the other hand that means we're supporting the creation of a de facto police state (and I don't think that's entirely hyperbole) with no discernable way of ever getting things back to normal again.

      After all, politicians just love to give up power once they have it.

      • Of course we have to be more vigilant right now - anyone who doesn't think there's a truly serious threat is deluding themselves, and it is pretty hard to come down against the government for making changes that allow them to more easily track down the bad guys.

        I am more vigilant now as there is a serious threat - I am watching my government more closely than I ever have because the threat they pose to my liberty has never been greater.

        As horrific as watching planes crash into towers is, I would rather ride a crumbling building down 100 stories than live in the United Police State of America.

      • "The War Against Terror will never be over, because terror (read: asymmetrical warfare) is the weapon of the disempowered against the powerful. As long as literally billions of people on the planet don't have clean drinking water, let alone access to education and so on, then there will be an endless supply of rage to feed the other end of the process."

        I regret that I have no mod points to spend on this -- I think it's the most succinct statement of the problem with the War on Terror I've ever heard. Nicely put.

    • the Congress for Cultural Freedom was run by the CIA from 1950 till 1967/

      See "Who paid the Piper", Frances Stoner Saunders.

      Who said irony was dead?

      h.

      "The way to carry out good propaganda is never to appear to be carrying it out at all"

      Richard Crossman.
    • Define "emergency". We were attacked by terrorists that's true. About three thousand people died and that's tragic. None of this is enough of an "emergency" to warrant a reduction in freedom. More then three thousand people die every week from smoking, car accidents etc.
      • Three thousand people dying every week from smoking and car accidents don't generally take 8 billion worth of well-developed downtown Manhattan real-estate with them.

        THAT'S the real emergency. Population grows back in a few years...skyscrapers cost a lot of money, and are expected to last hundreds.
        • A good hurricane or an earthquake can easily cause 8 billion worth of damage. A draught or a flood can do the same thing. You don't see people calling for restricting freedoms whenever aan hurricane happens do you?
          • Not at all, but Institutional logic and philosophy assumes that Acts of God are not preventablle, but Acts of Man are. You can't really blame a hurricane on someone the same way you can blame a plane crash. Governmental organizations tend to take the view that if blame can be assigned to a phenomenon, then it can be prevented (by assigning the blame before it happens, I guess). I'm not sure if I agree, but that's the way it is.
  • Free World (tm) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Otis_INF (130595) on Saturday July 20, 2002 @07:36AM (#3921954) Homepage
    Reading this and putting the 'vision' (if you can call it that) of the USA's government in perspective, you start to wonder why the USA still are calling themselves "Leader of the Free World". Must be a different definition of 'Free' than I have...
    • Heh.

      It's "Free" as in "Fascism".
    • That's easy, the first one is free.. or 10% off, what have you, but the next one will cost you.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Should be the "FREE!!!" in all caps, with multiple exclamation marks, such as seen on AOL CDs and in Infomercials, that tells you when you're about to be ripped off.
    • Re:Free World (tm) (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kadehje (107385)
      The USA focuses on freedom because it's how the government pushes its agenda on the masses. The USA, like every other nation, has never been a truly free country. Instead, the US picks an evil contrary to the government's desires and urges its citizens to attack it by saying that eliminating that evil will lead to a Free(tm)-er America.

      In 1775, residents of the "13 colonies" began to take up arms against Great Britain. At the beginning of the war, the gripes against the British Crown were primarily commerical, such as being allowed to buy tea only from one Crown-backed company and having to pay what they felt were ridiculous taxes on this tea and many other goods traded throughout the colonies. In April 1775, things like freedom of speech weren't a very important issue; those in North America just wanted the Crown to get the fsck out of of affairs that were previously left to the colonies to deal with internally.

      When it became clear that it would be useless to extract these commerce-based concessions from the Crown, by the middle of 1776, the colonists began to move towards secession from the British Empire. They knew that they would not be able to sucessfully fight the war by themselves, so they needed help somehow. They drafted the Declaration of Independence, which detailed a set of ideals that the newly created United States would aspire to. In addition to solidifying the patriots' side (many in the would-be U.S. were sympathetic to the Crown at the beginning of the war), they managed to gain support from British people and companies who felt that the Crown's hunger for power was once again out of control (Britain's "Glorious Revolution" against royal tyranny had taken place 90 years previously). Ultimately, these ideals, along with existing distate for Britain, encouraged France to enter the war on the side of the colonists. So, it can be argued that the Declaration of Independence was as pragmatic a device as it was idealistic.

      Did the newly created United States become a free nation? Largely so, provided you were a wealthy white male. Women and the poor were judged to be unqualified to handle the responsibilities of democracy; and blacks, almost all of whom were slaves at that time, were judged to be so lowly ranked in the animal kingdom that in addition to not being worthy of participating in the "democratic" government, counted as only 3/5 of an oppressed white person in the decennial census.

      Fast forward 75 years to the Civil War. This time around, even wealthy white males weren't spared the shaft of tyranny. You may recall that self-determination was one of the major rallying cries in the Revolutionary War. So South Carolina, along with about a dozen other states, determines that its time to secede from the Northern states, just as the United States seceded from Britain. Well, we all know about how the folks in Washington D.C. felt about that decision. Especially the Maryland legislature, who were ordered to be arrested by President Lincoln without being accused of a criminal act (blatantly violating the "habeus corpus" provision of the Constitution) before they could convene and vote to secede from the Union. That's Freedom(tm) at work.

      Northern opposition to slavery was again a largely pragmatic belief; the climate of the northern states wasn't very conducive to the slave-intensive agriculture found in the South and the new industries in the North required educated labor that would not tolerate the idea that they would be bound to the whims of a single master for their entire lives. So, Northern factory owners were forced to give a few crumbs and a few liberties to their employees; these factory owners were upset that they could not keep 100% of their factories' profits as plantation owners did. So, they led the crusade to "free" the slaves on these plantations in order for Northern and Southern businesses to run in the same set of economic rules. As in the Revolutionary War, the peddling of these ideas was also important to ensuring a favorable external political situation. In the early part of the Civil War, Great Britain seriously considered coming to the aid of the Confederacy. But then, the U.S. government managed to convince London that this war was not about economics; it was about bringing Freedom to oppressed slaves on plantations. Britain stayed out, allowing the North to take two years to get its military together (the South had nearly won the war by 1863) and rout the Confederacy.

      As you all know, the years since 1865 have also been a sham in terms of giving true freedom to Americans. I just wanted to point out that the United States has always, from the time of its founding, been hypocrital regarding freedom. The hypocrisy predates the Red Scare, McCarthyism, Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No!" campaign, and it certainly predates September 11, 2001.

      Hopefully these examples illustrate the true meaning of the concept of Freedom(tm) and how it differs from true freedom.
      • hrm, so what would "true freedom" be, exactly? Freedom from Freedom[tm]'s hypocrisy? is it that the Bill of Rights doesn't have enough rights listed in it or that they aren't consistently enforced/supported?

        -l
    • Reading this and putting the 'vision' (if you can call it that) of the USA's government in perspective, you start to wonder why the USA still are calling themselves "Leader of the Free World". Must be a different definition of 'Free' than I have...

      Oh yeah oops, I can't go out side and do anything without permission. Or write a letter to the newpaper. All my freedoms are gone.

    • Maybe they mean free as in free beer not as in free speech.
  • Be a PATRIOT (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by WCMI92 (592436)
    The government is good, it is god

    Report your family's crimes.

    The State is all powerful

    Report your friend's crimes.

    Resistance is Futile

    Report your neighbor's crimes.

    Privacy is UNAMERICAN

    Pay no attention to the face scanning spy cameras in your neighborhood.

    Open source is TERRORISM

    Your crimes won't need to be reported. The SWAT team is already on the way.

  • The American government will not, indeed cannot, actively monitor the terabytes of data this act will generate. They are far too busy just trying to keep their collective heads above water. Ten years of "peace dividend" has taken its toll in staff reductions, atrophied skills, no operations, and no training. Do you remember the mid 90s when several U.S. congressmen questioned whether we even needed the CIA and other intelligence organizations?

    I expect that the resulting database will not useful for finding terrorists in real time. However, once a suspected terrorist is known by other means, be it hours, days, weeks, or months later, they will be able to search through the data for his or her trail to provide proof or refutation, as appropriate. Better yet, the search should also show the tie-ins to the others of a terrorist's organization so we can pursue the whole lot.

    This kind of trade-off between increasing security at the price of privacy is a good one, IMO, and has has commonly been made in times of war for at least the last 200 years. That said, the trade-off is still a risk. We must remain vigilant and pick our government leaders carefully so that those in power will dismantle the process when the threat is over. It could otherwise become the means of terrible abuse.

    Magna est veritas et praevalebit.
    (Mighty is the truth, and it will prevail)
    • The American government will not, indeed cannot, actively monitor the terabytes of data this act will generate.

      Right. So the Patriot (sic) Act requires private industry to do this for them. Scary. Our financial institutions now work for law enforcement on a near real time basis.

      Do you remember the mid 90s when several U.S. congressmen questioned whether we even needed the CIA and other intelligence organizations?

      Looks like they those congress critters were correct. Remember the Chinese embasy getting bombed in Serbia? That was CIA intelligence (sic) in action.

      This kind of trade-off between increasing security at the price of privacy is a good one, IMO...

      Security? What security? Terrorsim cannot be "defeated" in a straight-up fight ... well, not without destruction on a genocidal scale. Check the literature from Biblical times; it's filled with tales of terrorism. If terrorsim is still around after 2,000+ years, what are the chances anyone will be able to "defeat" it using what are essentially the same tools, i.e., we'll kill you before you can kill us?

      My idea of security is to make sure our government's actions don't incite sufficient number of people to hate us to the point they want to hurt, mame, and kill us. I'd bet it'd be a lot cheaper too. Some large corporations may see lowered profits though ...

      I'm setting aside idealogical and religious motivation for the most part, but the such fringe movements tend to become effective only with a sufficient base of disaffected people.

      In brief, we'd do better by using a lot of carrots ... and as few sticks as possible. This requirment of the Patriot (sic) Act is ... a stick of questionable effectiveness yet has the force of law. Scary.

  • Methinks its all just overkill, given that 9/11 seems to have been caused by some very basic oversights* rather than high-level terrorist subtlety.

    * BTW, I doubt any amount of reshuffling is going to fix this. Methinks the FBI and CIA should be run more like the millitary. Leaders need to be held accountable. If anything bad happens on their watch, or if any over their subordinates screw up, they should be punished.
    • Methinks its all just overkill, given that 9/11 seems to have been caused by some very basic oversights* rather than high-level terrorist subtlety.

      You're absolutely correct. Unfortunately, at least two mutually reinforcing trends have resulted from 9/11: one is that the general public is spooked in various ways, and wants assurances of greater security; and the other is that those in power, who may have a better grasp of the real risks (which have not in fact changed significantly), see various benefits in offering answers to the public, whether or not those answers make sense.

      Those answers are on the government's terms: a "war" which requires "sacrifices", which provides an enormous distraction from the nation's real business, making it difficult to judge the performance of the politicians on real issues; a wonderful excuse to push through laws addressing every inconvenience law enforcement and government has ever encountered; the list goes on.

      I think the individuals involved have little in the way of ulterior motives beyond the gain they perceive for themselves and the groups to which they are loyal - groups including law enforcement, the wealthy, big business, and the the Christian right (who are every bit as scary as any Islamic extremist). But the net effect of all of this is likely to be a lot more scary, in the long run, than anything terrorists are able to do.

      The problem is that it doesn't seem possible to teach historical subtleties to the society as a whole - we're going to have to relearn, through painful experience, a lesson that was last covered in the 1950s, during the McCarthy era.

  • from the sybase announcement:

    . . . the Act requires that all depository financial institutions and broker dealers must know the true identity of their customers and the source of their funds . . .

    The potential for abuse here is incredible. Meanwhile, our institutions of research and higher education are ready to do their part to help the U.S. government digest all of this lovely information: National Academies: Universities to play key roles in response to terrorism [umich.edu]

    Most of the measures mentioned in that article seem reasonable, but I'm worried about the "data mining" initiative. If you can mine data looking for "terrorists," you can mine for just about anything else, such as potential political opposition.

    Also consider: given the plethora of intricate financial disclosure requirements, a list of one's political opponents and vast mountains of data available for mining, it would be no trouble at all to neutralize the opposition.

    Imagine what the dirty tricksters of the Nixon administration could have done with a system like "PATRIOT".

  • I'm sick and tired of hearing you rant that PATRIOT takes away freedoms, makes us faschists, etc. IT DOESN'T. The US is trying to destroy an evil terrorist group that threatens our livelihood. The PATRIOT act may have some clauses you don't like, but you forgot the part that says you need a COURT ORDER to be able to execute anything under PATRIOT.

    Now, to be a bit on topic, this is a waste of time. They don't need extra software to help in the war against terror. Why not extract the data from their current databases with some Perl scripts?
    • So I checked out Sybase's Architecture page [sybase.com] to find this "COURT ORDER" you speak so highly of.

      I didn't see it listed anywhere, but I did find:

      • "Info Sharing" to Gov agencies
      • "External Searches" by Gov agencies
      • "Automatic Notification" to "FinCEN, FBI, OFAC"

      And on Sybase's Compliance Approach page [sybase.com] I find:

      • Automating access and updates to the OFAC SDN, FinCEN, and other lists of suspected terrorists and those engaged in illicit activities,
      • Automating screening of transactions against suspect lists, as the transactions occur,
      • Screening of the Customer Information Files (CIFs--both umbrella and application specific) and company employees against suspect lists,
      • Automating the investigation process through to clearing a suspect by adding them to the excluded list or SAR reporting with historical documentation of the investigation process,
      • Automating user notification of suspected matches via email, pager, wireless, or other methods
      • Facilitating electronic interactions with FinCEN, other regulators, enforcement agencies, and financial institutions,
      • Facilitating the implementation and maintenance of internal lists for tracking the activity of customers based on specific requirements of an institution

      Bold emphases mine, of course.
      For an innocent system there's quite a lot of room for abuse of power, don't you think? Secrets lists and investigations are the kind of things that give Hitler-wannabes woodrow.


      You are correct that the Patriot Act doesn't make us faschists. It makes us sheep. We all know what happens to sheep when the farmer doesn't think anyone's watching. Do you really think the US Gov will be any different?

  • Yesterday: "U.S. Customs agents have arrested a Jordanian-born man [washingtonpost.com] who was allegedly carrying $12 million in false cashier's checks, alarming counterterrorism officials who said the suspect may have been trained in al Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan." This is significant. Apparently what's left of al Qaeda wanted $12 million in the US for something. It does indicate that attempts to cut off al Qaeda's money supply are working; these were false cashier's checks drawn on a non-existent branch bank, which is a desperation move.

    So all this financial snooping actually does have some terrorism implications.

    • According to the article, Sybase is using the OFAC list. This list, also called the SDN list, includes specially designated nationals and does not include US citizens. Sybase's software probably wouldn't have helped catch this guy.
  • I would not be surprised if most people do not know what the sardonically named USA Patriot Act does. Here's a brief rundown:

    Permits the government to label groups as "terrorist" without proof or procedural safeguards.

    Expands agents' authority to secretly enter homes and offices during criminal investigations and search, take photos, and download computer files.

    Allows the FBI wide latitude to wiretap and spy on activists' phones, faxes, and e-mails.

    Provides for indefinite detention of noncitizens.

    It's bad. For the record, I agree with what's been said in the higher moderated comments about the U.S. becoming a police state. It is.

    And we are not at war.

    Except for the war on the Constitution. That's more real than their war on drugs, or terrorism.

    anyway... A few cities, Portland, Oregon, Denver, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, are opposing the PATRIOT Act. Others haven't officially done so but are refusing to participate in the screenings their police departments have been asked to do. People are standing up to this and seeing it for the unconstitutional nightmare that it is.

    "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him!"
    - George W. Bush, September 13, 2001

    (how'd he know who was responsible so soon, hmm? hmm....)

    "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and I really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
    - George W. Bush, March 13, 2002

  • I don't see any of the quoted text in the article...Is this guy quoting the article itself or just his interpretation?
    • Why would one want a database server to be targetable by a ground-to-air missile system?
    • How did they make it targetable? Does it involve balloons, aircraft, or rockets?
  • All your base are belong to us
  • One thing is for sure, the terrorists aren't hiding in my house, I never met one, I don't even remotely resemble one, have no use for one, and would shoot one on sight if one entered my property. It's no one's fscking biz what I do, what I buy, where I earn my money or how much I earn because it's *MY* money, I am the one that breaks my back in the hot, hot sun and no one comes out to help me or offer me a cool drink so I'm not sharing *MY* money with anyone. It's no one's fscking biz what websites I browse or what I talk about to my friends. I'm an American and I am at war with those that would rob me of my privacy, my right to free speech, my right to be secure in my home and my papers, and my right to defend my self against those that would deny me those rights. We are looking down the barrel of a Stasi government. This spy on your neighbor shit, spy on your spending, spy on your habits shit is too much. Will your postman mark your name down in his little notepad because he see you get a magazine or newsletter that *HE* deems to be subversive? Or your meter reader man peering in your windows and sees your workbench and reports you for having "suspicious looking" materials, devices and tools in your home? What would those items be? Hmmmmm, he has a computer! That could be a terrorist weapon! Uh oh! He has EIGHT computers in one room! he must be hosting a terrorist network! This is Fing too much. This *IS* 1984. We all have an appointment in room 101.
  • This will likely modded down well below such gems as AC comment that Bush destroyed WTC (Modded +1 Insiteful), but still...

    Fact: This legistaltion (Patriot Act) is not designed to affect Joe Average Citizen PERIOD, as far as banking is concerned.
    There is, as Sybase stated (quite correctly), a well defined list of entities with whom financial institutions can not deal with. The list is VERY small (being an employee of a trading company, I get compliance lists in company-wide e-mail virtually every week).

    Fact: In part, this regulation is designed with the same purpose as "Have you ever been member of nazis/Communist party?" question on INS forms. Its purpose is NOT to stop ex-nazis from entering US (who'd say the truth answering that question?), but to give INS legal ground to deport ex-nazis once they are found out, for lying on INS form. The same way, US Patriot act allows US govt. to go after any financial institution which does help terrorists financially and lies about it.

    Fact: the Sybase software is there simply to make sure that Joe Schmoe Bank Programmer who codes trading systems doesn't have to break their brains trying to find out a way to help his company comply with the legistaltion. So don't go bashing Sybase for trying to make a buck solving an actual problem requiring programming solution. Bash them for having Fsck-ed up isql if you want to find a real reson to yell at them. <g>

    -DVK

    • by tpv (155309)
      Bash them for having Fsck-ed up isql

      What's wrong with isql?
      (Serious question)

      • by dvk (118711)
        Well, one feature that would actually make isql useable would be "command line" history (and yes, I know about Sqsh :)

        BTW, I was right - my comment got modded down as Troll. Three cheers for /. moderators, valuing 1984-like political uniformity over level-headed analysis by someone who happened to deal with real issues and comment from real world point of view!
        Maaan i'd be afraid to live in a world ruled by average /.-ters...

        -DVK

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

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