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CAPPS II Trials Begin in March 287

Posted by michael
from the fits-the-profile dept.
corporal_clegg writes "According to this story on FoxNews, in March Delta Airlines will begin using a federal database that incorporates credit history and bank records in an effort to identify potential security threats. The federal system - CAPPS II (Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System) - will assign a "threat level" to passengers based upon information in the database and other criteria, such as whether the individual is on government watch lists. 'CAPPS II will collect data and rate each passenger's risk potential according to a three-color system: green, yellow, red. When travelers check in, their names will be punched into the system and the boarding passes encrypted with the ranking.' The scary thing is that no one really knows which databases the government will use or how long the records will remain. Slashdot covered this story in September 2002, and it now seems that the first airline is ready to give it a try. In addition to the links in the previous Slashdot article, a good background on CAPPS II can be found here." Actually, the last story we did on passenger profiling was just a week or two ago.
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CAPPS II Trials Begin in March

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:52PM (#5410942)
    Contrary to popular rumour, millions of dollars have been let in contracts to do the groundwork for TIA. Any USC students out there? Did you know your alma mater is going to help build the surveillance state known as the USA? TIA lives [zdnet.co.uk]
  • *ponders* (Score:5, Funny)

    by EngMedic (604629) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:53PM (#5410944) Homepage
    CAPPS II will collect data and rate each passenger's risk potential
    //begin code snippet if(PassengerEthnicity()=='arab')
    {
    InitiateSearch();
    SetThreatLevel(doom);
    };
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In case you didn't catch it ...

      All passengers will be considered a threat.
      • passengers are a threat.

        Solution: decrease passenger numbers.

        Solution: cancel all flights.

        Threat avoided.

        Financial error - company no longer making profit

        Solution - replace employees with AI - become non-airline company.

        • Solution - replace employees with AI - become non-airline company.

          They tried that. The commercial airlines said they could handle security more cheaply than the Feds. They formed private security companies at each airport, and hired "scrubs" i.e. anyone who showed up to work for $8/hr. The result we all know.

          Now, in a classic case of the pendulum swinging too far the other way, we have this stupid govt. system which will not stop any terrorists. Not to mention the obvious fact that a situation like 9.11 will never happen again anyway (at least not in the next ten years) beccause the OTEHR PASSENGERS ON THE PLANE WILL FIGHT BACK!

          (duh)

          I've always been a big fan of cross-counrty road trips anyway. Hey, maybe we'll see some great vidoeconferencing tech in the next few years as a result!
  • by the.jedi (212166) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:53PM (#5410947) Homepage
    .... incorporates credit history and bank records in an effort to identify potential security threats.

    Oh thats right....poor people are all terrorists.

    Just remember if you bounce a check then the terrorists have already won.
    • Not really.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:07PM (#5411003)
      Just because you're poor doesn't mean you have a bad credit rating.

      But that doesn't even matter - I think instead what this system will be looking for is a person not with good credit, or even bad credit, but very little credit history... that's the kind of person that will make "them" wonder what they are up to.

      So what you should really be railing against is that people who aren't good consumers (in that they make use of credit and thus build up a record) will be hassled.

      Personally, I'm not sure about this either way... in some ways I like it if it means fewer obviously random and stupid searches like they do now. That might only be because I expect to be targeted for searches less as a result.

      A funny side note - I recently took a one-way flight and my girlfriend and I were fully searched multiple times. However, if you think about it - people that purchase one way tickets a few days in advance are probably the last ones to worry about!! Instead, I say, be concerned about the passenger that supposedly has it "so together" that they purchased tickets (round trip or otherwise) months in advance... after all, a real terrorist is not going to leave it to chance that he can get a flight on a certain plane a few days in advance.
      • Re:Not really.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dnight (153296) <dnight@NOsPam.lakkadoo.com> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:22PM (#5411063)
        Wrongo. I questioned one entry on my credit report, and it was wiped clean. I had nothing at all for a rating, in spite of being born in the US 30+ years ago, having gone through all the years of public school, work, 1040s, W4s etc.

        If I was denied, at boarding time, the ability to travel, instead of when I bought the ticket, I would be one very loud and pissed off guy. Credit has nothing to do with travel rights.

        Right now, I'm taking my Delta frequent flyer miles and giving them to the make a wish foundation. They have lost my business forever. If all airlines do this, I guess I'll be driving a lot.
        • Just searched, really carefully, three or four times. That's why it will meet with little complaint in the end - because almost no-one will ever be stopped from getting on, just go through a lot of annoying searches (you and your luggage), only fewer annoying searches for the general passengger because of the targeting. I've been through it myself and it sucks (the one way flight I mentioned), but if it really does lead to the reduction in stupid searches than I think I'm for it.

          Note that questioning an item on your redit report (which I have done a number of times, even in the last few months) should NEVER clear out your credit history, even the thing you are questioning - it should only add notes or correct data. If that happened then you have a very serious problem indeed (a lot more serious than being searched to get on a plane) and you should seek to get that rectified (assuming you are not better off with a cleared credit report!!).
          • People who get these searches should turn around and leave, and then have the tickets refunded by way of their credit card companies (or small claims). It'd only take a few people to stop them.
            • You think even hundred people a day would matter to them? They already have your money, and you would be hard pressed to get it back from them by any means. You bought a ticket, and as far as they're concerned your refusal to board the plane is the same as not showing up - it just lets them sell a few more seats on that plane than they actually have!!

              It's at the point where it makes a lot of sense to get a pilots license and do your own flying, perhaps using some sort of web based brokering service to get a few people together to shoulder the cost of a plan rental for a weekend or whatever. It might save money in the long run, and would certainly save a lot of hassle at the airport... jets are a lot faster but when you factor in the ~3 hour wait to get on the plane and get moving you'd probably still be better off timewise for most trips. Or drive - I prefer driving to flying any day.
      • by autopr0n (534291) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:45PM (#5411158) Homepage Journal
        Do you really think Al-Quada wouldn't stick bombs on a little kid if they thought it would have a better chance of getting through?

        Whenever you focus your attention on one catagory of people, you make it easier then it could be for another group. All the terrorists have to do is fly their members around a lot, and see who gets checked most often. The ones that don't, carry the bombs and stuff.
        • That the little kid is unlikely to be trained to fly the plane into anything. Isn't that who they are really trying to catch? Oh yeah, them and the shoe bombers - also hard to teach a little kid to set fire to his shoes. Thank you shoe bomber for making sure I have to have good socks on every time I travel by air.

          Some random searches are good, sure - but not at the level they are at which is impeding travel for everyone with no benefit that I can discern (do you really think someone couldn't get just about anything through if they really wanted to?). Frankly I would be fine with putting an impervious shield between the pilots and the passengers, and letting us cattle (even the first class cattle) take their chances with nothing more than the metal detectors at the security screening areas they have now and no more near-strip searches. Anyone that tries to take over a plane now is going to meet with stiff resistance from every passenger on the plane now that we all "know" what happens to planes that get hijacked, so I think pretty much all of the searches for things like boxcutters are the very definition of pointlessness.
          • also hard to teach a little kid to set fire to his shoes. Thank you shoe bomber for making sure I have to have good socks on every time I travel by air.

            Well, if you knew the kid wasn't going to be searched, you could simply put a timed explosive in his backpack, under his shirt, wherever.

            Personaly, I'd be fine with reduced searches
      • Do you really think Al-Quada wouldn't strap bombs on a 5 year old if they thought they would have a better chance of getting through?

        Any time you focus more resources on one group, you have less on another. There's no getting around that. All the terrorists need to do is send their agents on lots of flights to see which ones get checked least often, and use them to carry the weapons/bombs.
      • You honestly still think terrorists are going to fly the friendly skys.

        Well, you know what? I think you're a terrorist. Now strip and grab your toes!
      • So what you should really be railing against is that people who aren't good consumers (in that they make use of credit and thus build up a record) will be hassled.

        I tend to take issue with people that use the term "consumer" to classify me. Stop doing that. I am not a "consumer", I am a customer. The distinction is important. In our current culture, the term "consumer" implies mindless automatons that make purchasing decisions based upon advertising, and clueless people in high places make decisions based upon flawed marketing statistics because they don't understand that we're not "consumers" anymore.

        I'm a CUSTOMER now, because I don't need companies to push their wares or services at me via TV commercials or pop-up ads. Thanks to the Net, I can go find whatever I need. So I don't need or want the in-your-face marketers anymore. It's just one more way that Internet is a disruptive technology. If your business is shoving a commercial in my face, I have sad news for you: you're obsolete. I recommend finding a new profession asap.

        --K.
        • Relax! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by SuperKendall (25149)
          I know you have been saving that "Customer" rant for a long time (which I agree with the general thought), but I think you should shelve it for this discussion and wait a bit longer...

          In this context "consumer" is exactly the right word. To the airline you are a customer, but in terms of profiling security risk what they are really looking for (at least partially) is, literally, what kind of consumer you have been - in terms of what debts you have accumulated (and paid off) through the years. If they find no evidence that you have been a consumer of any sort (no credit cards, no mortgages, etc) with no monetary history to speak of, then they would be a lot more likely to find you odd (you have to admit an American with no monetary history is like a cat without fur) and flag you the customer for extra searching, much as I was flagged because I was on a one way flight that I had purchased only days before. That's what profiling is all about, finding patterns that deviate from the norm and looking at them carefully.

          It's a crappy way to treat a Customer, but then if the searches affect fewer customers there will also be fewer complaints overall - which is exactly why profiling comes about, because so many people are rigorously searched right now that make no sense to search that they are considering using profiling of some sort to reduce the set of people who have something to complain about and reduce the headache that air travel has become (so that airlines can get back to going bankrupt every ten years instead of every five).

          Sadly, the other option (to simply bring searching back to where it was pre911) would never occur to anyone (in the airline industry and government), even though it makes the most sense for everyone and offers an insignificant extra security risk.
  • Ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loucura! (247834) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:54PM (#5410951)
    A couple weeks ago, Congress decided that the Total Information Awareness program could not operate against US citizens.

    Today? We are getting a "security" implementation that(purportedly) keeps the information it collects for 50 years. This has been disputed, by the Transportation Department, but it appeared in print, and the retraction was not.

    Sad, sad.
    • by Cyno (85911)
      Maybe with the help of Sunny Bono or Disney we can get that extended to 70 years. ;)
  • sigh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stevezero (620090) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:54PM (#5410955)
    The scary thing about this is:

    - We don't know what airports this is going to be run at.

    - We don't know what databases are going to be used

    - What if some of the information is erroneous? How can we correct our own "profile"?

    - Lastly...what does my credit check have to do with whether or not I'm going to blow up a plane?

    And then they wonder why almost every single airline in the United States is at or near bankruptcy.

    "Killing America in the Name of Security"

    • They want to make sure you're going to be contributing to the economy of the USA while you're traveling abroad within our Great Borders.

      *cough*
  • by aoeuid (250239) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:57PM (#5410968)
    If it were really about airline security, they would make a special strip search screening line. So you go through into a little room, they completely search you, not necessarily a strip search but completely search you and your carry on luggage, and let you go. Really, I don't think the government has any right to even know your name. You should be able to fly where ever you want, when ever you want, without being tracked. As long as you pass the security screening before you get onto the plane, what the fuck right does the government have to know anything else about you?
  • that because of this thing...we should boycott!


    nevermind that boycotting wouldn't change our behavior...we haven't travelled in 10 years. :(

    if Oprah reads Slashdot, maybe she'll take pitty on my story and pay for us to go to Hawaii??
  • Now WE know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aufecht (163961) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:04PM (#5410986) Homepage Journal
    Don't they realize that anything that is publicized is now what a terrorist will most definately avoid? If they are looking for good credit and a history of large amounts of money moving through a bank account or vice versa, then a potential threat, i.e terrorist, will most definately change their habits to remain undetectible. These are not stupid people. If I know what steps an airline is taking to detect whether or not I am a threat, so does EVERYONE else. I know many of you will say that this information is made public so that I know what freedoms are being taken from me and I say that either scenerio is a bad idea. Leave my credit history and bank account information alone and find another way to detect terrorists without telling me how you are going to do it, just don't invade my privacy.
  • by rob-fu (564277) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:07PM (#5410999)
    if you haven't done anything, then what do you have to worry about? This kind of profiling will never fly w/the ACLU and the like, though.

    Monitoring bank and credit reports will flag questionable purchases like, oh, let's say, 2 tons of fertilizer and a Ryder truck. But what about the ones who don't exhibit that kind of behavior? Credit reports and bank activity aren't going to prevent a hijacker alone, in my opinion.
    • if you haven't done anything, then what do you have to worry about?

      That's kind of beside the point. I mean, would you feel okay about your ISP reading all of your E-Mails? You haven't done anything wrong, so it's okay right?

      It doesn't matter whether or not you've done anything, it's that some bored system admin doesn't have any business reading your mail in the first place. Likewise, some moron working at an airport doesn't really have any business knowing your credit history, and some spook at the NSA doesn't have any right to listen to you cry on the phone while breaking up with your girlfriend -- whether it's supposedly for national security or not.

      Do you know what preemptive action really is? It's carrying yourself in a way that people have no reason to bother you in the first place. It's not supplying arms to rogue states, setting up puppet regimes and then bitching about how "undemocratic" those regimes are, right after they decide they don't want to be pimped anymore.

      This kind of profiling will never fly w/the ACLU and the like, though.

      It didn't fly the first time around because of the racial profiling. However, looking for completely clean credit records is only going to result in more religious profiling for this simple reason: In Islam the idea of giving or receiving interest is completely forbidden, so very strict Muslims aren't even going to be using credits cards, and thus have no history at all. More moderate individuals will charge, but then pay the bill before interest is applied. Others simply don't care at all and approach it secularly. I'm assuming there's other religious beliefs out there that hold this same position.

      Some will probably say 'good, very traditional types are more likely to be terrorists.' Well, take into consideration that the 9/11 hijackers charged up a storm of supplies, and supposedly went to strip clubs. Basically, they were your average 20-something American males in terms of their lifestyle. So tell me who exactly you're going to profile for? Religious types? Those individuals in most characteristics didn't even meet that criteria. The average very religious Muslim wouldn't have had much to do with the 9/11 hijackers.

      Monitoring bank and credit reports will flag questionable purchases like, oh, let's say, 2 tons of fertilizer and a Ryder truck.

      Just remember not to buy toenail clippers or a fingernail file before your next flight I guess, since that might set off their "red alarm."

      Like someone else pointed out somewhere in this discussion, these new laws aren't about fighting terrorism, no more than "tougher drug laws" are a "war on drugs." What they are about is conditioning you to accept things you wouldn't ordinarily; being used to having your privacy violated on a regular basis, so that when the totalitarian state finally does come in (as if it hasn't already), you will be too caught up in it to fight.
    • if you haven't done anything, then what do you have to worry about?
      Simple, because I don't trust the govt. any more than the govt. trusts me. More power and authority = more abuses.

      The whole idea of "govt. trustworthy, people untrustworthy" is wrong. Government is made up of people, who are just as fallible as the average joe, except to the extent that they are under public scrutiny.

      As the Nixon era came to an end, changes were made and laws were passed to make it harder for the government to hurt and harass people. My guess is that the pendulum will swing back in that direction in a few years.

  • Flight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digitalia (127982) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:07PM (#5411002) Homepage
    So we shall soon expect to see the less affluent citizens of this nation prohibited from travelling by airplane? There is simply no way in which the algorithm they use to determine risk could be flawless, and in such a matter, even one false-positive is too much. I always heard jurists refer to the slippery slope, and I had to wonder whether it was true. In the last five years og litigation, there have been an inconceivable number of unconstitutional or unjust laws proposed, and an even more amazing number of them have been passed. We shall finally see whether the slippery slope exists. I sincerely hope that we can return even a small measure of the freedom that this republic is supposed to represent, but I fear that it shall continue only to get worse.

    I fear that things will degenerate so greatly, that nothing short of armed insurrection will return it to the path of its founders' intent. I fear that day, because if force becomes necessary, then it is already too late.
    • We'll see the less affluent citizens searched whenever they travel. Or, more likely, we'll see anyone who doesn't change their habits to look innocent (that is, anyone who isn't a terrorist) searched. There are obviously a lot of false positives; in fact, there's only been one *true* positive, and that was a rather lame and unlucky attempt.

      Given that everybody has grown accustomed to being searched when they travel, and security has grown accustomed to the people they search being innocent, I think this is a fine thing. People had previously lost the presumption of innocence; it's good to see an instance in which suspects are nearly certain to be innocent. If it were a one-in-a-million court case in which the defendant had done anything, juries would take a lot moe convincing than they do these days.
    • *Everything* is a slippery slope. How many absolutes can you state? Do not kill. Well.... The slippery slope is usually an illogical throwaway argument. We tolerate innumerable necessary compromises where priorities like civil rights and security conflict. The only time the argument makes sense is where there are no manageable standards to figure out where one is on the slope and stay there. Such situations are the exception.

      Personally I believe in democracy over not violence. To argue justice is better served with the barrel of a gun than through principles and political action runs directly against our framers' intent(s). The Constitution embodies this desire for liberty through order, as the so preamble nicely captures:
      We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      Armed insurrection is inconsistent with upholding the Constitution -- it is the path to abrogating it, as was attempted in the Civil War. And before anyone cite Jefferson's words about watering trees with blood (the quote McVeigh wore on his T-shirt when arrested), note that he was soon talked out of his momentary exuberance by a friend.

      There are many routes of protest and resistance far short of shooting people (and which people would these be?). What is necessary is for Americans aggrieved to pursue them.
    • You don't have to be poor or have bad credit to be totally prohibited from flying [stephaniebelser.com]. For example, everyone who flies private (GA) aircraft, or who patronizes a flight school, aircraft rental, or fixed base operator in the Washington area has been fucked in the ass by the Mayberry Machiavellians [aopa.org]. To fly a Cessna around the pattern at JYO or HEF, assuming there will still be somewhere to buy fuel or tie the aircraft down at night, you now have to file a flight plan and transmit a discrete transponder code or risk interception.
  • Yeah well (Score:5, Funny)

    by EpsCylonB (307640) <[eps] [at] [epscylonb.com]> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:10PM (#5411013) Homepage
    anyone who doesn't want a national identity card has something to hide.
  • by Spazholio (314843) <slashdot AT lexal DOT net> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:10PM (#5411019) Homepage
    I mean, other than cars, that is. What about train stations? Do they have screening policies that are nearly as strict? Hell, I'd be happy to extend my travel time by a day or more, just so I don't need to worry about having my name run through any number of databases in the vain hopes of finding something and appeasing the herd/masses of their security concerns.

    My wife and I both predict that within 10 years (most likely less) it will be required to carry "papers" while you travel, even in your car, not just on a plane or some such. Interstate travel will start to be as arduous as international travel. It's quite sickening, actually...
  • ...I've got crappy credit, and I'm buying a one-way ticket to Vegas at the last minute with cash to go have a weekend with some blackjack dealer I met who was vacationing near me? (hey, it COULD happen!)

    So...I get flagged red. Now what, they won't let me board? No free peanuts? What exactly will this do TO me (not FOR me, I think we already know that answer).

  • by sqlzealot (553596) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:11PM (#5411022) Journal
    I understand that there are too many risks to allow people to fly unscreened, but I would like to see a system that does not force people to prove their innocence every time they fly. One alternative might be what I call "security clearance ids". Flyers apply for an id, and get a background check. If they check out, then all those with IDs should be free to pass through checkpoints without screening or interrogation. One advantage of this method is that the screening is done offline, so if there is a problem, you have time to appeal your clearance rejection, instead of missing your flight because of an overzealous guard. I don't see this as any worse than what many federal-related employees have to go through. Another advantage is that your personal information is only looked at by the certifying bureau and not at every airport database. This would also be MORE secure, since for questionable people you could investigate further in ways that would not be possible at an airport, like interviews with family members.

    We can keep the current system in place with searches and questions for (hopefully) the minority of travellers who would't have an id. If you can take the time to get a driver's license once every couple years, you can take the time to get a background check too.

    • What if you got some tim mcveigh type, who would probably pass such a test (if his milita ties were unknown), and would be able to sneak all the weaponry he wanted onboard.
    • Definitely. "Present Your Papers!" should be the new way of business in our airports! Not just airports, but all interstate travel. Travel is a priviledge! Present Your Papers!
  • Great... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheDarkener (198348)
    Now I can feel just as uneasy getting my boarding pass as I do going through the Walmart metal detectors, with the senior-citizen security guard eyeing me like I stole something.

    I love the land of the free.
  • If the systems don't work well, or against innocent people then we will certainly hear about them.

    Oh, BTW, it is a serious violation of privacy.
  • Boycott Delta (Score:3, Insightful)

    by birdman666 (144812) <ericreid@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:17PM (#5411045) Homepage
    If you don't like, then don't fly delta. It will either send them a message and they'll rethink their policy, or other airlines will stay away from similar profiling systems due to the chance of losing business.
  • by lightray (215185) <tobin@splorg.org> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:21PM (#5411058) Homepage
    Carnival Booth: An Algorithm for Defeating the Computer-Assisted Passenger Screening System [mit.edu] is as relevant as ever. These profiling systems actually decrease our security.

    The colored terror warning levels probably also decrease our actual security by creating a false sense of security -- level green just indicates to terrorists that it's a good time to catch us off guard.
    • Yup. And this bit of attempted STO and unaccountability:

      The scary thing is that no one really knows which databases the government will use or how long the records will remain.

      ...doesn't help in the least, because schemes like Carnival Booth just treat the screening system as a black box anyway (interesting tangential parallel to the recent Turing Test stuff btw).

      You can't even make an observation like "pissing away freedom", since at least pissing has some tangible benefit to the organism. This is just about control and self-justification. How long until the Carnival Booth paper and others like it are illegal to publish for security reasons? Shurely that sort of thing is even worse than letting the Chinese government see the Ancient American Secrets in the Windows source code!

      (not to mention little children pointing at world leaders with no clothes...)

  • I am a terrorist (Score:2, Informative)

    by NullProg (70833)
    - I have a beard.
    - I am mistakenly listed as a vegitarian on BA.
    - I carry lots of hardware when I travel.
    - I am a smart ass towards people who ask stupid questions (most security/airline employees).

    But seriously, I have already written to the congressmen and senators I helped put in office. If they vote for this they will no longer receive a vote from me.

    Enjoy,
    • I saw nothing in the article indicating this would be subjected to a vote by your elected representatives.
  • Seat 23C spends $250 a month on burritos! Look at the SIZE of him! Sweet Jesus, he's GASSY! EVACUATE THE PLANE!

    He's fallen asleep, of course, so they send hostage negotiators on to try and get the people in 23A and 23B off the plane alive.
  • Random is best! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cs668 (89484) <cservin@cromagnon.com> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:34PM (#5411108)
    This is so stupid. Everyone bitches when the 80 year old grandma gets searched, but random is the best.

    If there is any "methodology" at all to doing this profiling there is a danger that you would just probe the system till you discover the "right" person to send through.

    Keep sending through different kinds off people until you know who you can send that would never get checked.

    Random is the way to go.
    • This is so stupid.
      Agreed.

      If there is any "methodology" at all to doing this profiling there is a danger that you would just probe the system till you discover the "right" person to send through.
      I agree even more.

      The correct way to implement this is to not do it.

      Police our borders and inbound flights. Police the people who want VISA's to learn at our schools. Police our borders better. Nothing within CAPII prevents 9/11 (or 11/9 to our european friends).

      Enjoy,
  • by entrigant (233266) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:39PM (#5411123)
    ... how a phrase such as "such as whether the individual is on government watch lists" doesn't scare the hell out of every single person in the US.

    Perhaps there's a reason public education sucks so badly besides governmental stupidity... perhaps it's governmental genious to get all these fucking idiots to think crap like this is actually good. To me it's absolutely astonishing that a lot of people think protesting should be outright illegal.. do they not comprehend what that means?! This kind of crap almost makes me want to cry, and thanks to the US's ability to influence most every other country with either wads of money or military power there is no escape... "Brave New World" wasn't a fictional book, it was a god damn prophecy.

    This is just so damn scary... I've had a gun put to my head by a nervous wreck of a thief, and I am still more scared about our current political climate than I was about that...
    • Why?
      Because Joe Sixpack cares about 1. Getting paid 2. Getting laid 3. Getting a good nite's sleep.
      • To quote a reference I quickly dug up:

        In 1976 Earl Butz, the secretary of agriculture, resigned after it was widely publicized tht he had made a racist remark. Butz's statement had been: "I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit."

        Recently, if I believe what I find on the internet, Butz was elected to the NRA board.

        Note that doesn't read "erected to an NRA board". Damn.

  • Jesus... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:42PM (#5411133) Homepage Journal
    For the most part now I'd rather drive to wherever I'm going then take an intra-continental flight. Security is so insane there, it's not even funny. just the other day [thestar.com] a Canadian citizen was sent to India because INS officials thought (for some reason) her passport was invalid.

    Not that any of this stuff is even necessary to prevent hijacking (just lock the cabin door, and have passengers fight back), or bombing (use bomb detectors!). Simple, obvious things like that are the way to prevent 9/11 type disasters, not creepy big-brother bullshit.

    Its nothing more then a power-grab by totalitarians.
  • by loraksus (171574)
    3 colours - perfect for the dumbass security guards.
    'nuff said.
  • Time to get out. . . (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Friday February 28, 2003 @11:04PM (#5411227)
    I've said it a few times before in a few places, but it bears repeating. . .

    Homeland passes. Here's what to do. [kuro5hin.org] (This post was a little intense sounding, but still, I believe, entirely valid. It's interesting to look back at where we were in November; not just at how the unimaginable happened, but how it now feels normal).

    A German Jew on why he didn't get out in time. [kuro5hin.org] (This post is REALLY informative; it's a story by a German Jew who explains how he let all the warning signs slip past him and didn't get out before the Nazi axe fell. Read this one! It's gold.)

    -Fantastic Lad
  • Travel Rating: RED (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmytheNO@SPAMjwsmythe.com> on Friday February 28, 2003 @11:45PM (#5411358) Homepage Journal
    So, it uses my credit history and banking history to decide if I'm allowed to fly? Sounds like airtravel is only for upper-class people, and not for us "commoners"...


    Transportation officials say a contractor will be picked soon to build the nationwide computer system, which will check such things as credit reports and bank account activity and compare passenger names with those on government watch lists.


    So..

    For myself:
    Credit History: low to moderate
    Bank History: recent purchases of gas, guns, or large widthdrawls
    Gov't watchlist: FBI - Cybercrimes

    I'm going to have a "RED" rating, which means no air travel according to the article... Do you think this will be open for discussion at the terminal?

    Lets not even talk about how many travelers won't be going to DefCon next year. :) (Aug 1-3, Las Vegas, for those who don't know).

    My credit history is a long run of usually breaking even (and sometimes not), and a few years of decent income and fixing past debts.

    My bank history is mixed.. I've had some idiots at banks really mess up my attitude towards banks (see my previous rants). So I've had large sums of cash in banks, and then move the cash.

    We won't discus why I'd be watched by the feds. :)

    Consider this.. I'm going out of town for a month (like I did around Christmas).. I may take most of the cash out of my bank account (95%+) to have spending cash, since one of the credit bureaus completely hosed my rating and the bank won't issue me one of those handy-dandy Visa debit cards. I don't have a credit card that I could live on for a few days on the road, much less a month.

    I do own guns. I have a small collection. I'm a red-blooded American, and that's one of the founding features of America is the right we have to own guns. Imagine George Washington saying "Now that we've become an independant nation, everyone hand over their guns." hahaha.

    I'd almost guarantee that I'll flag as yellow or red if I'm going on vacation.

    I wonder if trans-oceanic cruises will pick up more sales now.. If you can't fly in America, you sure won't be able to go anywhere but the Americas (North, Central, or South), unless someone else knows a good way to get to Europe, Asia, or Austraila without a plane.

    I know it's a 6-8 hour flight across America, or 40+ hours of driving. They're going to be pushing transportation back years if they say any percentage of America can no longer fly.

    Maybe they're just trying to make up for the bucks that the US Federal Gov't has been loosing into Amtrak every year. :)

    I frequently talk to someone in Russia, and he really relates the happenings in America to the old Soviet controls over it's people.. Even down to the name "Homeland Security".

    Maybe I should just make up a few extra sets of papers. One I travel with. One I get hotels with, and then one that's really me. :)

    • My credit history is a long run of usually breaking even (and sometimes not), and a few years of decent income and fixing past debts.

      You realize that this should actually make you look MORE like an "average american citizen", thus reducing your "terrorist quotient" and making you less likely to be flagged?

      The government is looking for people who stand out as unusual, lack a long credit history, or show a sudden change in their banking and purchasing patterns.

      I'd almost guarantee that I'll flag as yellow or red if I'm going on vacation.
      And I'd almost guarantee that you won't. You're might think you are unusual, but as far as the government computers are concerned, you're like thousands of other citizens out there.

      With your history, you might have a difficult time getting a car loan, but you won't have any trouble getting on an airliner.

  • Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by utd-blaze (654032)
    America is no longer the country it once was. We are living under a totalitarian regime. Do you really think this bullshit, "threat assessment" is going to really improve air travel safety? The obvious answere is no. They are just going to keep searching dark skinned people, just like the have been since the Reichstag, I mean World Trade Center went down.

    CAPPS is not meant to prevent terrorism. It is meant to keep dissidents under control, and if possible out of our country. It is also meant to justify the massive amounts of information that the government is now compiling on every one of us.

    This is part of an obvious trend of policies that eliminate privacy and freedom. Fun activity: Next time the terrorist threat level goes from yellow to orange watch C-Span to learn about what new laws the Big Brother has planned to make us safer. There is a direct correlation between the "terror alert color" and how Orwellian government proposals get. Last time it was orange, Bush told us that we had to attack Iraq because they support terror, subtlely implying that by attacking Iraq we would reduce our terrorist threat.

    Our president claims that invading a middleastern country will reduce our threat of terrorism. CAPPS is not about terrorism, just like Iraq is not about terrorism, just like (fill in the blank) is not about terrorism. Wake up and smell the government.

    By the way, did anyone else see the news story about how hacked Direct TV cards support terrorism? Nothing supports terrorism more than paying your taxes.
  • by Vryl (31994) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @12:05AM (#5411445) Journal
    Because it leaks information, giving you an oracle you can test against.

    This article, http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue7_10/chakrab arti/ [firstmonday.dk]
    demonstrates how:

    "Abstract

    Carnival Booth: An Algorithm for Defeating the Computer-Assisted Passenger Screening System by Samidh Chakrabarti and Aaron Strauss.

    To improve the efficiency of airport security screening, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) deployed the Computer Assisted Passenger Screening system (CAPS) in 1999. CAPS attempts to identify potential terrorists through the use of profiles so that security personnel can focus the bulk of their attention on high-risk individuals. In this paper, we show that since CAPS uses profiles to select passengers for increased scrutiny, it is actually less secure than systems that employ random searches. In particular, we present an algorithm called Carnival Booth that demonstrates how a terrorist cell can defeat the CAPS system. Using a combination of statistical analysis and computer simulation, we evaluate the efficacy of Carnival Booth and illustrate that CAPS is an ineffective security measure. Based on these findings, we argue that CAPS should not be legally permissible since it does not satisfy court-interpreted exemptions to the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment. Finally, based both on our analysis of CAPS and historical case studies, we provide policy recommendations on how to improve air security."

  • Well they found a new way to bankrupt airlines..

    And for what? If I rob a bank what are the chances that I will rob it again knowing that security has been changed?

    If I wanted to live like an Israeli afraid of everyone I would have moved ot Israel!!!

    Ashcroft we want our constitution back!
  • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @12:41AM (#5411601) Journal

    First there was offshore IT... ... and now... offshore citizens!

    Don't like it, get the hell out. Or at least write your representative.
  • This will only piss off customers even MORE and drive more airlines out of business.

    SMRT MOVE AIRLINES!!!
  • ...since the folks at the airlines will be using "black", "brown", and "white" to determine the threat levels.
  • by VON-MAN (621853) on Saturday March 01, 2003 @05:17AM (#5412290)
    Well, it already working, sort off. Here's a nice list of two Canadians, one Irish and a Greek who had to deal with it. Sorry to say, it looks like an extreme racist law and the morons (=customs) who enforce it are only too happy to play along. Thank you Tom Tommorrow for the links! And like Tom is saying: "Sad to say, if you're dark skinned and Canadian, you might want to avoid travelling through American airports."

    Here's the case of the nationalized Canadian citizen who was deported "back" to his homeland of Syria and has not been heard from since:

    http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/PE story/TGAM/20021014/UDEPON/International/internati onal/internationalAmericasHeadline_temp/4/4/6/

    Bernadette Devlin McCaliskey, the world-renowned Irish civil rights leader was refused entry into the United States of Ashcroft. At Chicago's O'Hare, she was told that she presented a danger and wouldn't be permitted to step foot on American soil. She begged them to recheck their computer. She insisted there had to be a mistake. She told them she came in peace. They said that Tony Blair's British government had told them by fax a different story. They said she was a risk. Yes, this is the same Devlin who at 21 became the youngest MP elected to Parliament. Deported:

    http://www.ruminatethis.com/archives/000946.html

    a Canadian citizen who was deported to India:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16 89.htm

    Last week, Eugene Angelopoulos arrived at JFK enroute to New York University, where he had been invited to speak at a conference on Philosophy and Politics. The Greek academic was instead detained at the airport, shackled and interrogated. He was asked to explain his views about an American war on Iraq, and immigration officials demanded to know if he was "anti-American." Ultimately, he found his way back to Athens, but his NYU stint was not to be, and he was shaken to the core.

  • by xA40D (180522)
    The FBI recently had some poor guy banged-up in South Africa for three weeks becasue his name was the same as a possible alias once used by a conman.

    "When travelers check in, their names will be punched into the system..."

    I wonder is this system will be equally inept. hope so, I could do with a decent laugh.

    Imagine...

    Mr Brian Sladen, I'm arresting you on the grounds that the computer thinks you must be a terrorist specialising in encryption...

  • Does anyone really think this system will only be used at the airports? This is the PRACTICE system.

    If the authorities think it works "well enough", they'll be extending it to anything they can get control of.
  • The Freedom of Information Act [usdoj.gov] is the tool of choice for finding out exactly what about you is in those databases. In fact, I would not be surprised if a lot of people started flooding them with requests - and forcing them to answer, with lawsuits if they do not comply with the Act.

    As an aside, an Expedia [expedia.com] ad popped up when I went to that article. I love it when collusion with advertisers is that obvious.
  • So whenever they refreh their database with a query to my credit rating, are those queries going to count just like other queries? Each credit query causes a small "bad spot" hit on the rating, see Discussion about Employers using credit reports during the hiring process here:

    Dealing with Employers that Perform Credit Checks [slashdot.org]

    If yes, then frequent fliers are going to get the "too many queries" credit rating penalty, which may cause some uproar due to the fact that some people will get denied credit because the CAPPSII system pushed them over the edge.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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