Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy United States Your Rights Online

HomeSec Blacklist to be Available to Private Companies 315

Posted by michael
from the but-not-to-you dept.
unassimilatible writes "The Washington Times reports that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are developing a database that will allow private companies to submit lists of individuals to be screened for a connection to terrorism. The database will eventually allow private-sector entities, such as operators of critical infrastructure facilities or organizers of large events, to submit a list of persons associated with those events to the U.S. government to be screened for any nexus to terrorism. All of this won't be cheap either; total terror-related IT spending by US federal and state governments will run past $100 billion in 2004. But don't feel left out Europeans, since the EU is considering a terror database as well, although France and UK are reluctant to share intel."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

HomeSec Blacklist to be Available to Private Companies

Comments Filter:
  • by some2 (563218) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:39PM (#8684985)
    The issue with allowing this is that terrorist organizations, who are generally well funded, may be able to check associates against the list and verify they are not listed. They can also get creative and monitor the list to find the leaks of information, such as when a new person in their organization is introduced to one of their existing associates (the leak), and then the new member suddenly shows up on the list. People don't have to be terrorists when they join organizations either (initial screening), they can choose to go that way after they have joined.

    Besides, this list has been around for ages, and has been circulated among financial institutions for years. It's not really anything new, it's just more public now.
    • I wonder what the blacklist equivalent of a googlebomb is ?
      How much do you have to pay to get your favorite "friend " listed ?
    • by Ralph JH Nader (765522) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:03PM (#8685253) Journal
      Somehow, I think if you're on the list, the FBI will be a little more discrete than just return the list to the company and tell the company which people are suspected of being terrorsts. I would expect, instead, that the FBI would probably handle it in a more discrete way. They might do further investigation on suspected terrorists that are attending the event, and might even attend the event and follow them around. I'll leave it up to you to decide if the FBI's secrecy is for reasons of common sense or for evil, but I'd bet that's how they handle it.
    • by cas2000 (148703) on Friday March 26, 2004 @09:24PM (#8686203)
      > The issue with allowing this is that terrorist
      > organizations, who are generally well funded, may
      > be able to check associates against the list and
      > verify they are not listed.
      ?

      yes, that's one of the problems with it.

      another problem is "what is the definition of a terrorist?", and the related issue of "who gets to decide?"

      will, say, greenpeace be classified as a terrorist organisation because they "cause economic harm" to US interests? what level of dissent, membership of which political and/or protest organisations will cause someone to be classified as a terrorist?

      (this is not as ridiculous as it sounds - i've already heard several oil & forestry industry representatives refer stridently to environmental activists as "terrorists")

      what happens to an individual who is a member of so-called terrorist organisations like Greenpeace or the Sierra Club or some other moderate activist group? will they be able to get a job? will they be able to buy a plane ticket or a train ticket? will they be able to go to public events, e.g. purchase tickets to a concert? will they be refused a bank account because the govt checks says "Yes -- they are associated with terrorist groups"?

      say goodbye to the right to dissent. going, going....gone.

      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:50PM (#8686709) Homepage
        another problem is "what is the definition of a terrorist?", and the related issue of "who gets to decide?" will, say, greenpeace be classified as a terrorist organisation because they "cause economic harm" to US interests?

        No it is not such a bad question because some groups such as Earth First, some of the anti-abortion activists and some anti-vivisectionists crossed the line long ago. Earth First does things which are very likely to kill people, like spike trees.

        There certainly are radical terrorists who champion those causes, the problem is that the line is usually abused. The current UK foreign secretary was under MI5 surveillance when he was a student. So Blair's number one man in the war on terra was once on a blacklist.

        I have seen this happen personally in the UK. A group associated with the UK conservative party called the Economic League [guardian.co.uk] maintained a blacklist of 'left wing sympathizers' that they sold to an undisclosed list of employers. I got listed for saying that there was no way I was going to have anything to do with any group that used those tactics. In case people are wondering how privately educated sons of the establishment like myself turn on the tory party like I did, well that was the Damascus moment for me.

        You can easily verify this claim further with a small amount of Googling. The list itself collapsed in irrelevance after Bob Maxwell bought a copy and set up a stand at the Labour party conference. There were more Tories on it than left wing radicals. They used to list each other when they got into faction fights.

        Given the treatment meeted out to Richard Clarke in the past few days, there is no way that John Ashcroft or George Bush can be trusted with such a power. They are now talking of selectively declassifying intelligence for the sole purpose of being able to punish Clarke with a specious perjury prosecution. They went after Wilson by illegally uncovering the fact that his wife was a covert CIA operative. The continued to threaten O'Niel with prosecutions even after it was admitted that the Whitehouse had cleared all his documents for release.

        And you know what? At this point I'm not really sure that Ashcroft's excuse for holding Padilla without indictment or trial is going to turn out to be valid when we find out what it is.

        In the past few days Bush has shown more energy and passion in his efforts to crush Clarke than he ever has in his pro-forma attempts to track down and eliminate al Qaeda. I simply cannot believe that any other major party candidate in that race on either side would not have invaded Afghanistan to destroy al Qaeda and stayed there focused on that single task until it was complete. Forbes, Keyes, Gore, Bradley, I can't believe a single one would not have invaded (they would have been impeached anyway so it would not matter) and I can't believe any other candidate would have finished the job.

      • another problem is "what is the definition of a terrorist?", and the related issue of "who gets to decide?"

        There can also be time factors involved. e.g. The US was quite happy with Bin Laden and co when they were attacking the USSR in Afghanistan. The definition the US Government uses means that "friends" are never "terrorists". (But they can be if they stop being "friends".)
  • Do You Remember? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:39PM (#8684987) Homepage Journal
    Remember that off-the-cuff troll you fired off on some blog or newsgroup years ago?

    The one where you joked about blowing something up, poisoning the town watersupply or leaving a flaming bag of poop on the mayor's doorstep? It was just a youthful indiscretion, which anyone could make after a few beers or a blunt. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously. There were not pipe bombs under your bed or fatigues and a gun in your closet. You'd rather be shooting the shit with friends at the mall than shooting people from the trunk of a parked car. Years pass and you have met that special someone and settled down to a mortgage, a couple auto loans, putting some money away for college funds and that sporty little red "mid-life crisis" Then one day you're called into the Human Resources department. There are a couple serious looking men in suits waiting there to meet you. It seems on a routine check your name came up. You had started or participated in a thread that someone else did. That someone else just blew up a bus in Tel Aviv.

    Remember that off-the-cuff troll you fired off on some blog or newsgroup years ago? Someone did.

    • Re:Do You Remember? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mantera (685223) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:06PM (#8685278)
      you're not kidding... this stuff is for real... i know someone whose step-daughter is a 16 year old mtv-styled greenpeace-enthausiast white kid with a website... and on account of this he's been put on some list and it showed up when he failed to get clearance from the government for a job he was applying to...
      • Re:Do You Remember? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:41PM (#8685558) Homepage Journal
        a 16 year old mtv-styled greenpeace-enthausiast

        Years ago, when I lived in the home city of a large multi-national corporation, there was a Green Peace protest. A few GP folk set up shop in town to protest various past and/or present activities of the giant. Seems a local sheriff and the corporation shared some intelligence information while investigating these people. Who they were, who the were known to sleep with, what they ate, etc. A serious gaffe. Heads rolled (probably a few just for appearances) and Green Peace brought their lawyers in (who are no strangers to this sort of thing.) Suits filed, etc. Terribly ugly stuff.

        That was then, 20 years ago or so. Now business and government are unabashed about doing something like this. How far we've come.

    • It gets worse (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:12PM (#8685321)
      Company security guard with nothing to do at 4am spots a screensaver dumping the Zippy the Pinhead fortune file to my CRT. Something to the effect of "I want to blow everyone up with a cute, colorful hydrogen bomb!" He writes it up, 24 hours later they call me into a 9am meeting (I have to drive 85 miles to get there) and start treating me like a mental patient "Is there something bothering you?" I explain to them that the screensaver was from a corporate approved Linux Distro installed and configured by their corporate IT guy, and I never touched it. They start screaming at me, accusing me of not cooperating, and saying things like "It was on your computer, therefore you are responsible! You are creating a hostile workplace!" as if their screaming at me doesn't create a hostile workplace. They then confiscate my badge, suspend me and send me back home again. Gee thanks, for making me drive 3 hours just so you could yell at me! Sound too ridiculous to be true? No, this actually happened to me as a contractor at HP!
    • I mean, seriously, man--why get worked up about politics when you're throwing a party [slashdot.org]?
    • by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot@lise[ ].net ['lle' in gap]> on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:19PM (#8685384) Journal
      Time for a Karma-flush. On the one side, we have people scaring the hell out of everyone talking about terrorists, making you paranoid about your next-door neighbor, frightened to take public transportation, nervous in broad daylight.

      On the other side, we have people wielding Orwell. Big Brother is watching you, the government is evil and corrupt, you can't take a piss off-center without a dozen people knowing about it. Here's a hypothetical story I made up, complete with a series of lottery-scale unlikely events, leading to a conclusion that mostly just serves make you scared of your own shadow. That's my evidence.

      It really sucks to be caught in the middle of those camps. One of these days I'm just going to tear off into the woods and live Thoreau-style, because it seems like the radicals are the only people having fun these days.
      • Tear off into the woods Thoreau-style? Man, Walden wasn't exactly the wilderness back-woods. It wasn't a major trip into Concord for groceries and partying.
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:41PM (#8685972) Journal
        On the other side, we have people wielding Orwell. Big Brother is watching you, the government is evil and corrupt, you can't take a piss off-center without a dozen people knowing about it. Here's a hypothetical story I made up, complete with a series of lottery-scale unlikely events, leading to a conclusion that mostly just serves make you scared of your own shadow.

        Rent a clue.

        The Orwellian scenarios sound like a bunch of pipe-dreaming by paranoids to you because they haven't happened to you.

        Yet.

        But trust me. They do happen. They happen a lot.

        They've happened to me. They've happened to lots of my friends. They've happened to my wife. They've happened to a number of our ancestors. (On her side, at least one per generation for the last three, and that's just counting the ones on the DIRECT line.)

        They happened to opposition political figures big time, over and over. Not just in countries "over there" - but right here at home. (Look up the FBI's "COINTELPRO" just for starters.) Every twenty years or so the stuff that happened twenty years back comes to light. And the story is always the same: "That was THEN. That COULDN'T happen NOW." And twenty years later you find out that it WAS happening now, too.

        j'accuse is alive and well, as is stereotyping, as is guilt-by-association, and so on.

        The conspiracy-theory tinfoil-hat stereotype is VERY convenient for the people who are actually running such operations. It discredits their victims's cries for help, as well as the warnings of those who haven't yet been vicitmized (as far as they can tell) but who understand the dynamics and can thus read the writing on the wall.

        The biggest trouble with these things is that, by the time they come for YOU, it's too late. So you have to head them off while they're still being formed up, or still going after just the genuine scumbags (and the people the operators honestly mistake for genuine scumbags), rather than waiting until the machine is well oiled, armored, and compeletely out of control.
      • Re:Do You Remember? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jadrano (641713)
        One of these days I'm just going to tear off into the woods and live Thoreau-style, because it seems like the radicals are the only people having fun these days.

        There is probably a database of people who do so, at least if they are as thorough as the police in Switzerland during the cold war. Apart from members of leftwing parties and environmentalists, etc. they also had a special file with all dairymen and shepherds in the mountains. There were of course "harmless" people in Alpine dairies, which had g
    • RE: Snipers... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Here's a tidbit from 'Operation Northwoods' (http://www.infowars.com/saved%20pages/northwoods . pdf):

      "...and wounding civilians in Miami, Florida and Washington, DC using paramilitary sniper teams."

      Operation Northwoods is a 1962 plan of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff concocted to justify a US military response in Cuba. Among other wonderful things, the US Special Forces would arrange for two-and-three-man "freelance" sniper teams to roam and randomly shoot people at will in order to cause panic and permit t
  • by Dr Reducto (665121) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:40PM (#8685007) Journal
    I am not that worried about companies being able to find out who may be a terror threat. I don't think that the government will give them a dossier on whomever they ask for.

    What I am worried about is the government collecting and keeping this data. They may just be using this program as a honeypot to get companies to give them data. They get to know your location on a precise time and date. They also may be able to do some basic hypothesising based on this data. For instance, people who are often found at the same events could be grouped together, and rudimentary sosical networks could be strung together. You could end up under investigation if you turn up at too many events that have "terrorist suspects" at them. Maybe even if they started collecting names of those at political rallies, and started adding those to the databases. Maybe the cities will say: You can have your protest, if you supply a list of names of people who will be there. And BAM! You have lost your privacy and freedom to associate.
    • by Ralph JH Nader (765522) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:54PM (#8685156) Journal
      Maybe the cities will say: You can have your protest, if you supply a list of names of people who will be there.

      Perhaps, although doing so would be a clear violation of the first amendment's freedom of assembly. I know people will cite the Patriot Act as an example that the government doesn't give a damn about the Constitution. On the other hand, I don't recall any real limitations on freedom of speech (okay, not giving expert advice to terrorists, but the courts struck that part of the Patriot Act down). They've been unwilling so far to touch the first amendment.

      They get to know your location on a precise time and date.

      Don't forget while you're there to only pay in plain cash. If you use a credit card or a check, then they'll know you were there either. Since this seems to only be used for events, many of the people will probably be buying things with their credit cards. In other words, I don't know that for most people, they'll be getting tracked more than they already are.

      Maybe even if they started collecting names of those at political rallies, and started adding those to the databases.

      For the most part, I don't see this happening. Both parties have been involved with the Patriot Act and with taking your rights away. Quite frankly, I think they don't want the election system associated with blacklists. It could quite easily backfire, and I'm sure that the opponents of the people in office who passed the Patriot Act would spin it as an attempt to scare voters into voting the incumbent back in.
      • Don't forget while you're there to only pay in plain cash. If you use a credit card or a check, then they'll know you were there either. Since this seems to only be used for events, many of the people will probably be buying things with their credit cards. In other words, I don't know that for most people, they'll be getting tracked more than they already are.

        Yeah, but I think that the people who would be allowed to participate in the program will want to cooperate (for the most part). Thus, they will ma
      • by zurab (188064) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:49PM (#8685612)
        Maybe the cities will say: You can have your protest, if you supply a list of names of people who will be there.

        Perhaps, although doing so would be a clear violation of the first amendment's freedom of assembly.

        Amendment I

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


        Cities already require their advance approval of any demonstration. They have their own criteria what can be allowed and what cannot. I don't see anything in the 1st amendment that can keep them from requiring organizers and attendants lists to check against terrorist databases to the list of their criteria.

        I know people will cite the Patriot Act as an example that the government doesn't give a damn about the Constitution.

        Nothing of the sort is happening. In fact, Bush and Ashcroft are proud of having passed the US PATRIOT Act and regard it as a plus in their fight against terrorism. Needless to say, most people are blind to principles and could care less if the government is able to listen into their telephone conversations with their friends without a warrant, or tap into their OnStar or a similar device to track them or listen to their in-car conversations. Or detain suspects for extended periods of time, if not forever, without charging them with anything, giving them access to a lawyer, family, etc. All they do is talk to family and friends over the phone and drive kids around anyway - they have nothing to hide; do you? Principles go down the drain when government uses scare tactics.

        On the other hand, I don't recall any real limitations on freedom of speech (okay, not giving expert advice to terrorists, but the courts struck that part of the Patriot Act down). They've been unwilling so far to touch the first amendment.

        You are making it sound like it's OK to violate the Constitution as long as you don't violate the 1st amendment. The US PATRIOT Act and government's actions based thereon, violate 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments, among other things. i.e., courts will uphold the 1st amendment, but not care at all about others? How is this justified?
      • Very limited if you are within 60 days of an election. Course some will argue that it is fair, it keeps those "evil special interests" from advertising and influencing an election. However it is still a limit on freedom of speach.

      • They get to know your location on a precise time and date.

        Don't forget while you're there to only pay in plain cash. If you use a credit card or a check, then they'll know you were there either.


        Don't forget to take the battery out of your cell phone. Otherwise it will tell them (about every five minutes if they don't explicitly ask it for more reports), exactly where you are.
      • "Perhaps, although doing so would be a clear violation of the first amendment's freedom of assembly"

        Perhaps you should read about the governments response to an antiwar conference at Drake Univertsity after which a few people committed an act of peaceful civil disobedience. The DOJ swept in and wanted to know everyone who attended and everything that was said, they placed a gag order on the Univertisty prohibiting the University from telling anyone about the massive investigation because they wanted to ke
  • by realdpk (116490) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:41PM (#8685012) Homepage Journal
    A free terrorist report any time you're turned down for a job? Perhaps some states will require one free terrorist report per year for anyone who asks?

    I hate the idea, but I am curious to see what they have on file for me.
  • Hmm.. makes me wonder how many operatives would show up in a db? eg: France's spies in england.
  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:44PM (#8685046) Homepage Journal
    Private companies will make their lists available to the department of homeland security! Even your own writeup says this!

    It's not like Coca-coka is gonna be getting dirt from you by calling up the feds.
    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:17PM (#8685361) Homepage Journal
      >It's not like Coca-co[l]a is gonna be getting dirt [on] you by calling up the feds.

      You're right, Coca-Cola mostly deals with the CIA.

      • You're right, Coca-Cola mostly deals with the CIA.

        You joke, but have you seen this film [imdb.com]? It's about a coke marketer who travels to Australia, and then sends out for a bag full of machine guns...well it's worth seeing.

        I always thought that the whole film it was a veiled reference to alleged CIA involvement in this event [whitlamdismissal.com].

    • Private companies will make their lists available to the department of homeland security! Even your own writeup says this!

      I don't think so, read that again. It says: ... the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are developing a database that will allow private companies to submit lists of individuals to be screened for a connection to terrorism.

      The conventional interpretation of that language would be the same as if you submitted peoples names for drug screening, or credit checks. The submitte
  • by planckscale (579258) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:44PM (#8685048) Journal
    Didn't they already try this in the 60's with the movie industry and its blacklists? Me thinks this stinks.

    • by dogfart (601976) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:03PM (#8685247) Homepage Journal
      It was the late 1940's/early 1950's. A lot of very talented folks ended up in janitorial jobs for years as a result. You didn't have to be a flaming "I love Joe Stalin" Commie either - briefly joining an organization while in college during the 1930's could come back to haunt you 15 apolitical years later. See Article in Salon [salon.com]
    • by Simonetta (207550) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:07PM (#8685285)
      The Hollywood blacklist was started in the late 1940's and continued roughly until the late 1950's.
      It basically started when the president of the Screen Actor's Guild at the time, an over-the-hill actor named Ronald Reagan, decided to get on the good side of the House Committee on Un-American Activies by volunteering to turn over to them the names of all the people that he suspected of having Communist tendencies in the film industry.
      The willingness of this actor to be a total asshole and his enthusiasm in destroying the lives of the other actors that he was supposed to be defending as SAG president caught the attention of the dormant conservative Republicans, who financed his California governor's race in the mid 1960's.
      • The blacklist was breaking down by the early sixties, but some blacklisted entertainers had trouble getting jobs long after. For instance, it was primarily because Tommy Smothers stood up to CBS that Pete Seeger got onto The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967 (where he proceeded to completely hack off LBJ by singing "Waist Deep In The Big Muddy"), well after other folk entertainers had made it to TV.
        • Sorry to reply to myself but the "Waist Deep" incident did not happen until 1968. Seeger's first appearance on the show, however, was in 1967. (He was scheduled to sing "Waist Deep" in the first airing, but it was cut due to a dispute over cutting one of the verses.)
  • although France and UK are reluctant to share intel

    I know how that is! I'm an AMD guy myself, and "Friends don't let friends use Intel." :)

    • > > although France and UK are reluctant to share intel
      >
      > I know how that is! I'm an AMD guy myself, and "Friends don't let friends use Intel." :)

      "When you run SETI@Home on an Athlon, you hunt for aliens with Osama! Only the paranoid survive!"
      - Andy Grove

  • by TempusMagus (723668) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:45PM (#8685058) Homepage Journal
    This really scares me. I am confident that such technologies, as soon as they are entrenched, will start being used against anti-corp, anti free-trade groups rather quickly. Once they run out of Arab's with H-1 visas they are going to go after people with subscriptions to ADBUSTERS. What's the criteria for 'connection' or proximity to a "nexus of terrorism"?

    Look at it this way: they are going to rate people the same way good spam-filters rate incoming email to determine if they are spam. They'll probably be more right than wrong - but heaven help you if you fall through the cracks. No ability to fly. No ability to attend large gatherings. The ability to literally clip the wings of dissenting voices becomes a heck of lot easier.

    Lets look at who gets access:
    operators of critical infrastructure facilities - with the right lobbyist this could mean just about any large corporation. Microsoft would certainly qualify. Would about Coke? Ford motor company? Nike? They keep America financially strong - and what's good for Microsoft is good for American by golly!

    organizers of large events - such as political conventions? Concerts with bands whose message may contain material not suitable for fundamentalist ears?
    • This really scares me. I am confident that such technologies, as soon as they are entrenched, will start being used against anti-corp, anti free-trade groups rather quickly. Once they run out of Arab's with H-1 visas they are going to go after people with subscriptions to ADBUSTERS.
      and you just made the list ;-)
    • by Elias Israel (182882) <eli@promanage-inc.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:37PM (#8685517)
      This really scares me. I am confident that such technologies, as soon as they are entrenched, will start being used against anti-corp, anti free-trade groups rather quickly.

      This is a misdirected search for self-confidence, relevance, and meaning disguising itself as paranoia.

      The so-called "anti-globalization" drummings of a few highly-motivated but ultimately uninformed marchers is neither as significant, nor as threating to "the man" as to warrant the kind of Gestapo tactics you're talking about.

      But it feeds the egos of those involved to imagine that but for the presence of shadowy conspiracies and underhanded tactics, their "movement" would take over the world, instead of just leaving a bunch of litter on Main street and giving the nightly news a few seconds of colorful video to run.

      Trust me. You're safe. Hold your marches.

      The people don't care about you, and the government doesn't see you as an existential threat, just an occasional traffic control problem.

      • Safe? Excuse me? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TempusMagus (723668) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:55PM (#8685662) Homepage Journal
        "Trust me. You're safe. Hold your marches."

        Reality doesnt gibe with your charactarization.

        You say:
        "The so-called "anti-globalization" drummings of a few highly-motivated but ultimately uninformed marchers is neither as significant, nor as threating to "the man" as to warrant the kind of Gestapo tactics you're talking about."

        You are wrong and here are my facts to support it. You may or may not be aware of this but during the Miami Free Trade summit they really did use Gestapo tactics and the "the man" certainly felt that the event was threatening.

        Here are just a few highlights from the FT summit in Miami:
        • Use of undercover "snatch squads". There were groups of plainclothes officers who mingled with the crowd to arrest people without warning.
        • Reporters with the corporate news sources were kept behind police lines. Reporters were decked out in full riot gear, like embedded journalists in a war zone.
        • Independant journalists, and particularly indymedia reporters, were frequently arrested, or had their video cameras, film, and notepads seized.
        • Even the permitted labor march did not escape harassment, as the police turned away several busses full of retired union members from the Alliance of Retired Americans who were trying to travel to the march.
        The federal government gave the city of Miami $8.5 million for "anti-terrorism" security at the talks, as part of an $87 billion appropriations bill for the rebuilding of Iraq.

        Now let me be clear. They used money for the war in Iraq to quash protesters in Miami. I'm a reasonable person and I'm concerned. What on earth makes you think they wouldnt use a system like the one described here to monitor folks with such political views?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:46PM (#8685066)
    Wow, a little bit of history repeating [schoolnet.co.uk].
  • Is the U.K. in the E.U.? I thought they weren't, but then they were considering it, but then... I dunno, the U.K.'s stance on the E.U. confuses me.

    The U.K. and France have cooperated in recent years, though, for instance on the U.N. security council (they're 2 of the 5 permanant members with veto power, with the U.S., Russia, and China, I believe), and they usually vote together (for instance, recent decision to issue a statement about Israel's assassination of Palestenian HAMAS leaders - I believe the vo
    • Re:Britain (Score:2, Informative)

      Is the U.K. in the E.U.?

      In the EU, but not using the Euro.
    • The UK and the EU situation is sort of like a Priest and a Prostitute. The priest may be caught with his cock half in the prostitute, and he may have a delighted look on his face. But the priest will always deny that he was paying the prostitute and that he was gaining any pleasure from having his cock inside her.

      As a nation, we love the hand outs the EU gives us, we love the trade rules the EU gives us (most of the time, the fishing industry disagrees, but then when dont they?). We also love all the o
  • by Operating Thetan (754308) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:49PM (#8685099) Journal
    I've got political friends who've had their closed email lists monitored by police after the heinous crimes of organising benefit gigs and leafletting GAP. They've been stopped by police photographers in London who knew their names, the group they were with, the colleges they went to and the pub they'd be going to after the demonstration. Don't think you have to be a terrorist to get on a state list and be monitored-ANY kind of attention will get you on there, and once you're on, you'll stay on.
  • by Supp0rtLinux (594509) <Supp0rtLinux@yahoo.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:54PM (#8685152)
    So now I can sit at work and tell the FBI and HS guys that all the co-workers and annoying sales people I don't like are suspected terrorists. Yaaaay!
    • supposed to be funny, but I worry about this exact problem.

      Organizations don't always get along like happy families. I can easily see people getting put on a list because they pissed someone off or they rub someone the wrong way. Anyone that has a huge ego (including CEOs) might use it as a way to get people on their own personal enemy list in trouble.
  • by osobear (761394) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:54PM (#8685155) Homepage
    I read this kind of hoping that it was all a joke or someone being a little excited in their summing up of a news story, but now, it's true.
    I can't believe something like this could come to existance so soon after the whole McCarthy communism scandal. People will be able to submit lists of people and find out if any of them are Filthy Reds ...er, I mean, terrorists. This is just the newest and latest in state-supported prejudice.

    Woody Allen's The Front just become recommended viewing for the entire nation.

  • George Orwell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by igrp (732252) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:55PM (#8685171)
    I just finished reading a book on George Orwell [levity.com]'s life. Here are some things Orwell is quoted to have said and written, more than half a decade ago.

    "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

    "In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."

    "Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

    "The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink."

    "The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history."

    and, probably my favorite one,
    "Winston Churchill could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war."

    Just thought I'd share...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Winston Churchill could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war."

      Are you sure you didn't mean Winston Smith?

      (I assume you're referring to the novel 1984 [newspeak.com], and not the former UK politician. I mean, Sir Churchill was quite a smart man and would probably be able to remember the time between the wars he served in and the wars he led :)
      • Woops, you're entirely correct.

        As a matter of fact, I was just sitting in my backyard, writing down some miscellaneous thoughts when I saw the article (ah, the beauty of 802.11b networking :) and found some of the quotes I had highlighted surprisingly fitting. For some reason, I must have been thinking about Churchill (I've always wanted to read Jenkin's take on Churchill).

        Anyway, thank you for point this out. :)

    • Re:George Orwell (Score:3, Informative)

      by saforrest (184929)
      George Orwell's complete works, available online:

      http://www.orwell.ru/ [orwell.ru]
  • David Nelsons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nightsweat (604367) on Friday March 26, 2004 @06:56PM (#8685180)
    Sucks even more to be a David Nelson soon, I'll bet. Link. [californiaaviation.org]
  • "The counter guy at McDonalds is a terrorist. He advocates the overthrow of Western Civilization. Which one? The blond one with the mood ring."
  • All of this won't be cheap either; total terror-related IT spending by US federal and state governments will run past $100 billion in 2004
    Sounds like Bush is trying to undo a little damage and create some tech jobs in time for the vote. :)
  • by amigoro (761348) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:01PM (#8685234) Homepage Journal
    It's pretty easy to get a bad credit score. One phone company falsely accusing you of not paying the bill on time is enough. And it takes so much time and effort to correct that error on your credit file.

    Imagine a similar scenario with your terror file. You neighbour gets pissed off with you and goes and complains about you. She says you have been hanging out with a bearded people. You have made a business trip to Saudi Arabia.

    And that's all it takes. Now you are are terrorist on the FBI terror list. You will never get clearance. You will never get a government job other than cleaning public toilets.

    If this measure goes through, you will never get clearance to get a job at a private company either.

    One mistake, by someone else, and you are out.

    Thank god I am not in the land of the free!

    Moderate this comment
    Negative: Offtopic [mithuro.com] Flamebait [mithuro.com] Troll [mithuro.com] Redundant [mithuro.com]
    Positive: Insightful [mithuro.com] Interesting [mithuro.com] Informative [mithuro.com] Funny [mithuro.com]

  • INSERT into peepstowatch (fname,lname,occupation,nukearea) VALUES ('Darl','McBride','Scumbag','Mormonia');
  • So, if the gov decides it doesn't like my politics, it will make it so I can't get hired anywhere? And this is good?
  • Great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomaiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:11PM (#8685309) Homepage
    Another opportunity for false positives and political agendas to wreak havoc on the American citizen.

    "Well Ms. Jones, you're a very strong candidate and we'd like to hire you, but Homeland Security says you gave money to Earth First! at a fundraiser in 1992. We've offered the position to somebody else. Good luck."

  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:13PM (#8685332)
    I think the federal government, in cooperation with Microsoft, should put together a database of all known information about every single person in the world, not limited to terror information. This database would be used by governments, as well as public and private companies, to deny services to persons for a variety of reasons. For example, you might find yourself unable to eat at any restaurant in the entire world because you are not a good tipper. Or you might be denied access to all gas stations because you were once seen smoking within 1000 feet of one. Or the government might suddenly burst into your home in the middle of the night, because you thought the president's neck tie was kind of funny in a speech he gave.

    Yes, it looks like the world is becoming a better place every day.

  • by manganese4 (726568) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:13PM (#8685335)
    At $100 billion/yr they could easily provide a college education for everyone. But it would be better to give to the money to companies so they can hire more H1-B visa holders since they cannot find enough skilled americans (or so they claim).

    No Child left behind simply means everyone is left behind since it is easier hobble the quick than train the slow
  • by tyler_larson (558763) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:19PM (#8685382) Homepage
    I was worried that the government would abuse such an all-inclusive database. Or that perhaps false information that found its way into the this storehouse could tarnish an innocent person's reputation and prevent him from getting the access to important resources (like a job or a house).

    It's nice to know that much of the querying will be done by private organizations, and not just the government. Non-government organizations are so much more trustworthy and reliable. Phew. What a relief.

    And if you didn't catch the sarcasm, think of the damage that people can currently cause with our existing system in the form of identity theft. Now immagine a parallel system being used to determine how much of a threat you pose to society. Now when you apply for housing in an appartment, they not only call your references, but check this database to see if they should worry about you bombing the place or something absurd like that. Great.

    That's a lot of power, by the way. And claims that it will be accurate and reliable only worsen the situation. People wouldn't take such a database seriously if it contained a lot of mistakes. The only reason why you can correct your credit report at all is because there are so many publicised inaccuracies. But if such a database managed to be some 99.95% accurate, or something like that... boy does it suck to be one of the thousands of people who got got an undeserved "black mark" on your record. No one would ever believe you, it would be completely impossible for you to correct it--not because you can't prove you're innocent, but because there's no one you can go to to get it fixed. Everyone believes the database because it's always right. You get turned down for loans, housing, jobs, and can't even travel. Such a database may even wind up admissable in court.

    Now immagine the position of those who can anonymously input information into that database (and there will be many). That's too much power, with no accountability. A recipe for a silent disaster. Of course, you'll never hear about it, that's the nature of the thing. The only ones who will know are the abusers and the victims. Wow.

    • by jefu (53450)
      Nah, no reason to worry about mistakes.

      After all it is going to be farmed out to some corporation somewhere and they're not going to be required to maintain any particular kind of accuracy. (I think there was a slashdot story to that effect recently but I can't find it.)

      Our best hope is that it will be possible for everyone to add information to it so we can overwhelm it with nonsense.

    • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:56PM (#8685664) Homepage Journal
      But if such a database managed to be some 99.95% accurate ...

      If it managed to be that good, it would be a miracle. But still, 0.05(260)10^6=13,000,000 people who are on the list, but aren't terrorists.

      Just to make things worse, it doesn't have to be anywhere near that good, as long as people think it's that good. As you pointed out, if people believe it's infallible, they'll drag their own mother out of the nursing home and pack her off to jail when she shows up on the list.

      Even if the false positives are far rarer than you proposed, there will still be too many. If good folks are excluded with 99.999% accuracy, that's still 2,600 false positives.

      That's the problem of false positives, and it's a serious problem indeed. The problem of false negatives might be even worse. If people (especially law enforcement people) believe that this database has essentially all terrorists in it, we will be less safe with the data base than without.

      Say that there are only half a million terrorists in the world; people who are willing and able to do something like the murders in Spain, or the murders on 9/11. On no particular evidence, I think that's a low estimate.

      The 9/11 murders seem to have taken less than 50 people to plan and execute. If the database contains 99.99% of the 500,000 genuine terrorists, that leaves 50 who aren't in the database, and can procede freely, because the police effort is being wasted on the 13,499,950 people in the database. That number in the data base is the 0.05% who are wrongly suspected in the U.S., and the 99.99% of terrorists who are rightly suspected.

      Even if there are only 2,600 false positives at any given moment, that still dilutes law enforcement efforts. More seriously, law enforcement is quite likely to believe that all they have to do is watch the ones they know about, and they'll be easily blindsided by the ones they haven't yet found. The mess at Columbine highschool a few years ago shows that the only way to stop all murders is to lock up every one. We'd better lock up the cops too ... some of them might go bad.

      I'd say that all we can accomplish with this sort of thing (except making things difficult for the current administration's detractors[1]) is provide some excellent cover for hundreds of really dangerous terrorists, at the expense of everyone's freedom.

      [1] Every administration in modern times has been accused, with considerable justification, of abusing the FBI and IRS to that end.

  • Intel (Score:3, Funny)

    by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Friday March 26, 2004 @07:28PM (#8685442)
    France and UK are reluctant to share intel

    I didn't know Intel was France or the UK's to share
  • I want to be the first to say we should hurry and register this person [microsoft.com] as soon as possible!
  • What are they spending all this money on? $30K toilet seats, "military-style" again?
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:15PM (#8685802) Homepage Journal
    If you get on that list by accident, or by 'expanding classifications' you can kiss your career good bye.

    Hell, you wont even be able to flip burgers at the local burger-doodle to support your family.

    Expect a lot of criminals to be created by this.

    Next stop, 1984...
  • by lone_marauder (642787) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:19PM (#8685819)
    Amendments, that is. Because this is doubtlessly a reporting mechanism as well as an information gathering one, your employer can now violate your fourth amendment rights to unreasonable search and seizure. Now, if this database comes to contain nefarious information about you, the FBI can prevent you from getting a job, thus violating your rights to due process and to be punished only as the result of a lawful trial. That is covered under number five. For the grand finale, by allowing private organizations to submit data about you which will (as previously mentioned) be used to your detriment, the protections granted under the sixth amendment, the right to face your accuser, is also circumvented.

    All this AND the government makes money off of it! It's a win-win scenario!
  • Why the panic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:37PM (#8685953)
    Why is it that this type of discussion starts with panic?

    They seem to eventually evolve to near-panic as hints of rationality get applied.

    Why can't they start out rational and lead to a well supported factual basis to make a decision?

    Is is a slashdot problem or is everyone incapable of cool-headed, reality-based decision making?

  • by sPaKr (116314) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:44PM (#8685997)
    Uh.. Ya.. thats what the Carnival Algorithem needed, Cheaper, Easier, Faster ways to test potential terrorist. I mean hey buying a 6 plane tickets from Boston to Washington DC is just to damn expensive. We need to allow these guys to apply for a job as a janoitor, get rejected...and move on to the next canidate. At least we have a war over seas, and we are trying to pick our fights there. The deptarment of Homeland insecurity coudlnt protect its own cherry on prom night.
  • France & Britain (Score:5, Informative)

    by Petronius (515525) on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:54PM (#8686051)
    I don't know about Britain but France has a government agency [www.cnil.fr] that enforces strict laws [www.cnil.fr] when it comes to their citizens' right to electronic privacy, anonymity, removal from databases, etc.
    Interesting to note that the main law [www.cnil.fr] (1978) was passed under Giscard D'Estaing - a moderate republican, by U.S. standards.
    • Re:France & Britain (Score:3, Informative)

      by BigBadBri (595126)
      Yep - we've got the Information Commissioner [informatio...ner.gov.uk] (it used to be called the Data Protection Registrar, but since RIPA [homeoffice.gov.uk] allowed anyone from the Security Services to the dog pound supervisor at your local council to ride roughshod over the Data Protection Act, perhaps the change in title is a rare glimpse of honesty from the Bliar junta.

      OK - so maybe dog pound supervisor is perhaps hyperbole, but the list of people able to access your information does extend as far as, for example, any local authority, any health s

  • by Zathras26 (763537) <pianodwarf@gmaPL ... minus physicist> on Friday March 26, 2004 @08:56PM (#8686063)

    A few months ago, I applied for and received a job as a network engineer at the Pentagon. One of the job requirements was that I had to get a "Secret" security clearance. The company hired me after I told them I was eligible for such a clearance. I started working there while the oh-so sensible and efficient federal government did a background check on me. Two months later, they turned me down, saying that I was a risk to national security because I had my name legally changed thirteen years ago. I therefore lost my job six weeks ago because I went thru a perfectly legal (and public) process that meant nothing more than that I didn't have to have my asshole father's last name anymore. This in spite of the fact that others have received Secret clearances -- and even Top Secret clearances -- after having histories of drug use, mental illness, and even prison sentences, among other things.

    This is the same government that says it's going to protect us from Yamir Shitzak blowing us up in the name of Allah. Do you feel any safer? 'Cuz I sure as hell don't.

    • by bcbkhalision (765835) on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:54PM (#8686725)
      Join the club. I am a PhD Candidate studying Arabic and Computational Linguistics at Georgetown university. You would think that someone like me might be of great use to my country and government - remember that the government's lack of linguistic talent plays a large role in its failure in the war on terrorism and in the occupation of Iraq. Oh, also I speak Farsi, Spanish, and Chinese. I was turned down for a Top Secret Clearance because in the past I had smoked marijuana a few times - I got a letter saying that this was done in the interests of national security. Before this happened, the phone was ringing off the hook with offers. Now, I'm lucky if I can even get scumbag recruiters who might call every few months to return my calls after the first conversation - and this when I am the only person qualified for the job. I had a roomate who had a TSC. He is a high school dropout, he has habitually used drugs in the past, associated with drug dealers, attempted to commit credit card fraud on my landlord, and he threatened to kill me several times. The government trusts him, but I am a threat to national security. My experience has taught me that this administration and the intelligence community do not want to catch terrorists, and they do not want to protect American lives. They want to fight a culture war, in which civil liberties are eroded, homosexuals and foreigners are persecuted, and ordinary citizens live in fear of having their lives destroyed through a poorly designed database that has a high rate of "collateral damage." When I was getting the Clearance, I naively believed that it was my skills, abilities and accomplishments which would determine my eligibility. I only pray that this experience will not get in the way elsewhere. Do not trust these people. They do not care about you, and they do not want to protect you.
  • McCarthyism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tacocat (527354) <tallison1@twmi . r r .com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @10:30PM (#8686599)

    Thank you George Bush Junior for pushing us back into one of the worst chapters of recent American History.

    The damage this will do...

    • Of course every Indian programmer will be a terrorist according to slashdot.
    • Microsoft will declare every name on every sourceforge/freshmeat project to be a terrorist.
    • Microsoft will also list the EU leaders as terrorists since they levied their fine and are having their lacky US-DOJ put up a bitch about it.
    • Random acts of accusation will be pretty damn common.

    Please, study history so we don't repeat it. I wasn't any good at it in school, but I've seen enough repeats in my years to know it's worth learning and remembering.

  • 117 (Score:3, Informative)

    by trainsnpep (608418) <<mikebenza> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @01:01AM (#8687298)
    Yes, 117. What's that? The number of people who die each DAY due to automobile accidents, averaged over the past 5 years.

    Now, 3. What's that? Approximately the number of people who die each day due to terrorist attacks.

    Let me ask, where's the problem here? I absolutely am not belittling September 11th (in fact, I feel people who call it 'nine-eleven' are the ones doing just that), but there are obviously problems causing more deaths. My uncle lost his best friend that day, and nearly his own life -- he had a meeting in the North Tower at the World Trade Center, but he missed his train that day, and was late. However three people in my school died in automobile accidents in the last three years.

    Oh, yeah. Don't forget, the auto number doesn't include the nearly 1500 a day severly injured in an accident. I won't even start on smoking...

    I think the money's headed in the wrong direction....

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @02:39AM (#8687609)
    My personal advice to you: don't be afraid. You see, America is getting caught up in mass hysteria. Be brave and sensible... there are not terrorists lurking behind every corner.

    Why do I bother posting this? Am I drunk? No. I want to encourage you to consider your civil responsibility/duty to keep America sane: encourage your fellow Americans to relax. Don't get so wound up; don't reach for your gun. Let's get the population calmed down... turn OFF the TV news channel, go outside and get some fresh air, and think sensibly about what kind of America you want to live in.

    I'll wager that you want your country to be strong and free. So do I! If everyone can calm down a bit, we can avoid doing some stupid things that are going to hurt Freedom.
  • by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @12:07PM (#8689082) Homepage Journal
    Nto all teorrists are outsiders..ever here of Terry Nichols?

    Why should us tax payers pay for an ineffecive boondoggle?

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

Working...