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TSA Violated Privacy Act 315

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the trust-big-brother dept.
pin_gween writes "Remember when the TSA said they wanted info on travelers last year? They said they were only using names to test new software. Apparently, they lied. The Guardian has an AP wire about a Congressional report on the TSA. From the article: 'The agency actually took 43,000 names of passengers and used about 200,000 variations of those names - who turned out to be real people who may not have flown that month, the GAO said. A TSA contractor collected 100 million records on those names.' They also 'published a second notice indicating that it would do the things it had earlier said it wouldn't do.' A TSA spokesman said the info will be destroyed when the test is over. My question -- will the test actually end?"
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TSA Violated Privacy Act

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:24AM (#13143798)
    Microsoft: "You can trust our trusted computing platform"
    SCO: "There is UNIX code in Linux"
    Bush: "We will get the WMD out of Iraq"

    etc etc.

    Nobody really cares in the end, it's all so easy to forget being blatantly lied to as long as things are mostly OK in the end.

    Right?
    • The end does not justify the means.
    • Nobody really cares in the end, it's all so easy to forget being blatantly lied to as long as things are mostly OK in the end.

      For the sheeple perhaps but not for many others. Unfortunately not enough people will do anything.

      All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

      Falcon
  • is because there are people behind all of this. People are ultimately flawed, and can't be completely trusted without auditing processes
    • is because there are people behind all of this. People are ultimately flawed, and can't be completely trusted without auditing processes

      Are you implying that they can be partially trusted?
    • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:25AM (#13144037) Homepage
      From the article A TSA contractor collected 100 million records on those names.
      That is what worries me- How thoroughly are the contractors being vetted? If you visit the Federal Biz Opportunities site http://fbo.gov/ [fbo.gov] you will see that the gov't contacts out incredible amounts of work. I trust the US Military with my security (We could argue about the military and privacy all day so lets not bring that up), but why is our security being contacted out? That is what worries me. Where is the accountability???
      • by michrech (468134) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:39AM (#13144105)
        From the article A TSA contractor collected 100 million records on those names.
        That is what worries me- How thoroughly are the contractors being vetted? If you visit the Federal Biz Opportunities site http://fbo.gov/ [fbo.gov] you will see that the gov't contacts out incredible amounts of work. I trust the US Military with my security (We could argue about the military and privacy all day so lets not bring that up), but why is our security being contacted out? That is what worries me. Where is the accountability???


        They don't care. They don't have to. They're the US Government!

        --
        telnet://sinep.gotdns.com [gotdns.com] -- TW2002 and LORD registered!
      • I trust the US Military with my security (We could argue about the military and privacy all day so lets not bring that up), but why is our security being contacted out? That is what worries me. Where is the accountability???

        Because there's a big push to privatize our security and the military. An example is Blackwater USA [blackwaterusa.com]. They got some big contracts in Iraq. These contractors got their gravy train and they're not about to give them up.

        Falcon

  • Who is suprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfloy (899187) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:28AM (#13143812) Homepage
    This is how companies handle privacy. They do something the majority of people will accept (taking names) and then they secretly change the scope of their project to get much more data. Then their defence is "If they gave us their name, we assumed they would be OK giving us this. We are a reputable company". I think they should be prosecuted for this, what if their system got hacked? That is a great deal of possible identity theft.
  • by Goosefood (884250) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:28AM (#13143813)
    This once again is a classic example how a group of human beings, who individually may be fine upstanding citizens, collectivly turn into an untrustworthy and unethical entity.

    We must always remember that a commitment from a company is not worth the electrons over which it is communicated.

  • When will it end (Score:5, Informative)

    by overshoot (39700) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:34AM (#13143831)
    My question -- will the test actually end?

    You're not allowed to know that under the Patriot Act. In fact, even asking has identified you as a terrorist; the Department of Homeland Security has been notified.

    • My question -- will the test actually end?

      Yes: See "heat death of the universe."

  • by ta ma de (851887) <chris.erik.barne ... LIONom minus cat> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:35AM (#13143839)
    Fly Naked.

    I'm starting a grass roots initiative right here, right now. Every passenger will be required to fly naked under the influence of ecstasy. As a result, we will have no hi-jackers, at least not the kind that commandeer aircraft.

    • Re:Fly Safe .... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705)
      I'm starting a grass roots initiative right here, right now. Every passenger will be required to fly naked under the influence of ecstasy. As a result, we will have no hi-jackers, at least not the kind that commandeer aircraft.

      As a somewhat regular air-traveller, allow me to be the first to say noooooooooooo!

      I do not wish to be locked in an aircraft at 30,000 feet with a bunch of sweaty, naked, ugly people rolling on E.
    • the conservatives would never go for it... Boobies are even more terrible than terrorist... think of the children!

      they could give us all those skimpy hospital gowns though... that would cover us "enough" bonus points if its red, white, & blue.

    • Off course, this would be absolutely safe!!!

      Even more, get 400 people naked and make them smoke some grass, and you won't even need the fkn plane to make them fly!!! ;-)
  • The TSA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nf1nk (443791) <nf1nk.yahoo@com> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:37AM (#13143845) Homepage
    The TSA was a bad idea, it costs much more than the previous group of morons did, and don't do a better job than the last group of morons.
    Instead because its goverment we get Grandmothers, and children stripsearched, because profiling is bad.
    I can't help but believe that the level of incompedance is intentional, setting the agency up to be dissolved (privatized) with a juicy contract to Haliburton
    • Re:The TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JDevers (83155) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:53AM (#13143903)
      OK, a few notes... First off, I fly a lot and I have been "singled out" for my random search a few times. None of these times involved strip searches. They basically made me hand over my carry on and they went through it while another agent (or at a really small airport, the same agent) waved a metal detector over me very slowly and patted me down. Mildly invasive yes, strip search not quite...
      Second, profiling IS bad. Not because we are a happy feely culture that thinks race should never be identified, but because if there are a handful of "triggers" that automatically get one searched instead of random searches then "the terrorists" will just figure out those triggers and send up people that don't meet those triggers. It would end up being easy for true terrorist organizations to avoid while ONLY catching regular people (and really stupid terrorists).

      Don't assume for a second that all terrorists are men between 20-35 years old with long beards and "ethnic" clothing.
      • Re:The TSA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Martin Blank (154261) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @12:05PM (#13144230) Journal
        Some profiling is bad. Racial profiling, for example, is generally bad unless you have a description of a specific suspect.

        However, if someone is walking around wearing a hat and heavy jacket in the middle of summer when it's 85 degrees and 80% humidity, and seeming to deliberately avoid the security apparatus, there may be some interest in talking to him. It's still profiling, because his behavioral profile is suspicious.
      • Re:The TSA (Score:3, Informative)

        by AndyChrist (161262)
        I was singled out for "random" searches 8 flights in a row.

        I in no way believe that any searches are random.
        • I'm a 29 year old (white male) security consultant. My company works for DHS/TSA. I always fly business class between the old continent and the US. Always extra carry-on inspection; always patted down before boarding the aircraft. Random: bull*!
      • Re:The TSA (Score:3, Interesting)

        by erroneus (253617)
        I was TSA because I couldn't get a job at the time. I know the policies pretty well and I can tell you that they violate their own rules on a regular basis.

        I'll also say that anyone who has been paying attention to the successful attacks can see that the perps fit NICELY into a profile and we should definitely be profiling. So sad for innocent people who fit the profile but facts are facts. I'd rather harass an innocent person who fits a profile than one that clearly doesn't. It's wasted effort.

        It rem
      • I flew a lot for a previous job, and had a lot of 3 point flights, (e.g. portland to atlanta to new york to portland.) and the thing that seemed to trigger searches and the "SSSS" tag that goes on your boarding pass, (in case you hadn't noticed the "super-secret-search-selection! (or whatever the hell it stands for...)) more often than not, was one-way flights. When I flew round trip, I never got the "SSSS" tag, when I had a series of one-way flights, I always did.

        I was behind Arianna Huffington in one of
      • I agree, if profiling would happen, eventually terrorists will use little white children to bypass security.
    • When one throws stones at The Glass House of Incompetence, it is usually best to know how to spell it first, lest one winds up at the wrong address with the other morons !

  • by tsa (15680) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:42AM (#13143864) Homepage
    I honestly promise to never do it again.
  • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:44AM (#13143871)
    So, what's the status of the prosecution? Has special counsel been appointed? Grand jury convened? Charges filed?

    That's what I thought.

  • Contempt for Law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aaron M. Renn (539) <arenn@urbanophile.com> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:45AM (#13143874) Homepage
    It doesn't surprise me that the TSA has demonstrated contempt for the law here. As a regular traveler, I can tell you that they already (with some notable exceptions whose names I wish I had so I could cite them as positive examples) have contempt for the actual public they are charged with protecting. They have gone the way of all elites who profess to act in the name of the people, but actually do things that are in interally focused institutional interest.

    I can certainly understand that law enforcement wants to "get the bad guys". Unfortunately, so much of today's law enforcement activity has little or nothing to do with actual criminals and spends most of its time operating against ordinary citizens. If you think this is limited to terrorism, think again. The Illinois State Police where I am routinely set up "seat belt enforcement zones" where people are pulled over and forced to prove that they aren't law breakers. It's similar to more and more "checkpoints" that are set up for all sorts of things and a presumption on the part of the police that they have the right to search you just to find out if you are doing anything wrong. That puts the 4th amendment on its head, and unfortunately our courts have gone along with it. Unless you are actually in your home, you can probably assume you can be investigated, searched, questeioned, etc. by the cops for any reason or for no reason at all.

    So I don't see the TSA as some unique manifestation of anti-terror laws or a rogue agency. I see them as very symptomatic of what has been going on in law enforcement for a long time. This is just the next chapter.
    • "They have gone the way of all elites who profess to act in the name of the people, but actually do things that are in interally focused institutional interest."

      I take it you are one of those people who have bought the line that "elites" are some evil class of professionals brought from on high to make you miserable. Why don't we just try litting private industry handle airport security...oh wait...
      • by Overzeetop (214511)
        No, the "elites" are those with enough money and influence that they don't have to put themselves through all this crap.

        If you are rich enough, you will mostly fly private jets, and avoid all of this sillyness with the TSA. Most top executives do, if only under the guise of "convenience" of scheduling. (It's true. If you bill $400-$1000/hr, waiting hours for a plane flight and connections will cost more than your private charter).

        If you are rich enough, you can pretty much avoid all scrutiny. Sen.Bob Dole
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23, 2005 @10:49AM (#13143889)
    Don't you love it when people predict that shit like this will happen, and they're instantly met with tinfoil hat jokes?
    • only because aluminum foil from the supermarket maginfies the brain control rays! The feds took TIN foil off the market years ago.
    • by j_kenpo (571930) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:34AM (#13144076)
      "Don't you love it when people predict that shit like this will happen, and they're instantly met with tinfoil hat jokes?"

      No, I don't. I find it sad. It just proves a point, that ridicule is the most effective weapon the enemy has in its campaign to keep people at bay. You come up with a better presidential candidate, they ridicule him on the Tonight Show, and ridicule their supporters on MTV. You don't want to be laughed at do you? Lets laugh at these people because its Un-American" to support Dean, Kerry, or Clinton.

      Its just sickening how lazy Americans have become. Back in the 60's people staged protests (real ones at least, not the half assed ones of today), they boycotted, they got together and really discussed the issues and did something about it. Today, Americans wont get off their asses because they would rather vote on who the next American Idol is than vote on their next president. This is why the government and big business walk all over us, because we don't do anything about it. But look at it this way, at least fast food workers and high school dropouts have a promising career in the TSA.

      Thats my rant, Ill step off my soap box now...
      • Its just sickening how lazy Americans have become. Back in the 60's people staged protests (real ones at least, not the half assed ones of today), they boycotted, they got together and really discussed the issues and did something about it. Today, Americans wont get off their asses because they would rather vote on who the next American Idol is than vote on their next president. This is why the government and big business walk all over us, because we don't do anything about it. But look at it this way, at
  • If you have nothing to hide then we just have to dig a little deeper, don't we?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:15AM (#13143994) Homepage Journal
    The TSA will, of course, lie whenever possible. Because they have no accountability. And lying gives them power. Not just "to take over the world", but to do a lousy job. To be lazy, incompetent, and still get paid.

    Really, it's completely obvious that, except for the Qaeda and the Taliban, that slogan about "the post-9/11 world" everyone on TV chants, "everything changed", is total BS. Nothing changed, except the ability to scare people into submission went off the charts. People who wanted war in Iraq, no matter what, got their war. People who wanted giant defense budgets got them. People who wanted to discard habeas corpus protections got rid of them. People who wanted Republicans to control all the branches of government got them. People who wanted an excuse for a broken economy, to cover up offshoring, inadequate education, failed confidence from Enron, WorldCom, ArthurAndersen, and a generation of Wall Street snake oil salesmen, got their excuse. People who wanted tax shirking got it. People who wanted racial profiling and massive privacy invasion got it. People who wanted government handouts to their welfare states, at the cost of $trillions in debt, got all that. And all the oil profiteers got $60:barrel oil, which costs little more to extract and sell than when it was $25. And of course they got federal tax credits for buying SUVs that get <15MPG, rather than 50MPG alternative energy vehicles.

    But only if you embraced terror: became a terrorist. People who didn't, like the Democrats, didn't get what they wanted. They didn't get their candidate in the White House, because they didn't get a big noise in the media about how the Qaeda specifically planned to avoid attacking the US [pnionline.com]. Freedom lovers haven't gotten the rest of the 1990s "peace dividend", like forcing China to stop its tyranny with the "market power of the US" - because the businesses which own the new Chinese industries, and their American markets, are profiting from the fear that distracts from the perpetual terrorism that keeps their Chinese slaves in line. And we didn't get Osama bin Laden. WHERE'S OSAMA? Where's that "democratic Iraq", the "quelled Iraqi threat to American security"? It's with those who failed to embrace terror: on the ash heap of history.

    The lists of who got what, and who didn't, line up perfectly on who "embraces and extends" terrorism, and who doesn't. And it's not just "who's for and who's against". Because Democrats, the losers in the political duopoly, have been just as "against" terrorism in their laws and policies, as Republicans. Republicans, however, have cast Democrats as preferring "therapy" to "killing" for terrorists, though that's a vicious lie. But that way to scare Americans about Democrats is successful terrorism, using planebombs as fuel for political power. Really, there's little difference between the Qaeda and the Bush uses of terrorism. The planebombs and tube-bombs are attacks, they're sabotage of our essential infrastructure. But they're really just the necessary spark for the actual terrorism, the terror perpetuated in the media and among people. Just like the Taliban who conquered Afghanistan on the spark of repeling the Soviets with "Islam", the neocons are conquering America on the spark of repeling the "liberals" with Christian evangelism: the Christaliban who back Bush with faith. Regardless of what you believe about conspiracies among people in Washington to allow or encourage a "Pearl Harbor event" to justify their neocon agenda, it's undeniable that some have rode the wave of fear with skill and aplomb. So we're going to get nothing but more terrorism, with the minimum of actual bombs that destroy corporate property. We're going to get more fear, more lies, more abuse. Until we wake up and reject the terror, dispelled by knowledge, and eradicate the terrorists. Starting with those in Washington and the corporate media who are closest, and doing most of the damage. Cleansing the TSA of thse lying tyrants would be a good start.
    • I note that the "fortune" at the bottom of the page on which I posted and read the parent message says:

      "Crime does not pay ... as well as politics. -- Alfred E. Newman"
    • Bombs exploding in the transport nodes of my capital city scare me, how is that *not* terror?

      I know it sounds like another day in Detroit but we're not used to the police shooting, let alone shooting to kill :

      "It was just mayhem. I've never seen people move so fast in all my life, people running in all directions, looks of horror on their faces and screaming. Lots of people were sort of crouched down trying to run, trying to protect their heads, worried about flying bullets."

      Once again we have terror on
      • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @01:38PM (#13144675) Homepage Journal
        Look, I live in NYC. Where every day is "just another day in Detroit". And of course the day of 9/11/2001 was different: 3000 people were killed, the biggest building complex in the world exploded, passenger jets slammed into the city. Controlled by 10 of the biggest assholes we've seen in our lifetime. In New York City, not famous for "anger management". And in the weeks that followed the attacks, it was difficult or impossible to distinguish the attacks from the terror they caused. No patience for any rationality: fear and anger were all we had time for. That is, of course, the entire point of terrorism.

        But there is a distinction between the attack and the terror it causes. The causal relationship not only unites the attacks and the terror, it distinguishes between them. Which is an essential distinction. Because the attackers were dead after the attack was complete, after the planes hit the buildings. After that, the terror was carried and spread by us, the targets. We had no control over the attackers, at least once they'd hijacked the planes. But we do have some degree of self-control. When we recognize that the fear is doing even more damage than the planebombs - the Iraq War, for example, and the ongoing destructions of rights and property in the name of the Terror War - we have to recognize that we're attacking ourselves with the perpetuated fear. Which is something we have some control over, so we must stop it.

        All fear comes from ignorance. Most fear comes from the unknown, and the mind's projection of "worst case" overkill in searching for solutions to problems that at least won't be "too weak". Fear perpetuates a state of irrationality, which prevents learning the knowledge that could stop the fear cycle, so the fear->ignorance->fear cycle gets locked in. And even fear of real threats comes from ignorance of the effective defense. The only way to fight the fear is at its root, with knowledge. That knowledge lets us react with focus and clarity, actually solving the real problem.

        Like forcing Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to stop creating terrorists and sponsoring their networks. Not invading Iraq to create new ones. Not locking down our societies into a Christian version of the medieval fear camps in which the Taliban fester. The reactions we've taken in the US are the reflexes of fear, striking at the inner monsters we had already, regardless of their relation to the Qaeda and their network of attackers.

        Britain has more experience with terrorism than does the US. The IRA, centuries of defense from asymmetric warfare, the levelheaded, understated manner that keeps emotions from spiraling into counterproductive control of the situation. My words might fall on ears deaf from the screams in the London tube stations. But that grip of fear must last only briefly. If we want to beat the fear, beat the terror, beat the terrorists, we must learn to keep our heads, and not do most of their dirty work by spreading the terror ourselves. We can be angry, we can be violent, but only if we counterattack the actual causes of the fear will we stop the fear itself.
        • Let's have a look at the reactions to the second round of (wanna-be in that case) bombings in London:

          BBC: Tube cleared after minor blasts

          Foxnews.com: London Put Into Panic

          Go watch "Bowling for Columbine" again. That's the central message of the movie. The problem with the US is not the guns or blacks or Texas. It's the culture of fear.

  • My question is.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsax (603351) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:16AM (#13144000)
    A TSA spokesman said the info will be destroyed when the test is over. My question -- will the test actually end?

    My question is....can you actually believe them considering they have already lied uptil this point? How I would love to work in the government; lie right through your teeth to get what you want, if you get caught, admit that you lied, shrug and move on. No sweat.

  • Funny, that (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:24AM (#13144032) Homepage Journal
    About midway through last year I started being searched every time I went through airport security. Every time. Every airport. What did I do to deserve this? I have no clue, except I tend to express somewhat liberal views on the internet.

    The same thing happened to an aquaintence at about the same time. I found out about it because we were both on a flight to Honduras with our local scuba club. That must have really sprung some alerts. :P
    • Re:Funny, that (Score:3, Interesting)

      by michaelhood (667393)
      Indeed, I too have been getting "secondary screening" every time I've flown for several months. Interestingly, whomever else is in my party also gets it when we pick up the tickets. Usually my flight companions say that they seldom ever get it. We all fly over a hundred times per year. Not that it should matter, but I'm WASP, so I certainly don't fit any of their misguided cultural profiling. I wonder what other list I'm on. /tinfoil
  • by EQ (28372) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:28AM (#13144045) Homepage Journal
    As Agent Z said in Men in Black:

    You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training.


    This kind of thing is not surprising... Not the part about the TSA violating the law, but the part about them screwing up data, and not knowing when the test will end.

    Have any of you who are flinging around "evil conspiracy" crap ever worked on large government software projects?

    Those things go on forever, rescoping, changes, rewrok, bugs, idiot specifications that have to be met even though they dont make sense... the list goes on and on. Its usually because of some law or another that mandate the software have a given function in it (even if it makes no sense), and the management is far from sterling - and the bureacracy that sits astride it moves at a glacial pace, making it nearly impossible to get design changes approved in any kind of timely fashion - I'm talking months not weeks, for even minor changes.

    Thats been my experience nearly every time when working as a government employee. And this was at a federal defence agency that actually is known for getting things done fairly well and relatively quickly. (and this also explains why I am no longer a government employee - you can only take so much before your head asplodes).

    Remember when they formed that TSA, it was carved from people who were tossed out of other agencies (remember, government agencies fight like mad to keep the best from leaving) - usually that means those are people the other agencies wanted to get rid of -- making the TSA a potential dumping ground for incompetents, malcontents, and desk-sitter-do-nothings-deadwood.

    So don't attribute to malice what is far, far more likely to be incompetence. Especially at a new agency.
  • by cagle_.25 (715952) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:35AM (#13144084) Journal
    We did it to ourselves ... incrementally and with few misgivings.

    Huge personal info databases? We created the technology and wrote the code to make it possible. We gave the information when asked, because we didn't want the hassle that would occur when we said "no, that's none of your business."

    We accepted the notion of Social Security and believed the government when they told us that SS#s would *never* be used for identification [epic.org] except by the SSA.

    We elected officials based on the performance of the economy ... which encouraged them to stay out of the way of businesses as they tracked, junk-mailed, and spammed us.

    We accepted the transition from cash to credit cards because we liked the convenience ... never blanching at the fact that we were leaving a paper trail for ourselves every month.

    We accepted the notion that the First Amendment was all about the right to any kind of free speech whatsoever, even commercial junk mail by corporations, who are persons only as a legal convenience.

    We were so scared of sexual predators in our schools that we willingly asked the government to take fingerprints of every school employee to match against their databases.

    And above all, we clamored for greater security in our own country -- we accepted the 9/11 commission report -- because losing all of our rights seemed more palatable and *less likely* than our becoming the next Twin Towers victims.

    Has government and business taken away our privacy? Yes -- but only because we wanted them to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23, 2005 @11:38AM (#13144100)
    I'm so sick and tired of all the stupid libertarians/liberals here always misunderestimating the President, whose only goal is to keep us all safe from harm.

    Terrorists hate America because they hate our freedom, right? By taking away Americans' freedom, you effectively remove the terrorist threat. Take that Osama Hussein!

  • This is why it is ALWAYS better to never LET the data fall into the hands of people who shouldn't have it. Of course, this was engineered by the same governmental infalliblity that gave us the WMD fantasy, so there wasn't much people could do to stop it. I'd suggest rolling some heads this coming election, but that requires a spine- I'm not sure American voters are up to the task.
  • He said the testing is designed to find out what kind of data airlines will need to get - such as passengers' birthdates - so they can turn it over to the government to check against watch lists.

    I don't know whether to break out in hysterical laughter, or start sobbing uncontrollably. I can't think of a single reason that a few HUNDRED names (a thousand might be pushing it) wouldn't have provided this information. Or...maybe just thinking the process through for a minute. Now there's a novel idea.
  • by cyberworm (710231) <[cyberworm] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @12:12PM (#13144268) Homepage
    Apparently it's illegal to stand up and incite my fellow countrymen to standup against the government and throw off the repressive shackles of tyrrany.
  • by In_Sovjet_Russia (902104) <InSovjetRussia@gmail.com> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @12:32PM (#13144351) Journal
    The Privacy act Violates you!
  • How do you find out if your name/info was used?
  • by treerex (743007) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @01:28PM (#13144624) Homepage

    A couple of things to keep in mind here:

    1. Try an experiment: download the given and surname data from the US Census bureau. Now take a random given name and a random surname, glom them together, and chances are you have someone's (yes, a real person's) name. Now do that, but add a database of name nicknames (Bill, Will, Willy, William) and you've probably generates a few more. The fact that they took a sampling of real names, generated variations, and came up with some new names, is hardly an invasive measure.
    2. Government agencies will often use their contractors to perform work that would be illegal for the USG agency to do itself. That's one of the little loopholes that everyone in the game knows but doesn't talk about. It isn't about vetting the contractor for "ethics."

    Now, I'm not saying that what the TSA does with the data they muster is right or valid, but I am saying that you need to be a little more informed in your outrage.

    • So what was the point of the experiment? Why couldn't they have just used some sort of nonsense names-names that would almost certainly have no correlation to real people? As near as I can tell, the test told them that having John Smith without additional information is not incredible useful. Granted, it's good to know with certainty, but that's pretty obvious. If they just wanted to test the database, there was no reason to use real names.

      In short, they pulled out the shotgun, aimed for the foot, shot. Th
  • They also 'published a second notice indicating that it would do the things it had earlier said it wouldn't do.' A TSA spokesman said the info will be destroyed when the test is over.

    And when the test is over, what stops them from publishing a third notice indicating that they won't destroy it after all?

    If this sort of thing happened in the UK, the Information Commissioner's Office would be all over them.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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