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CDC Wants to Track Travelers 299

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-heard-it-from-a-little-bird dept.
gearspring writes "According to Government Health IT the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants your email address, your mobile phone number, names of your traveling companions, your name, your address, and your emergency contacts name, address, and phone number. This information would be gathered by airlines, travel agents, and online reservation systems for all travelers. Their goal is to protect us in the event of a pandemic. The SARS crisis showed them the difficulty of notifying people that they may have been exposed to a disease. It is a noble goal, but couldn't they do this anonymously?"
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CDC Wants to Track Travelers

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  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by general_re (8883) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:36AM (#14144946) Homepage
    It is a noble goal, but couldn't they do this anonymously?

    Anonymously? What, will they use a war-dialer to randomly notify people that someone somewhere was likely exposed to a new strain of bird flu? Maybe a really big phone tree?

    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tsa (15680)
      Exactly. Here in Europe, if you come to a big city you often automatically get an SMS on your mobile phone with info about the sights, where to find a hotel, and how to listen to your voicemail. So they know you're there, and they have your phone number. TGhis can aslo be used to warn you for scary deseases you might have been exposed to, even after you left the city/country, because they have your phone number and the data you were in the danger zone.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by general_re (8883) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:47AM (#14144995) Homepage
        A) How is that anonymous? They have your phone number, after all. Presumably, the federal government has the resources to tie that to your name in the event of an emergency, right?

        B) That's great for Europe and the rest of the world, but the next influenza pandemic doesn't seem likely to originate in Vienna or Nice. Does Ho Chi Minh city have such a system in place? Something makes me doubt it.

        • But what does Ho Chi Minh city have to do with this alerting system. Anyhow, good idea, bad idea. There are always points, counterpoints. Before someone trolls along about privacy rights bear in mind CALEA, DCS1000, ECHELON, CAPPS, and TIA [eff.org]. Nothing will really stop them from doing what they want to do, and quite frankly I think I would see pandemonium in the street before I would hear my cellphone ringing.

          This message is from the center for disease control. We are now watching you leave 1 Main Street and
          • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by general_re (8883) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:03AM (#14145055) Homepage
            But what does Ho Chi Minh city have to do with this alerting system.

            I suspect that the idea is to be able to find people who have been in contaminated areas after the fact, so that they can be monitored and quarantined if necessary. I doubt the idea is to preemptively notify people before they travel to high risk areas - rather, it's to find people who just left Phnom Penh to return to the States, now that people in Phnom Penh (or wherever) are suddenly dropping like flies.

          • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by NickFortune (613926)
            Before someone trolls along about privacy rights bear in mind CALEA, DCS1000, ECHELON, CAPPS, and TIA. Nothing will really stop them from doing what they want to do

            Well, if they already have the information, they don't need this latest measure then, do they? So if they do have the information, I'd have to oppose gathering it twice.

            And if they don't, then there's still something for opposing the encroachment of the Surveillance State.

            • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

              by sage2k6 (784361)
              CNN: Breaking news on the War on *new disease name of choice* - more than 50% of the population in NYC is currently quarantined, thanks to the new mobile tracking system...

              Seriously, it's not like if you inform them, they will automatically and volunteerly go into quarantine. That's one of the major issues when SARS striked. Most people that should be quarantined still went to work because their bosses will fire their @ss if they don't. And nevermind the decisions made by health officials here in Toronto. I
              • mmm... but this doesn't seem useful unless you have some hypothetical massive outbreak, which is what Bruce Schneier would describe as a movie plot security threat - on the grounds that you can invent a hollywood plot to justify any security measures you might happen to want.

                On the other hand I can think of a lot of abuses of the measure that wouldn't any new circumstance to make them happen.

                I mean SARS didn't kill anymore than the usual winter flu outbreak would have done, and the current avian flu sca

        • by tsa (15680)
          A) How is that anonymous? They have your phone number, after all. Presumably, the federal government has the resources to tie that to your name in the event of an emergency, right?

          I think in the event of a pandemic the gouvernment has other priorities than tying your name to your phone number.

          B) That's great for Europe and the rest of the world, but the next influenza pandemic doesn't seem likely to originate in Vienna or Nice. Does Ho Chi Minh city have such a system in place? Something makes me doubt it.

          E
          • I think in the event of a pandemic the gouvernment has other priorities than tying your name to your phone number.

            Nah, the point is io insure that if you're in an area that's suddenly become hot, you don't hop on a plane and bring it home without them knowing about it. See my reply to the other poster above.

            Every mayor city has a mobile phone system, and implementing the 'send an SMS to every newcomer' system should be trivial.

            See above. As I said, the point is not so that you know about the risk, t

            • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Funny)

              by Plunky (929104)
              Nah, the point is io insure that if you're in an area that's suddenly become hot, you don't hop on a plane and bring it home without them knowing about it.

              well surely its going to be a lot easier if an area suddenly becomes hot to either stop the flights from leaving, or quarantine them when they arrive..?

              If the point is that you register at the airport with where you are going (or been), then when you have already come back and it turns out that the population at that location is dropping like flies (o

              • If the point is that you register at the airport with where you are going (or been), then when you have already come back and it turns out that the population at that location is dropping like flies (or birds :) then they can send the black helicopters to spray your house.

                Exactly, but in order to do that, they have to know who you are. Also, the helicopters may not be black :)

    • Unfortunately.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:34AM (#14145195)
      Mr. Bush has already made his intentions clear .

      He has publicly stated if a pandemic strikes there will be martial law, and
      the national guard, state police, local police, and "other" authorities will
      block "all" travel .

      My quetion to this is , who is gonna stop the birds from flying around ???

      Want to take that to a WHOLE new level ???

      http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/node/8788 [scienceblog.com]

      Remember the civet cat and Sars ???? Oh my, guess what .

      This virus is changing, and it is not done changing .

      http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8372 [newscientist.com]

      If this thing becomes transmitible to the common house cat, killing and eating birds in
      every city that has alley cats . We got ourselves a recipe for a bad situation .

      Another point of this strain that is being missed is the mortality rate so far .

      http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?ne wsid=5596 [medicalnewstoday.com]

      If this thing kicks off at anywhere near this supposed 75%, it will be worse than the plague .

      Some current numbers put it under 50% and lets hope it becomes less deadly as it mutates .

      Keep in mind the 1918 pandemic was 2 - 5%, and not with modern medicine .

      This has the potential for a major catastrophe .

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu [wikipedia.org]

      20 - 50 million world wide died in a time before widespread food shipment and travel .

      A pandemic has reoccured with regularity every few decades, but this is shaping up to be
      the deadliest in modern times if the mortality rates are anywhere near what they are now .

      I hope all countries around the world take this VERY seriously .

      Ex-MislTech

      • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:40AM (#14145538) Journal
        If this thing becomes transmitible to the common house cat, killing and eating birds in
        every city that has alley cats . We got ourselves a recipe for a bad situation .


        We'll be safe. When (if ever) do you think was the last time a slashdotter got any pussy?
      • 20 - 50 million world wide died in a time before widespread food shipment and travel .

        Well, except for that largish war that was going on at the time, causing both food and people to be shipped around the world.

        In fact, your link points out that the stresses of combat may have accelerated the progress of the disease, as well as distrust of some medicines because they were from overseas.

        The Spanish flu was probably made quite worse by the suddenly widespread food shipment and travel.
      • My quetion to this is , who is gonna stop the birds from flying around ???

        Want to take that to a WHOLE new level ???


        Simple. We will deploy Phalanx defence system [tackdriver.com] around the perimeter of every city. Not one pigeon will fly in or out, without being first turned into pate.
    • by damsa (840364)
      Obligatory Family Guy quote

      111-111-1111 lois
      111-111-1112 lois
      111-111-1113 lois
    • It is a noble goal, but couldn't they do this anonymously?

      It is being done anonymously. Through the CDC.

      Are you gullible enough to believe that it's really the CDC that wants this data?
  • by HardCase (14757) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:38AM (#14144954)
    It is a noble goal, but couldn't they do this anonymously?

    It just begs the question, doesn't it?
  • Anonymously? How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bargearse (68504) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:41AM (#14144967) Homepage
    The submitter asks "couldn't they do this anonymously?"

    Err.. probably not. Even if you only gave them a phone number, or an e-mail address, you wouldn't be anonymous any more. And if you didn't give them any personally identifying information, how would they be able to contact you?

    Besides, I think I'd want to know that I'd possibly contracted some deadly disease, rather than remain anonymous :)

    • Battling a pandemic disease such as avian flu requires the ability to quickly track sick people and anyone they have contacted.

      OK so far...

      In response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have proposed new federal regulations to electronically track more than 600 million U.S. airline passengers a year traveling on more than 7 million flights through 67 hub airports.

      Ummm... anyone care to do the geometric expansion on this one? CDC is gonna need one hell of a call center. Perhaps
    • by raoul666 (870362)
      So set up a free webmail account, they're not hard to get. Use something that won't identify you. You get to be anonymous, and still be contacted in case of an emergency. My email shows up in this comment, but it doesn't identify me. Sure, if someone big and powerful enough wanted to, they could try to find out from google which IP accesses the account. They might even get it. But I'm not that paranoid, and if I was, I'd only check it (and post on /.) using Tor or at a public terminal, or both.

      Anonymity
  • read the article! (Score:5, Informative)

    by penguin-collective (932038) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:44AM (#14144976)
    It is not the CDC that "wants" your address, they want the airline to keep that information on file so that they can get it if they need it:
    The regulations will require airlines to collect and maintain in an electronic database the following passenger information:

    Almost all airlines keep that information already in some form (for marketing, frequent flyer programs, etc.), they just may be too disorganized to be able to respond to CDC requests. This would require them to be able to do that. I don't see a problem with that. This kind of mandate would even be compatible with a strict data retention and privacy standard that requires deletion of all customer data after, say, a couple of weeks.
    • CDC almost certainly does want a DB available to contact those that went into infected areas.

      The real problem will be, that it is the same DB that the feds will use, via the patriot act, to track who is going where outside of the USA.
    • Actually, when you book with a travel agent the airlines often don't have your phone number and contact information. The agencies are (rightly) afraid of airlines contacting you directly and stelaing you as a customer. So, they buy PC software that keeps all that stuff on their desktop and puts the agency's phone number in the reservation. It's often the same for online agencies (web sites), some put all your info in the reservation, many don't.

      When you fly international, the airlines will then ask for e
  • Homeless? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:44AM (#14144977) Journal
    That's easy, I'm homeless and have no friends. Maybe I'm not, but how are they going to know?
    No address, no contacts, no email, no phone. Are you going to deny someone travel because they can't afford these things? Or choose not to have them?
    • Re:Homeless? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nato_Uno (34428) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:20AM (#14145118)
      Yes, you can be denied travel for not having an address, etc. No address or contact info will almost certainly result in no government issued ID. No government issued ID, no travel.

      For more details, see:
            http://cryptome.org/freetotravel.htm [cryptome.org]
      • Technically they're not denying you travel, they're denying you access to most mass transit. No planes, only some trains, maybe boats(I have no idea). You're free to hoof it, or ride a bike or horse (can't drive a car, motorcycle, or truck, though). You can ride with somebody, hire a car service (maybe), and (someplaces) hitchhike.

        Also, I've done some work with the Georgia Law Center for the Homeless and I believe they've gotten homeless people gov't ID before, though I don't think driver's licenses.
      • Let's be clear. Without a government-issued ID there is no actual prohibition on TRAVEL. There is, however, the ability for COMMERCIAL, PRIVATE transport companies (be they bus, train, plane, ferry, whatever) to REFUSE SERVICE to people failing to present such an ID. You can still go pretty much anywhere you want using class 1 shoe leather. But for people who've invested $millions$ in equipment, and who are responsible for hundreds and thousands of lives, it's reasonable for them to say "ok, you don't h
        • The issue here is not that the commercial private transport companies are choosing to refuse service to people without an ID, it's that the government is requiring them to refuse service.

          All this airline "security" we are subjected to now was not dreamed up by the airlines. I doubt they would have added all this extra expense on their own initiative. If it wasn't a government mandate, then why are government forces (police and/or military) ready to take you aside if you so much as look at them funny?

        • Re:Homeless? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bodrell (665409) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:16AM (#14147017) Journal
          All the tinfoil-hatters need to band together, invest, and start a budget airline where there is NO I.D. required, no searches, no security. See how many people fly such an airline.

          There may be some people who want to get rid of searches and security altogether, but it's the ID requirement that is really onerous. If you allow the airlines to search your bags, you walk through a metal detector, you even allow them to search your person, then why the hell do they need to see a photo ID as well? Does a lack of ID suddenly make a person dangerous?

          I'm happy to go through even a pastiche of a security check that will weed out the stupidest criminals.

          I guess that's where we're different. I don't like to submit to false authority. I suppose you would also be happy to have your house or car searched without a warrant, and would gladly spread your cheeks for a cavity search. I actually appreciate the constitutional prohibition on unlawful search and seizure (what's left of it, after the Reagan regime). Civil liberties don't protect themselves--but I must be old-fashioned for caring about an antiquated document like the Bill of Rights. And no, Big Brother doesn't have mind-reading satellites, but that's on their wish list, now that they have Eschelon, the PATRIOT Act, and the ability to jail citizens indefinitely without trial.

          Let's be clear. Without a government-issued ID there is no actual prohibition on TRAVEL. There is, however, the ability for COMMERCIAL, PRIVATE transport companies (be they bus, train, plane, ferry, whatever) to REFUSE SERVICE to people failing to present such an ID.

          Let's be clear. You are obviously misinformed, unaware of the fact that the government is requiring airlines to ask for ID, citing a secret law [wired.com] that does not exist on the books. How would you like to be convicted of violating a law that you aren't allowed to read, and just take the police's word it exists? How could a lawyer possibly defend a client against such a law? That sounds pretty close to a definition of "police state," or at least some nightmarish Kafka story.

          I hate sloppy language, especially when it's used by chicken-littles to suggest we're moving toward a police state...like the hypocrites at Cryptome.

          You hate sloppy language? Here's something that should be straight-forward for you: we're moving toward a police state. That's not a suggestion, but a fact. If you can't see that, you're more oblivious than the "stupidest criminals" you mentioned. Start paying attention.

        • Re:Homeless? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bigpat (158134)
          Let's be clear. Without a government-issued ID there is no actual prohibition on TRAVEL. There is, however, the ability for COMMERCIAL, PRIVATE transport companies (be they bus, train, plane, ferry, whatever) to REFUSE SERVICE to people failing to present such an ID.

          Did you just miss the last decade?

          The reality you describe was the way it was before Homeland Security took over and before the TSA took over arline security. Now we have government agents manning security checkpoints requiring government issue
    • Better yet, I want to sign a document where I can be replaced with a robot, so that my every movement can be monitored, controlled and optimized for the benefit of the hive. It's a small price to pay for protection from the bogerman. The easiest thing to do to keep out the bird flu is close our borders to *chickens*.

      I believe I'll vote for a third party candidate. Go ahead, throw your vote away. muhahahah

    • That's easy, I'm homeless and have no friends. Maybe I'm not, but how are they going to know? No address, no contacts, no email, no phone. Are you going to deny someone travel because they can't afford these things? Or choose not to have them?

      Unless John Gilmore [toad.com] wins his battle against the "show me your papers" police, you'll at least need ID to fly. But hell if I'll give them anything besides the mandatory info--I have no obligation to have a phone (cell or otherwise), email address, or emergency cont

  • by Venik (915777) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:44AM (#14144979)
    Back home in the good old days KGB used to collect this sort of information. Just in case you get sick and they need to give you a shot.
  • by ian_mackereth (889101) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:44AM (#14144981) Journal
    and they need to collect it electronically because, when they used to print it out on a piece of paper, those slips were often confiscated at check-in because terrorists could threaten to give someone a really nasty paper cut with it...
  • Whaaa? (Score:5, Funny)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:46AM (#14144991)
    There goal is to protect us in the event of a pandemic.

    Cool! And what about here goal?

  • by teaserX (252970) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:51AM (#14145010) Homepage Journal
    ...It is a noble goal...

    Yep it's a noble goal but it sounds to me like an avenue to control the masses the first time the wrong person get his hands on the "the easy button" this provides. Noble goal but not a noble result.

    It may save lives but increase overall human misery. Power like that just *finds* its way into the wrong hands. --JT
    • Power like that just *finds* its way into the wrong hands.

      Not here in america! Here we willingly give it [cnn.com] to the wrong hands

    • Despite the cost of living, it remains popular.
    • Problems such as 911 and avian flue have been used as excuse for giving up much of our privacy. Are we heading towards a future much like the book "1984"? What would someone like Hitler have done with RFID technology? No one would have been able to blend into the background and hide from him.

      There is a "loss of privacy" pattern in recent years. An example is the plans to use RFID tags in most consumer products. Wallmart and various other companies as well as the U.S. military and federal government agen

  • by meatflower (830472) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:51AM (#14145011)
    Honestly, this seems like a pretty good idea...in theory. The problem is you are giving up some of your personal freedoms, to travel wherever the fuck you want, whenever you want, with whoever you want. They're not really stopping you from doing any of this (unless there is a disease wherever you want to go, which in that case you probably shouldn't go anyway), but now "they" know about it.

    Could this list be used to track possible terrorist suspects? Yes and you can bet it will be.

    But if you're not a terrorist (still don't know if they have a big readership on Slashdot) I don't really see the harm in telling the CDC where you're going so in case some flu pandemic breaks out where you just got back from they can notify you . Sacrificing a little personal freedom for increased safety of the whole is worth it to me in THIS SITUATION. There are other situations where I think the benefits do not outweigh the consequences, but with the increased possibility of a flu pandemic in the future this might just help quell the casualties.
    • Just an example for those who still aren't convinced.

      Let's say there is a massive bird flu outbreak in Lima, Peru. If you're the CDC and you have this list, and assuming its set up in a good database application, you can simply search for those individuals who visited Lima and the surrounding area in the last 2 weeks or so. You get a list of 100 people, then contact them and arrange for them to go to hospitals to get checked out and make sure they're clean, thus preventing them from infecting the rest of
      • by teaserX (252970) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:11AM (#14145083) Homepage Journal
        /troll=on
        ...you know right where to tagert the tactical nukes,thus preventing them from infecting the rest of the population or at least significantly reducing their impact.

        /troll=off

        Seriously, you're right about how it *should* work,but pandemics are rare and it's only a matter of time before someone decides that all data that cost so much to collect is going to waste. Then there's the transitive rational that ruins the whole privacy aspect the CDC is tryin to maintain ie-> "terrorism is an infectious disease" or "the disease was spread *by* terrorists" and now the (insert TLA here) has access to that info immediately until the end of time.

        Just wait till the collection agency gets a turn.

        • but pandemics are rare

          In 1918, before the advent of commercial jet flight (i.e., you took a boat if you wanted to cross the Atlantic or Pacific), there was an outbreak of Avian Flu know at the time as the Spanish Flu. Between 25 million and 50 million died (with some estimates going as high as 100 million) from this flu. It killed my great-grandmother, leaving my grandmother and her sister orphans.

          The solution is simple for all you privacy extremists (I'm not saying you're one, teaserX, but bear with me):

          If
          • But the chances are very good that a virus will mutate to something that could pose a very real threat of a pandemic.

            And once granted, there's a very good chance that this power will mutate into something that could pose a very real threat to people's privacy and liberty. Think "Reds under the Beds", but with Muslims and terrorists instead. Been to a Muslim country? You're on The List. Shared a flight with someone who turns out to be connected to terrorism (however tenuously)? You're on The List. Been to a
    • by sinij (911942)
      >>> But if you're not a terrorist ...

      But if I'm not a terrorist/ communist/ homosexual/ deviant/ Muslim/ unemployed.... It always boggles my mind how easily people are willing to discard freedoms just because it doesn't affect them. I bet if they took away your 'freedom' to read slashdot you would be all at arms.
    • They're not really stopping you from doing any of this (unless there is a disease wherever you want to go, which in that case you probably shouldn't go anyway), but now "they" know about it.

      "They" don't know about it, since the information is kept by the airlines, not the CDC. If it is only available when there is a pandemic, then that is good.

      But if you're not a terrorist (still don't know if they have a big readership on Slashdot) I don't really see the harm in telling the CDC where you're going so in ca
  • by fenodyree (802102) * on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @02:56AM (#14145031)
    Frell Security! My privacy for security, poor trade, look at Britain...

    But my health, my child's health! Definitely worth while to store all this information, in the case of an outbreak and all!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Privacy rights seem to be eroding every single day. The military wants the right to spy on US citizens without a warrant. The FBI wants functionality built into VoIP systems so they can eavesdrop without leaving the office. And now the CDC wants to collect details not only on who you are and how to contact you, but also who your acquaintances are.

      With the seemingly never-ending erosion of privacy these days, congress needs to pass a constitutional amendment that puts clear restrictions on what data the

      • With the seemingly never-ending erosion of privacy these days, congress needs to pass a constitutional amendment
        Want to know why are privacy is eroding? Because of people who didn't take Civics classes, or failed to retain them - and because of people who think Congress should do all the work.
  • I don't buy this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_InuitNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:13AM (#14145093)
    There [sic] goal is to protect us in the event of a pandemic.

    Sure, but who's going to protect us from them? I'm always leery of people wanting to "protect" me without being asked to do so. And if the airport questionnaire asks "Do you have stairs in your house?", then I think I'd rather walk.

  • Homer's auto-dialer: "This is CDC. You or someone around you may have been exposed to . Please report to the nearest fenced area for quarantine. Thank you for traveling with ."
  • by plbg32 (778456) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:25AM (#14145139)
    info on us can be collected on us under many precepts by our goverment and accessed by any in goverment. They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759 enough said....
  • CDC? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:27AM (#14145157)
    So the Cult of the Dead Cow has gone from crackers to trackers.
    Yes, it all makes perfect sense!
    • Re:CDC? (Score:3, Funny)

      by bcmm (768152)
      It took that long? Last time the National Science Foundation was mentioned the Deus Ex "NSF" jokes started within the first five posts...

      Is Slashdot more interested in games than hacking now? What's the world coming to?
  • by Americano (920576) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:45AM (#14145227)
    I'm having trouble seeing how this is such a terrible thing... take a look at what they're proposing to collect, FTFA [numbered items, below... italics are my comments]
    1. First, last and middle names, in addition to suffixes.
      You already have to provide your name due to security regulations. So I don't see how there's any change there, really.
    2. Current home address, including street, apartment number, city, state/province and ZIP code
      If you want to book travel, chances are you already provided this, in the form of a billing address, or a shipping address... so I don't see why this would be a big deal.
    3. Mobile, home or pager phone numbers
      Not too hard to give a fake one, and really, if you want to take the risk of being out-of-contact when the CDC is trying to contact you to tell you you have just been exposed to some sort of new strain of Hemorrhagic Fever... hey, it's your ass that's bleeding, not mine. :)
    4. E-mail address
      Okay, perhaps a stretch. But again, not too hard to set up a hotmail account, "mikes_garbage_email@hotmail.com", and provide that. You never even have to check it, if you don't want to.
    5. Passport or travel document, including the issuing country or organization
      I'm not sure of the regs on this, but it would seem to me that using your passport when you travel would get tracked somewhere in some government database already.
    6. Traveling companions or group
      And if you don't want to say who you're traveling with? Say you're traveling alone... not so hard, is it? What are they, going to deny you access to the airplane because you talked to someone while waiting in line?
    7. Flight information, including date, airline, flight number and return flight details
      Well, seems to me the airline would already know this, since you booked yourself on the flight and purchased tickets... so I think this falls in the "already tracked" category.
    8. Name, address and phone number of an emergency contact
      Again, not a particularly unreasonable request... but not hard to give bogus info if you really wanted to, either.


    I guess I'm just having a lot of trouble seeing this as any sort of risk or violation of privacy, as I think most of this stuff would either be: a) already tracked, or b) easy to look up given that you HAVE to give your name to get on the plane... with a name and a credit card number, I'd imagine it would be pretty straightforward to track down pretty much anybody. (And let's be honest... sure, you could probably pay cash to buy the ticket... but how many people are REALLY going to do that?) It seems to me that this would simply allow the CDC to speed up the data collection... which means that it would take them 3 days to notify me I've been exposed to the new Ultra-death-killer SARS strain on my return flight from Singapore... rather than 2 weeks later, when I've already developed a strange cough . . . :)
    • Yes, on a bus (Score:4, Informative)

      by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @07:02AM (#14145731) Homepage
      I believe Greyhound/Trailways are still completely anonymous. And I believe Amtrak was anonymous until just a few months ago. I can understand the desire for requiring ID for airline travel, but I don't like it (and would vote against it given the opportunity, which, of course, we never are). But requiring ID for train travel definitely crosses the line, as it is much more difficult (nothing is impossible :-) to turn a train into a missile capable of broad destruction beyond the train itself.

      (Trivia digression: when did ID for airlines start? Answer: after the 1996 TWA "non-terrorism" crash. Wow, that ID stuff was really effective, wasn't it?)

      TFA/CDC may have mentioned only airlines, but of course it would be extended to all forms of travel. Pretty clever, actually -- it's easier to sell the idea of ID'ing on buses for the bird flu than it is for terrorism.

      And I didn't see a link for it in any of the +5 comments, so here is Gilmore v. Gonzales [papersplease.org], John Gilmore's attempt to challenge the practice of ID'ing at airports.

    • And if you don't want to say who you're traveling with? Say you're traveling alone... not so hard, is it? What are they, going to deny you access to the airplane because you talked to someone while waiting in line?

      If you are Arab, say you are travelling alone and are then seen speaking to other Arabs boarding the same flight, you can bet your ass that you will be denied access. This is what screening is supposed to be looking out for.

    • There is a big difference between an company and the government collecting this information. While the government would only ask for it if it was needed, we lose control of the "needed". In a free society the government should not be handed this type of information. If we found an airline abusing it, we could simply refuse to fly the airline and public opinion would sway it. Once the government has this information, it is a lot harder to wrest control of it from them. No matter what the intentions are,
    • OK. Lets put the privacy issue aside.

      As a taxpayer, do you want every government agency tracking your every move just from a financial point of view?

      The CDC wants to track travelers in the event of a nasty disease. What can that do beyond simply asking the people with common and severe symptoms questions (if they want) about where they have been and whatnot? Isn't that just as effective and cheaper?

      As someone else pointed out, the airlines started compulsory checking and requiring IDs for travel in 1996.
  • by core plexus (599119) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @03:47AM (#14145233) Homepage
    I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the "Don't Panic" machines are running on double overdrive.

    There this piece from the Alaska HSS: "Although the recent spread of avian influenza to Europe is a major agricultural and economic threat, it is not a pandemic. [suvalleynews.com]

    Scientists and public health experts agree that we cannot stop an influenza pandemic, but we can control and limit disease and death through early detection and a well-planned response. In Alaska, disease-monitoring systems are in place for detection of influenza.

    Call me paranoid, but it looks like a multi-pronged approach. "See, there's no chance of a pandemic, it's an economic crises. But just in case, we'd like to get your information, and here a small chip we would like to plant just under your skin, temporarily. Thanks."

    I live in the air crossroads (Alaska), for birds and people, and I'm not taking any chances, but I'm not going to panic, either.

    I see that Alaska has been monitoring the Avian Flu since at least 2000.

  • Here are my hopefully humorous replies to the below.

    1) Ummm, okay, they can have that I guess.
    2) Current? Well, let us just say I'm transient with no fixed address, yeah, that's it.
    3) I don't have my own phone number, seriously. Not everyone is privileged enough to pay $20+ per month to only use it scarcely.
    4) Who says I have an e-mail address? Where is an e-mail address required to travel?
    5) See number 1 above.
    6) Ummm, I'm a loner, yeah, that's it.
    7) See number 1 above.
    8) See number 6 above.

    1) First, last
  • by Belseth (835595) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @04:48AM (#14145386)
    All they seem to have to do anymore is claim something will make us safer and most americans will offer up their Bic lighters to help burn the Constitution. Just how much information about everything we do does the government really need? Several thousand people die in the 9/11 attack and they offer up the constitution on a platter. 20X that many die from the flu every year in this country and there's no out cry. It was tragic but isn't heading down the police state road and making tin foil hats mandatory a bit of an over reaction? This flu may be as bad as claimed but I still remember the swine flu scare in the 70s and SARS just happened. It's important to take these threats seriously but over reaction gives the bad guys in the government more power and threatens to make people suspect the next time around, cry wolf anyone? The threat is real but until it manifests the over reaction can do more harm than good. We've all but been promised it'll happen within the year yet the truth is no one knows if a human strain will show up next month, next year or ten years from now. Can we mantain DEFCON 2 for that long? The irony is over use of antivirals before it hits could leave it immune and kill far more people. Let's not start implanting tracking chips and sending people to leper colonies for a head cold just yet. Wait till there's at least one confirmed human to human transmition before we torch that abused document that protects us when we let it. Give up your privacy rights if you want but bloody well leave mine alone.
    • by RexRhino (769423) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @12:51PM (#14147967)
      The trouble is, that everyone has their own pet facist policy that they like. Even if someone is against the War on Terror on the basis that it restricts freedom, or is unconstitutional... nearly all people support some blatently restrictive or unconstitutional policy.

      For example, do you support one of the following?

      1. Gun Control
      2. "Hate Speech" Censorship Laws
      3. IRS Auditing (forcing people to PROVE they are innocent of tax violations, instead of the other way around)
      4. Forced Public Education
      5. Eminent Domain
      6. "War on Drugs" and Drug control
      7. "Campaign Finance Reform" (political censorship laws)
      8. Copyrights
      9. Banning "Dangerous" animals
      10. Public "Decentcy" Laws (anti-pornography cencorship)
      11. Manditory Enviornmental Inspections (forcing people to PROVE they are innocent of enviornmental violations, instead of the other way around)
      12. Sobriety Checkpoints
      13. Laws against polyigamy.
      14. Restricting people from promoting religion in public. (street corner preachers and such)
      15. Restricting protests around abortion clinics.

      That is just a few. Nearly everyone I know who rails against "The Patriot Act" or some other policy that is fashionable to hate, supports nearly all the restrictive, unconstitutional policies mentioned above. Even if you don't support most of them, it is almost garanteed that you support at least some of them.

      The first part of realizing what happened in America (and what is happening elsewhere), is to realize you are part of the problem. You may not support the "Patriot Act", but that doesn't mean you are for freedom. Hardcore totalitarian Marxists are against the Patriot Act... people are against the Patriot Act because it is politicly unfashionable, or because it is promoted by a party that is considered "right wing". But lets focus on the restrictions of freedom, of exceptions to the constitution that you support.

      If you are a leftist, and you speak out against citizen disarmament (gun control), or you speak out against feminists wanting to ban the Miss Universe pagent, or speak out against throwing people in jail for expressing controversial political beliefs on campus, you are going to be much more effective in promoting freedom that you would protesting the Patriot Act, or emergency powers to prevent bird flu, or whatever.

      You need to eliminate the hatred of freedom from your own political ideology before you can work on someone elses hatred of freedom.
  • by manarth (919856) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @05:34AM (#14145519)

    if *you* are said traveller, handing over all this information won't help you. So you go to Singapore, fly back, and suddenly Singapore has a SARS outbreak. You won't need the CDC to phone you - it'll be all over the news.

    The information will be used so that they can track the disease's spread across the country. It's not Patient Zero (that's P0 for the USA, not P0 for the disease) they'll be helping...given the speed of bureaucracy they'll never reach P0 before symptoms set in.

    Being able to examine an outbreak - and trace it back to a P0 - will allow them to work back up the tree via P1, P2, P3...and predict further outbreaks based on their behaviour.

  • by awol (98751)
    I would much rather _not_ give this stuff to the CDC (nor the airlines for that matter) but rather have them use the natural channel of broadcast to notify people of this stuff. FRont page of less than a dozen news papers and a few fifteen second slots on Sunday night baseball and the hallmark channel should do just fine. It would cost less and if it really is a pandemic it would get the info out to everyone (making people who knew someone that was just in a chicken farm in Hong Kong as incentivised as the
  • is that it not, in and of itself, all bad.

    Think of the good that could be done by people NOT being forced to report all their income and attempting to lie about it.

    We could take care of people as and when they need it, instead of being ripped off by scammers who look for and find every flaw in a system where you have applications to fill out, and 'qualification' hoops to jump through, like you have to be indigent to get any help so any 'bad break' HAS to be catastrophically bad. (Anecdotal evidence: I know
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @10:03AM (#14146460) Homepage Journal
    Seem to key around your mobile phone. The government's learning what hackers have known for years -- that it's really easy to figure out where you are using your mobile phone. They don't have to embed a GPS in every citizen at birth -- the citizens will do it willingly themselves.

    If you happen to not have a mobile phone, you'll be a shadow, moving from place to place and leaving no trace of your presence. At least until you pay for something with a credit card.

  • by 4of12 (97621) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @01:12PM (#14148179) Homepage Journal
    couldn't they do this anonymously?

    Yes.

    For a pandemic, they could simply broadcast over all TV stations, all newspapers, all radios (Emergency Broadcast System) that people traveling on Plane Flight 123 from LNX to WIN or OSX should contact their local authorities to be tested, innoculated, treated.

    An identity provision suggests the authorities want the option to be able to more strictly enforce quarantine measures.

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