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OneDOJ to Offer National Criminal Database to Law Enforcement 184

Posted by Zonk
from the you-can-run-but-you-can't-hide dept.
Degrees writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department is building a massive database, known as 'OneDOJ'. The system allows state and local police officers around the country to search millions of case files from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal law enforcement agencies. The system already holds approximately 1 million case records and is projected to triple in size over the next three years. The files include investigative reports, criminal-history information, details of offenses, and the names, addresses and other information of criminal suspects or targets. From the article: 'Civil-liberties and privacy advocates say the scale and contents of such a database raise immediate privacy and civil rights concerns, in part because tens of thousands of local police officers could gain access to personal details about people who have not been arrested or charged with crimes. The little-noticed program has been coming together over the past year and a half. It already is in use in pilot projects with local police in Seattle, San Diego and a handful of other areas, officials said.'"
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OneDOJ to Offer National Criminal Database to Law Enforcement

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  • Weeeee (Score:1, Interesting)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Friday December 29, 2006 @11:53AM (#17398760)
    More centralized information about everyone. Make it easier for the Big Brother to control everything! Exactly what we all need.
  • Oh come now (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29, 2006 @12:03PM (#17398860)
    "'Civil-liberties and privacy advocates say the scale and contents of such a database raise immediate privacy and civil rights concerns, in part because tens of thousands of local police officers could gain access to personal details about people who have not been arrested or charged with crimes."

    Since when did the DOJ concern itself with such minor details as privacy and/or actually being charged with a crime to jail people?

    If this super sluth of a data base goes the way of most of the goverments attempts it will be just another costly fubar project that will never work right and slip out of sight.
  • by Scothoser (523461) on Friday December 29, 2006 @12:05PM (#17398880) Homepage

    This is an age-old question, and one that will never be answered, I'm afraid. Is it better to give up privacy rights for the sake of better communication and collaboration between law enforcement agencies? How is this different than local police creating their own database of case files? What does it mean to have the right to privacy? These are questions that have never fully been answered, I'm afraid. The first problem is that the US Constitution currently does not , and yet it's the one right that we constantly want protected. [usconstitution.net]

    The other problem is that, even if the Constitution guaranteed the right to privacy, it would only guarantee that right to it's citizens. If someone chooses to break the laws governing the citizenry, they are then rejecting the citizenry. Does that mean that they are no longer citizens? Socrates felt so, as outlined in Plato's The Apology of Socrates [wsu.edu]. But is that so? Has that been determined? I am unaware of any court case or legislation that guarantees the citizenship of convicted criminals, nor of any that revokes their citizenship.

    I think the first thing that needs to be done with regards to privacy concerns is to amend the constitution to allow for the right to privacy. Once this is complete, then the privacy advocates will have a platform on which to base their objections that is rooted within the Constitution. From there, other concerns can be addressed, such as the citizenship status of convicted criminals.

    That being said, I support any collaboration between law enforcement agencies in protecting the citizenry, and do not see any abuses that have not already been in place since Government has been in place. The question is, are there any statistical evidence to support the collaboration in the apprehension and conviction of law breakers vs. the eventual mistakes and abuses that are feared?

  • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Friday December 29, 2006 @12:32PM (#17399208) Homepage Journal
    what happens when this ubergov database gets hacked.

    What makes you think it will need to be hacked? You can go right on the web and check to see if your neighbor is a sex offender today. The information isn't secret or restricted. Exactly the opposite, in fact. The government thinks you should know. Odds are excellent they'll think you should know if your neighbor is a mugger or a thief or a drug user or a mad bomber as well. Or... if they might be at some point in the future! After all, you did buy bleach at the grocery store last week...

  • Re:About time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:03PM (#17401350)
    The Gestapo started assembling records on potential subversives and criminals and even running small pilot programs where they incarcerated people as early as 1931. At first the records were focused on people many considered undesirables, and the small scale incarceration programs were often technically exceeding the boundaries German law still had at the time. Organized camps were seen by 1933. At that point, most of the people in the gestapo's record's programs and in these camps fell into one of five groups. Conventional criminals (particularly allegedly mentally deficient criminals), Communists/Trade Unionists/Social Democrats, Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious groups that refused to swear oaths of allegence, Gypsies, and homosexuals. It was about August of 1937 when these groups began to be eclipsed by growing numbers of Jews as the 'final solution' was implemented.
          Massive records gathering helped greatly to implement this program without public outcry. Whenever possible, political or religious opponents were actually arrested first for some crime, even if it was often very minor, and the public records showed them as serving time for other criminal acts rather than politically related acts. While court records may show that the person was primarily given a 10 year sentence for having publically spoken against Hitler, for example, they were whenever possible given additional charges, such as illegal weapons posession, hoarding of contraband, or other dangerous sounding or disreputable charges, even if these were mere three month midemeanors under German law. The press generally reported the sentences as being for one or two of the non-political crimes, and miscellanious other unspecified offenses.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:30PM (#17401668)

    You can go right on the web and check to see if your neighbor is a sex offender today.

    And what if he isn't? He could still be in there because it was (wait for it) hacked.

  • Re:About time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:27PM (#17402320) Homepage Journal
    You think the sex offender lists are bad?

    Not really. I think the fact that people were put on them ex post facto is monumentally bad, and I think the reasoning that "registration is not punishment" is utterly unsound, and I think the trend towards calling everyone from your basic person attracted to 16...18-year old bodies to the fellow who pees in a bush to streakers "sex offenders" is nothing less than stupid, and I think the "you can never get off this list" is downright suicidal behavior for society — eventually, someone will snap over this mistreatment. But I am not against the community keeping a close eye on actual pedophiles and violent offenders for a reasonable length of time, say a year or three. At that point, I think the public record should be cleared so they can have a chance at real jobs and opportunities. A non-public record needs to be kept so that re-offense results in harsher punishment. Such as death. That's what I think.

    In New York state sex offenders can now be locked up in psych wards after their prison term is finished if a shrink decides that they are still a risk.

    I view psychology to date as a failed science in any case and so I would never support involving any member of the psychiatric community in any legal proceeding. People are too different for any such broad-stroking them into classes based on the opinion of known fad followers. This week it's Jung, next week its Froyd, then it's regression therapy, the blatant attempts at making bad metaphor and then trying to make them fit by force upon the public is reminiscent of religion to me. The very poorest kind of reasoning.

  • Re:About time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nightfire-unique (253895) on Friday December 29, 2006 @05:08PM (#17402752)

    What we end up with is a reserve of people who cannot, under any circumstances, recover from the punishment they have received and re-integrate with society.

    I'm sorry; I'm so jaded at this point in my life, I can't help but believe that this was the intent. I just think the system is failing, because they have abused it too much.

    It's really simple: create classes of people that you can use as scapegoats and targets. You can't (unfairly) rule a united people, so divide them. It happens everywhere: at work, school, and in government. Find a way to split a large group of people down easily identifyable lines, and keep hammering your talking points home. One side will fear the other, and the other side will fear for their lives. As a leader, you can then step in, and provide both sides with what they "need."
  • Re:About time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LuYu (519260) on Friday December 29, 2006 @09:25PM (#17405076) Homepage Journal
    I agree with your general principal, that law enforcement agencies need to work together more easily, but this should be accomplished through IT standards and a legislative agenda. We've got NIST to do this kind of thing. Banks in the U.S. have done this with the guiding hand of the federal gov't behind them, why should law enforcement be any different?

    You must be joking. Have you not read the Constitution?

    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress ... enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State [Article 1 Section 10 Subsection 3]

    I do not see this State to State communication as being authorized by Congress. This sharing is a violation of each State's citizen's rights. If you have been too indoctrinated by the modern media, I will give you a definition: State = Country; State != Province. Each State is supposed to be an independent country with its own laws. These databases make everyone in them something akin to international criminals. Would you like to become an international criminal over a speeding ticket?

    Also, just because the banks have such databases does not mean that the government should as well. The fact that the Federal government keeps files on all individuals in the US is a violation of your right to privacy. That information should be held by the State governments and should only be released with a court order.

    The Federal government should be different because their job is to create a single face for the States to the outside world. The Federal government's job is not to police people within the US unless two or more States need someone to investigate multi-State criminals. The reason the Federal government is needed here is that the States are not supposed to work together.

    Finally, law enforcement in the US is not supposed to be easy. The Constitution makes proving guilt quite difficult. It errs on the side of innocence, not guilt. This is one of your important freedoms. Erring on the side of guilt will result in a police state, and opinions like "databases are not a bad thing" are just the type of thing that will make everybody a criminal.

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