Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy United States Your Rights Online

TSA Nominee's Snooping Raises Privacy Concerns 134

Posted by timothy
from the full-responsibility-is-more-than-acknowledgment dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Erroll Southers, President Obama's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration, gave Congress misleading information about incidents in which he inappropriately accessed a federal database, possibly in violation of privacy laws. Southers accepted full responsibility for a 'grave error in judgment' when he accessed confidential criminal records twenty years ago about his then-estranged wife's new boyfriend. Southers's admission that he was involved in a questionable use of law enforcement background data has been a source of concern among civil libertarians, who believe the TSA performs a delicate balancing act in tapping into passenger information to find terrorists while also protecting citizens' privacy."
"In his letter to key senators on November 20, Southers said he simply forgot the circumstances of the searches, which occurred in 1987 and 1988 after he grew worried about his wife and their son, who had begun living with the boyfriend. 'During a period of great personal turmoil, I made a serious error in judgment by using my official position with the FBI to resolve a personal problem,' Southers wrote. Civil liberties specialists say that the misuse of databases has been common among law enforcement authorities for many years, despite an array of local, state and federal prohibitions intended to protect personal information. Studies have found that police at every level examine records of celebrities, women they have met and political rivals. 'I am distressed by the inconsistencies between my recollection and the contemporaneous documents, but I assure you that the mistake was inadvertent, and that I have at all times taken full responsibility for what I know to have been a grave error in judgment,' Southers added."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

TSA Nominee's Snooping Raises Privacy Concerns

Comments Filter:
  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Friday January 01, 2010 @05:01PM (#30616496)

    'I am distressed by the inconsistencies between my recollection and the contemporaneous documents, but I assure you that the mistake was inadvertent, and that I have at all times taken full responsibility for what I know to have been a grave error in judgment,'

    Read that again, maybe three or four times if you have to. Focus on one clause at a time really think about what he is saying before you move on to the next one.

    He is saying the discrepancy between what he told congress and what the documents say was inadvertant, that is the mistake he is talking about. In fact he says he is distressed that his recollection was flawed. I.e. misleading Congress was a mistake, as in not what he was trying to do, he simply remembered things slightly differently than they apparently were. That happens all the time to me, I'm sure it does to you as well. Abusing his position, however, he has always claimed full responsibility for as "a grave error in judgment".

    Learn to read, please. It will help.

    All that said, I still wouldn't trust this guy as head of the TSA. It may have been just one mis-judgment in a long career of good judgments, but the TSA is so fucked up as it is we don't need someone who may be going on personal vendettas via airline security.

  • by masterzora (871343) <masterzora@gmMENCKENail.com minus author> on Friday January 01, 2010 @06:12PM (#30616990) Homepage

    Okay, let me rephrase: abusing power in order to violate personal privacy, which, while still ambiguous, is definitely a Bad Thing, perpetrated against another, unwilling person, whereas cocaine use is a potentially Bad Thing perpetrated against oneself.

    Moreover, specificity is more or less irrelevant. Causing the death of a living creature is really vague, and covers everything from squishing an ant to harvesting a plant to murder, whereas engaging in respiratory functions is rather specific, but the first category is clearly worse than the second and it would be silly to suggest the reverse.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

Working...