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Government Privacy Social Networks

The ATF Wants To Know Who Your Friends Are 131

Posted by timothy
from the do-you-have-any-friends-named-cody? dept.
i_want_you_to_throw_ writes "You have a Friend Request from: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms... 'Confirm'? 'Not Now'? Seriously, the ATF won't try to friend you on Facebook. The ATF doesn't just want a huge database to reveal everything about you with a few keywords. It wants one that can find out who you know. According to a recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bureau is looking to buy a 'massive online data repository system' for its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII)."
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The ATF Wants To Know Who Your Friends Are

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  • Convenience Store (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:00PM (#43374471)

    In a truely free country the ATF would be a convenience store and not a government agency. In a free country you would be able to buy your alcohol, tobacco, firearms AND explosives from an ATF convenience store.

    • by djl4570 (801529) on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:01PM (#43374885) Journal
      Ahhh .. Deluxe Liquor and Sporting Goods in Roseville, Ca. How I miss thee. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Both rifles and handguns) in one convenient stop. Store closed years ago but the memories live on.
      • by istartedi (132515)

        Closest thing to this when I was growing up was K-mart. This was in Virginia, but *northern* Virginia DC suburbs, so not really hardcore Southern at all.

        Anyway, guns and ammo were right there in the sporting goods section with the fishing poles and stuff. They were in glass cases and behind the counter. I'm pretty sure K-mart sold cigarettes and pipe tobacco back then. The alcohol was probably missing though. Definitely no liquor, since Virginia had that monopolized via ABC. As a boy, I wasn't very cu

        • I think Wal-Mart sells all three. Haven't been inside a Wal-Mart in a while, but I will probably go ahead and shop there when I finally get around to getting myself a few boxes of Luger ammo.

          • by akboss (823334)

            I think Wal-Mart sells all three. Haven't been inside a Wal-Mart in a while, but I will probably go ahead and shop there when I finally get around to getting myself a few boxes of Luger ammo.

            Not if it is like the Wally Marts around here in Texas. Most have empty shelves when it comes to ammo. Last time I was there they had a selection of 300 win mag, a smaller selection of 30-30 and then some 12 gauge boxes. I order all my ammo by the case load.

            • by kwbauer (1677400)

              That's pretty much what any store selling ammo looks like. The county sheriff offices in Wisconsin are looking for dealers at gun shows and private reloaders to sell them ammo because they are running low.

      • In 1976, my father bought my first revolver for me at a combined liquor and gun store that I'm sure also sold tobacco products. It was located in a major shopping mall (Wonderland, iirc) in San Antonio, Texas. I mean, right out there where today you find Apple stores and Payless shoe stores, a combination liquor/gun store! It was great!

        Kids today don't appreciate what they've lost.

        • In the backwoods midwest, Bowling Green, Ohio you could buy ammo, alcohol, and tobacco at the local convenience store until 2001 or so. I haven't been back there recently.
      • by PPNSteve (1287174)
        Oh man I hear ya there... was such a great store!
    • by maz2331 (1104901)

      There is a store about a mile away from me that sells coffee, premium cigars, and firearms. It's the strangest combo that I have ever seen in the Pittsburgh area. Now if they just sold beer, they could deal with all three main parts of the ATF.

    • a gun in every hand and crack in every pipe!
    • Austin, Texas used to have a gun shop with a drive-thru fast food style window for ammunition.

      "Do you want some fries with your HK 4.6×30mm's, Sir?"

  • "People" (I mean that in the loosest sense) here don't got no friends anyways.
  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:19PM (#43374607)
    Are they looking for cliques in all of the wrong places? Or are they attempting to subvert the system by turning everyone into a suspect because of their "degree of association" to criminal elements, smugglers, and terrorists just because everyone is linked to everyone else?
    .
    So I guess that ATF just heard about cliques [wikipedia.org] and graph theory. Perhaps knowing the degree of bacon-ness would tell them that this approach to a friend-of-a-friend is useless. As everyone knows, the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon [wikipedia.org] Conjecture" posits that every-one in filmdom is on a path of length at most 6 away from being in a film with Kevin Bacon (link to him yourself, if you want, he's less than 6 degrees away).
    .
    So if Baconicity holds true in all of life instead of just in the film industry graph, then any individual can be linked to a criminal within less than six steps. Oh-my-godzies, we're all linked to criminals!! We all have gang ties!! We're all affiliated with Terrorists!! That linkage list shows it!! It must be true!!! Lock us all up, for our own goods!
    .
    If that sounds ridiculous, that's because it is ridiculous. But that won't stop the government from claiming it to be true and useful and actually use it in courts of law. Shheeeeesh. It's like the old canard about "cocaine residue on money":
    -- most paper currency in the USA has cocaine residue on it [snopes.com]
    -- even national geographic Cocaine on Money: Drug Found on 90% of U.S. Bills [nationalgeographic.com] confirms this to be true

    Yet the government often tried to try (yes, prosecute = to try a case) people for being drug couriers/smugglers/kingpins because the money found on their person had drug residue on it. Unfortunately, the penetrance of drug residue on money is so high that there is not a reliable way to link the person's drug use with the drugs found on the money. See statistics 101 to figure that out.

    • In my grand unified theory of everything this move is a psychological operation. "Stay away from those firearm nuts, stay away from firearms" is the idea. Soft terrorism. Unsurprising. (Terror is useful for those who already have power, not for those who want to obtain it, see examples that range from the kings, the French revolution, the adverse effect of indiscriminate attacks on the public opinion).

      The second reason: mass criminalize everybody first, then pick up the troublemakers and jail them as it sui

    • by Goody (23843)

      So if Baconicity holds true in all of life instead of just in the film industry graph, then any individual can be linked to a criminal within less than six steps. Oh-my-godzies, we're all linked to criminals!! We all have gang ties!! We're all affiliated with Terrorists!! That linkage list shows it!! It must be true!!! Lock us all up, for our own goods!

      Sure, everyone can be linked to some douchebag/terrorist/asshole in six degrees, but if you're linked to a douchebag/terrorist/asshole in one or two degrees, you're probably a douchebag/terrorist/asshole.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)
      I've been wondering, what's Kevin Bacon's Erdos number?

      And BTW when will slashdot comments allow unicode so I can spell Paul Erdos correctly?

      • Hmmm... For Bacon to have an Erdos number, Kevin Bacon would first have had to have a paper published with co-authors who could then be linked to Erd``os. But I do not believe that Kevin Bacon has published a paper. So we're right out on an Erd``os number for KB.
        .
        But if we consider the concept of a joint Erdos-Bacon number [wikipedia.org] which is the sum of an individual's Bacon number and their Erdos number, then we might be able to go somewhere. Those individuals with joint Bacon-Erdos numbers have a vertex on the B
  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:20PM (#43374617) Homepage Journal

    Jim Beam, Philip Morris, and the brothers Smith and Wesson, of course.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:25PM (#43374641) Homepage Journal

    Keep your friends close but keep ATF closer.

    AFAIK FB 'friends' in most cases are not exactly what one would consider to be a friend IRL. I mean if you have 1000 friends, what does that mean?

    An old tale:

    A young man decided to get married, he was busy and asked his father to call 50 people on a list. He said "these are my friends, can you call them and invite them for the wedding ceremony?" The father agreed.
    On his wedding day the son confronted his father "I asked you to call all of my friends", "and so I did", "but there were 50 people on my list and I only see 15". "Son, I called all 50 people and told each one of them that you have a problem and you need help and they should meet with you in this exact location at this exact time, so don't worry, all your friends are here now".

    Back to the story: of-course government wants to know everything about you, don't you understand, it's for the collective good.

  • New Proposal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:33PM (#43374693)
    I propose an open-source decentralized big-data platform for tracking all politicians, their movements, who they talk to, where they've been, they're locations, their correspondence (that's public), their donations, criminal backgrounds, known associations, and everything about them in an easily searchable, index-able manner.

    Who wants to work on this with me! Seriously people we could do this in a legal way and that would be something that COULD make a difference. Probably not but worth a try...
    • by dbc (135354)

      Brilliant! I'd contribute to that project. Put it up on a crowdfunding platform and before you can say "swipe my Visa" I'm there.

    • Just so you know, if you try this they will kill you.
  • I used to be friends with this guy named Tom, but I haven't talked to him since 2004.
  • Terror Wins (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:41PM (#43374739)

    The ATF wanting such a database is like terror turned inward. Are we really in such danger that we need all kinds of agencies studying the public? I think it is a bit much. And I am very aware that such information has been compiled, one way or another, since at least the 1950s..

  • by PPH (736903) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:42PM (#43374743)

    ... to my little friend!

  • Red Scare v2.0 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:44PM (#43374761) Homepage Journal

    Seeing that our Government already did an end run around our First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Association in 1950 with the Red Scare under a Republican President, it only goes to follow that we now embrace the Democrat's Gun Scare under Obama.

    IT. IS. WHAT. THE. PEOPLE. WANT. AFTER. ALL.

    I mean, haven't we already seen a handful of news organisations and blogs outing local gun owners to shame the thousands of gun owners and invite them to be harassed, assaulted or worse? Already, we rightly expell kids from the school system for pointing a finger and saying "pew pewpew" and even dodgeball is facing bannination from the school ground for it's abject violence -- and you better bury those FPS like CoD in your backyard before "we" find them.

    Why you ask? Why not? Why not going after anyone who's ever used or owned a gun?
    After all, they must be bad people -- and if you know someone who owns a gun, you are probably a pretty bad person your self.

    So choose your Facebook friends wisely, or you might have to suffer the "consequences".

    • Actually, this would be version 3, and again, it would start under a Democratic Party president, although I don't know why that matters.

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

      • Republican Congress (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Surely the law making is Congress, the Republicans, and the laws being used is the Patriot Act, Republicans.

        But, hey nice misdirect. Do you work for Fox?

        • "On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama used an Autopen to sign a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act while he was in France: roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the "library records provision"), and conducting surveillance of "lone wolves" â" individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups."

          This is an issue of freedom. As a card carrying, non pot-smoking, member of the Libertarian Party, I'm more than happy to point out th

  • by trout007 (975317) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:48PM (#43374789)

    I don't have friends.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      I don't have friends.

      Funny enough, isn't being a loner supposed to be one to those traits that leads to people being knee-jerk profiled the next Unabomber or school massacre perpetrator? Apparently the ATF is busy compiling a database of all the wrong people if what the DHS has told us in the past has any truth to it.

  • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:49PM (#43374801)
    When will the public finally decide that the US Govt has gone too far? Honestly I would have thought it'd been years ago. The left was going batshit crazy 6+ years ago about the imperialistic Bush administration, but apparently the new flavor of crazy this administration is pulling is all hunky dory.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      "apparently the new flavor of crazy this administration is pulling is all hunky dory."

      Peter D. Feaver, a Duke University professor, theorizes:

      Mr. Obama "believed the cartoon version of the Bush critique so that Bush wasn't just trying to make tough calls how to protect America in conditions of uncertainty, Bush actually was trying to grab power for nefarious purposes. "So even though what I, Obama, am doing resembles what Bush did, I'm doing it for other purposes," Mr. Feaver added.

      -- The New York Time [nytimes.com]

      • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Friday April 05, 2013 @08:11PM (#43374975)
        So in summary;
        The left theorizes that giving this President more power is not as harmfull as if it were Bush because this President is more responsible.

        The problem is that the left hasnt the foresight to recognize that the American public is entirely capable of electing someone equally or exponentialy worse than Bush.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          The problem is that the left hasnt the foresight to recognize that the American public is entirely capable of electing someone equally or exponentialy worse than Bush.

          they don't need foresight, he's already in office.

        • Replace "the left" with "Democrats" and yes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The one good thing that is happening is that a lot of people who voted for Obama are starting to see that the emperor truly has no clothes:

      His platform of peace and ending wars has turned into more wars. His economic recovery consists of an inflated stock market propped up by printing $3,000,000,000 a day and a "falling" unemployment number caused by 9,400,000 people leaving the work force since he took office and more each month. His promise of transparent government has turned into a total farce. He th

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        "His platform of peace and ending wars has turned into more wars."

        Oh really? Please, yell me about all these wars that Obama's started based on lies that are now bleeding our treasury dry.

        and a "falling" unemployment number caused by 9,400,000 people leaving the work force since he took office and more each month.

        1. Ever heard of the baby boomers? They're starting to retire, so of course some people are leaving the labor force. 2. Turns out some people will give up when 30 years of GOP economic policy h

        • The problem with your logic is that the size of the population of the U.S. that is within the bounds of what is considered "working age" is larger today than it was when Obama took office. So, the number of people leaving the workforce cannot be explained by baby boomers retiring, since that does not represent enough people.
        • Oh, I forgot to mention relative to your "staring down the abyss of Depression" comment. Since WWII there have been multiple recessions, this is the first one where the number of jobs was not higher 4 years after the start of the recession than at the high point of jobs before the recession began. There are fewer Americans employed today than at the high point before the recession began, even though we have been in "recovery" for over 4 years.
    • by fche (36607)

      And they laugh when some of us want to starve the beast.

    • The lefties were mad at Bush not for what he was doing, but because he was from The Other Guys(tm). He was one of the other tribe, so what he was doing was bad, and wrong, and evil and all that shit. Some people really believed this to an extreme extent. There were people saying Bush had setup FEMA death camps, would declare martial law and stop the election, that kind of thing.

      Well now their guy is in power. Hence you see the same shit from the righties. All of a sudden stuff that under Bush was "necessary

  • by kawabago (551139) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:55PM (#43374855)
    Their goals are ridiculous in free country. A country isn't free if it's government knows what everyone is doing all the time. Besides that, why weren't they asking for this information 10 or 20 years ago? People had connections in the past but the government never sought to know everyone's. The only result of all this total information awareness so far is to find out the CIA Director was having an affair. Billions of dollars could be better spent on infrastructure.
  • My friends? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday April 05, 2013 @09:31PM (#43375613) Journal

    My friends are anyone who upholds the bill of rights. Sounds like that doesn't include anyone in the ATF.

    -jcr

    • by dbc (135354)

      Pretty much true.

      Remember, the Bill of Rights was a response to criticisms of the Constitution found in the Anti-Federalist papers. Somehow, the term "anti-federalist" seems still to be right on target of you believe in the concepts of the BoR.

  • Watch as everybody does nothing. Piece by piece - goodbye privacy hello criminal travesty.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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