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Navy Database Tracks Civilians' Parking Tickets, Fender-Benders 96

Posted by timothy
from the great-now-you're-on-the-paranoid-list dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes with this excerpt from the Washington Examiner: "A parking ticket, traffic citation or involvement in a minor fender-bender are enough to get a person's name and other personal information logged into a massive, obscure federal database run by the U.S. military. The Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LinX, has already amassed 506.3 million law enforcement records ranging from criminal histories and arrest reports to field information cards filled out by cops on the beat even when no crime has occurred."
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Navy Database Tracks Civilians' Parking Tickets, Fender-Benders

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  • Relevant (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Cat (19816) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:01PM (#46552501)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NFN_NLN (633283)

      Why is the parent being modded down. That is 100% relevant. This site is going down.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There's a bunch of NSA paid agents and just simply US military people (and incidentally, Russian security people too; have a look at some of the comments on articles about the Ukraine all over the internet). Just like with Microsoft's shills, since they are being paid and probably even have special automated notification systems when a new story comes up, they come straight in a the beginning and mod things they don't like to zero in the hope they never get noticed.

        This means that if you have mod points t

      • Re:Relevant (Score:4, Informative)

        by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:32PM (#46553011) Homepage Journal

        How is it relevant? Posse Comitatus applies only to Military ENFORCEMENT of State Laws.
        The Navy in collecting this data is not enforcing anything, they are merely conducting data mining.

        The GPs comment is a Red Herring and SHOULD be modded down

        • They share the data with local law enforcement and the FBI. Which makes it a clear violation. The less obvious violation is what they are using the data for... which is to help them prevent a terrorist act. Something they should not be involved in.

          • "The less obvious violation is what they are using the data for... which is to help them prevent a terrorist act. Something they should not be involved in."

            What's even less obvious is that they are probably using it for other things, too. When have they not, given the chance?

            It's like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau supplying information to the IRS. They weren't supposed to do that. But they did.

          • They share the data with local law enforcement and the FBI. Which makes it a clear violation. The less obvious violation is what they are using the data for... which is to help them prevent a terrorist act. Something they should not be involved in.

            So the agency that we use to fight terrorists is never allowed to fight terrorists? You just contr5adicted yourself.

            The problem is that, while you have read plenty of interpretation of the Act by gun-nuts, and may even have read the Act itself, you don't understand what it means. It means the Federal military can't use it's troops to enforce local laws without the permission of local authorities.
            In particular you do not know what a "posse comitatus" is, and you seem to think that the phrase "search, seizure

    • Re:Relevant (Score:4, Informative)

      by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:30PM (#46552661)

      interesting point that, in addition to the problem of creepy govt mass surveillance, this also has creepy domestic military surveillance. double creeps.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fustakrakich (1673220)

      If it is authorized by congress then the military can legally do what it wants to civilians.

      The loophole, unlike the eye of a needle is big enough to drive your camel through:
      ...said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress

      And maybe this [wikipedia.org] is important:
      The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other :means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination,

      • "If it is authorized by congress then the military can legally do what it wants to civilians."

        No. We have this thing called the Constitution. Congress does not have lawful authority to violate it.

        Congress actually passed a lot of unconstitutional laws after 9/11. We are only now getting around to testing some of them in court... and they have been falling down, one by one. Slowly, but falling.

        The Congress of the United States does not have legitimate power to do anything it wants.

      • Finally somebody who has actually understood the law.

        Now if only somebody else on this thread, anybody else, would pay attention to the "abuses" it was supposed to stop and acknowledge that, in practical terms, this is the law that legitimized the greatest evil the American government has ever perpetrated on it's citizens I'll be very happy.

    • "Relevant "

      I was wondering about that myself. What about these drones that the military has "loaned" to local law enforcement at times, or when they hangar and fly local police drones from a military base? I've read about those happening at least several times. And I sure as hell was under the impression that it was illegal.

      For that matter so, I think, is the inverse situation: how the hell did we end up with National Guard personnel going overseas? They are State employees, not Federal troops.

      • I meant to add: in my opinion, it has all been a deliberate attempt by the Bush and Obama administrations to muddle up the Separation of Powers.
        • I meant to add: in my opinion, it has all been a deliberate attempt by the Bush and Obama administrations to muddle up the Separation of Powers.

          That's designed into the system.

          The theory is that the Executive will always be nibbling at Congressional authority, and Congress will always be nibbling at the President's authority. Nobody ever gets all the authority, therefore freedom is protected.

          If Congress wants to make a huge deal about something it can by either a) refusing to fund the government, or b) impeaching him. If Obama wants to make a huge deal about something he can veto budget bills. Since they don't do that the Courts can't really interv

      • Separation of Powers can't mean separation of authority if the Power-holding-entities are also supposed to check and balance each-other. If the President had clear, 100% control of everything the military did and Congress had clear 100% control of everything the Department of the Interior did then they couldn't check each-other. Obama would be Army-King ant give a shit about Interior, and vice-versa. This leads to an extremely intricate, complicated, procedure up-top for doing everything because everyone ha

    • have you ever heard of NCIS?
    • WTF? This is so wrong on so many levels that I can't believe it.

      Number one, the Posse Comitatus Act is the reason we had Jim Crow. In 1876 local gun-owners throughout the South want'd to lynch their way to segregation but the Federal goddamn Army refused to let them. Between the passage of this Act, and Eisenhower sending the Federal goddamn Army into Little Rock Schools racist terrorists managed to drive the black population of every southern state down by 10 points. In several it was more like 30. South C

      • Mississippi is approximately 38% black, and routinely elects raging conservatives to every single national office. Some are Republicans, and some are Democrats, but every single one of them is nominally pro-life and anti-gay. The black ones much more so than the white ones, actually.
        • You're exaggerating the social conservatism of black pols. In the 43-strong black caucus there are three people who oppose gay marriage. As you get down to a more local level social conservatism gets stronger. It's probably exaggerated in Mississippi because the only way to get anything done is to get buy-in from extremely socially conservative whites, which means that a black pol who gets things done in the statehouse has to pander to them. Black pols in a more normal situation (ie: New York State) tend to

          • I'm not talking about the pols, I'm talking about the population. Black society is very anti-gay, for example.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Decidedly not relevant. The NCIS (which is what actually collects said data, not the Navy proper) is a civilian organization (according to their website, 98% of their agents are civilians, and 90% of the agency overall is civilian) which is specifically authorized by Congress to engage in law enforcement. Law enforcement is, in fact, it's whole reason for existence. Posse Commitus does not apply.

  • Isn't this all public record, anyway? It sounds like the Navy wants to know if they'll be helping anyone escape justice by moving ships around.

    • Most of it is public information, but what is egregious is that some of it, including a name on a police report (when you weren't even charged w/ a crime, let alone convicted) is enough to get a Red Flag.

      **that's the problem**

      It's not just a database of criminal convictions...it's any name every connected to any crime anywhere that they can scan & put in their database...

      Two Rules for understanding INFOSEC news:

      1. Expect officials to want to have the ability to access anything.

      2. Identify the appropriat

  • There is a principle in law (but not in all jurisdictions) that one can only keep personal information about one's customers during the time one is doing business with them. Libraries, one of the original examples, only keep "who has book X" records until the book is returned.

    What business relationship does the Navy have with random people, and what are they doing with copies of their parking tickets? Personal information, and especially personally identifying information should be closely held. Therefor it should not be collected by businesses, police or the military except where the law specifically allows.

    To make it a little harsher, is not possession of someone else's social security number in the U.S. prima facie evidence of an attempt to impersonate them? Of "identity theft"?

    • There is a principle in law (but not in all jurisdictions) that one can only keep personal information about one's customers during the time one is doing business with them.

      That's nice. Talk to me when it is a legal statute and a constitutional ammendment.

      • by davecb (6526)

        It's the law, you just don't live in the right place (;-))

        Seriously, though, it's consistent with the U.S. constitution's protection of privacy, and is claimed to be the law in some states. It wasn't Minnesota law back when I lived in Minneapolis, but that was a while ago ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      What business relationship does the Navy have with random people, and what are they doing with copies of their parking tickets?

      The Navu has relationships with the ruling Ascendacy/Elite, and is amassing information on citizens in case the ruling class might ever have need of it.

      • by davecb (6526)
        Which would be something one wouldn't want to admit in front of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (:-))
        She's an officer of Parliament, and doesn't answer to the party in power*.

        --dave
        [* Which causes parties in power to worry about being called out near an election. Note the current push to geld theenforcement branch of Elections Canada, after they publicly chastized the party in power breaking the funding law]

    • by EvilSS (557649)

      There is a principle in law (but not in all jurisdictions) that one can only keep personal information about one's customers during the time one is doing business with them. Libraries, one of the original examples, only keep "who has book X" records until the book is returned.

      What business relationship does the Navy have with random people, and what are they doing with copies of their parking tickets? Personal information, and especially personally identifying information should be closely held. Therefor it should not be collected by businesses, police or the military except where the law specifically allows.

      To make it a little harsher, is not possession of someone else's social security number in the U.S. prima facie evidence of an attempt to impersonate them? Of "identity theft"?

      None of which applies to a federal law enforcement agency, which NCIS is.

      • by davecb (6526)

        Even King John was subject to the law (although he certainly didn't want to be), and policing agencies in the US are subject to the constitution.

        A policing agency in most jurisdictions can keep records about persons they are investigating, and about their own investigations, but generally require a court order to get anyone else's information. A military policing organization is much more restricted. For example, QR Army granted the Canadian Provost Corps unusual powers over soldiers, but because of that

        • by EvilSS (557649)
          Subject to the constitution yes, subject to local laws on business data collection, no.
    • The government is not a business. It has different rights then businesses. For example, a business can get away with all kinds of discrimination that a governmental unit could not -- prayer at meetings, mandatory hours on Saturday, etc. The government can't do those things. OTOH the government can arrest you as long as they file the right paperwork (mostly warrants).

      Which means that unless there's a specific Constitutional clause, or Congressional statute on data retention in play here the Navy can keep wha

      • by davecb (6526)
        I'd hope the constitution still applies to them, and that they get warrants to collect information form other policing agencies. [See the other comment, too, re limited powers of the military in peacetime]
        • I'd hope the constitution still applies to them, and that they get warrants to collect information form other policing agencies. [See the other comment, too, re limited powers of the military in peacetime]

          And which Constitutional clause says the government can't retain data?

          The Fourth stops certain kinds of searches, but has nothing to do with retention. "Search" in legal terms only applies to things that aren't public, so if the Navy is compiling publicly available police reports the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply.

          As for their limited police powers, the limit is they can't be local/state cops unless the local cops ask for help using a set procedure. If the local cops query the Navy database then they are (b

          • by davecb (6526)

            US courts have held that there are privacy rights and limitations on the military, in part based on a constitutional prohibition on quartering soldiers in private homes (?!). The extent of rights to retain private data varies from state to stare, and is, IMHO, weaker than in Canada and much weaker in the EU. Thus my comment about jurisdictions not honouring rights, including ones their constitutions seem to enumerate.

            The big consideration is what private data is kept. If the material is, for example, p

            • Privacy rights in US Federal law basically boil down to how much the Court is willing to BS itself because the Constitution doesn't have an Amendment directly (and clearly) intended to address the issue. This is largely because when those Amendments were written in the 1790s privacy rights weren't something that governments had figured out how to abuse, and since then the Courts have managed to stretch other Amendments to cover a lot of the gap. The Fourth is usually mentioned, but all it explicitly bans ar

              • by davecb (6526)
                Ah, sorry, I thought there was a new law I didn't know about. Thanks! --dave
            • by davecb (6526)
              Whoops, fish factories just came up on slashdot, at http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org], including discussion of general warrants
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:37PM (#46552707) Homepage

    The problem is not the database, the problem is who's running it. The military has zero business spying on civilians. The CiA doesn't like the competition.

    • While the fact the Navy is compiling the data is concerning, the information they're collecting is public record. Newsflash: if you get arrested, everyone can know.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Did you even read the summary?

        and arrest reports to field information cards filled out by cops on the beat even when no crime has occurred.

        AFAIK those are not public records.

        • They are, actually.
        • Police reports are public record. They have to be, otherwise journalists could never find out whether the young man bitching he's being unfairly targeted because he's black is actually being targeted because he's black.

  • 1996 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaktar (975138) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:41PM (#46552725)

    When I enlisted in '96, I was asked why I didn't inform anyone that I was pulled over in 1995. I was questioned as to why I was pulled over and what happened. I didn't think anything of it.

    I was not issued any citation for being pulled over as it was a case of mistaken identity. Still, the Navy had a record of it.

    • Ya, I am pretty sure they use this information to weed out unsavories during the enlistment process. When my friend enlisted a couple years ago, he got pretty far into the process before the issue of a bankruptcy came up. He had to talk to someone pretty high up, pretty sure it was the commander of the base they were going to ship him to, and the commander had to sign off on it.

      • Re:1996 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:35PM (#46553027)

        Ya, I am pretty sure they use this information to weed out unsavories during the enlistment process.

        Um, what? So they're concerned you might not be Navy material because of speeding tickets, and unfit to join the ranks that commit sexual assault?

        Sounds a bit like Alice's Restaurant.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice%27s_restaurant

        • by mjr167 (2477430)
          Actually... yes... If you have a security clearance you are required to report traffic violations resulting in large fines. Until recently the limit was $150, but in the last couple of years they upped it to $300. Apparently the US government thinks that if you routinely drive 90 in a 50 you are irresponsible or something.
          • Actually... yes... If you have a security clearance you are required to report traffic violations resulting in large fines. Until recently the limit was $150, but in the last couple of years they upped it to $300. Apparently the US government thinks that if you routinely drive 90 in a 50 you are irresponsible or something.

            My best guess is that in 1952 some low-level Federal Agent in a jurisdiction where drunk driving was a fine squished some lady, the media found out he'd kept his job despite multiple tickets, and there was a massive controversy in which several of his bossed were Named in the Paper (the Civil Servants motto: "Don't get your name in the Paper.") and now they're paranoid it'll happen again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:59PM (#46552809)

    LiNX is one of a number of data sharing systems in use today. It works with local law enforcement agencies to warehouse data across different jurisdictions so that they can see each other's data. What's strange is it's under the Navy. The FBI runs another system called the National Data Exhange (n-DEx) which does the same thing but more generally. LiNX is used more for port cities. Commercial vendors like IBM provide their CopLink product to states and local jurisdictions to share data as well (see MODEX project in state of Colorado). Some states like Ohio have their statewide data sharing system that serves to aggregate data for NDEX. These are all systems operated by state/federal law enforcement agnecies that capture when you've done something wrong. This is different from the surveillance activities of the NSA that capture information indiscriminately.

  • by Rehan Chawdry (3588543) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:00PM (#46552815)
    LiNX is one of a number of data sharing systems in use today. It works with local law enforcement agencies to warehouse data across different jurisdictions so that they can see each other's data. What's strange is it's under the Navy. The FBI runs another system called the National Data Exhange (n-DEx) which does the same thing but more generally. LiNX is used more for port cities whereas FBI is much more broad. Commercial vendors like IBM provide their CopLink product to states and local jurisdictions to share data as well (see MODEX project in state of Colorado). Some states like Ohio have their own statewide data sharing system that serves to aggregate data for NDEX. These are all systems operated by state/federal law enforcement agnecies that capture when you've done something wrong. This is different from the surveillance activities of the NSA that capture information indiscriminately.
    • by PPH (736903)

      These are all systems operated by state/federal law enforcement agnecies that capture when you've done something wrong.

      No. That would be a system containing judicial records. Cops just collect records on people they don't like.

      Seriously, the quality of law enforcement intelligence data varies greatly. Some of the more ethical police departments take pains to share only data for which there is probable cause to conduct investigations. In the next town over, you'll get your name on a list if you piss off the mayor. On the other hand, staying off the list also can depend on one's social connections. A few years ago, our local

      • by careysub (976506) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @03:41PM (#46553465)

        And this business of "field information cards" is especially worrisome. A cop can write down anything on a card he likes, and since no action is taken on a card, its very existence would be unknown to you - unless he/she choses to show it you. There is no way of knowing what (mis)information is being generated about you by any random cop. One wonders whether this data, once "in the system" is ever completely, totally purged.

        • by PPH (736903)

          and since no action is taken on a card, its very existence would be unknown to you - unless he/she choses to show it you.

          Police departments are some of the leakiest organizations in this country. It's pretty easy to find a cop who will search their database for you.

  • Is that you?
  • I think the areas involved tells a story of its own. Check out the map of participants [navy.mil] at the bottom.

    • by dlgeek (1065796)
      Costal states that have large Navy ports?
      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        Where is the large Navy port in Texas? Where is there water deep enough for a ship in New Mexico.

        • by dlgeek (1065796)
          Texas:
          • Naval Station Ingleside (Planned to house a battlegroup, but was closed in 2010)
          • Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
          • Naval Air Station Ft. Worth
          • Naval Air Station Kingsville
    • It's not that surprising. All the states involved are coastal states except New Mexico. The Counties shaded dark blue are almost all in areas with a lot of Naval activity (ie: SoCal includes San Diego). A lot of very red states don't even have a County participating. Wyoming, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma aren't in it.

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:17PM (#46555403)

    This is nothing new - I have written about it my responses for years. I worked for a company that developed a system that was being considered by Homeland Security when I left in 2009.

    In the early 2ks, there were a multitude of records management systems in use by public safety. Our system was designed for small and medium size departments- large cities were not our forte.

    There was a lot of data and no way to correlate it among departments in the same counties, let alone state or federal levels. The system we devised worked seemlessly with our customer's and it allowed them to decide what information they desired to share. And, more importantly, they could just as easily shutdown that access. We adapted our system to be able to pull dta from other vendor systems. And, it was noticed. Every incident, ticket, arrest was instantly searchable...from a national level in under seven seconds. It didn't use links.

    Our system wasn't the first, just one that worked...welll..really well. States were receiving grants from the Feds and a lot was funneled into academic research. GJXDM and subsequent NIEM models were built. The FBI also was looking at a system of their own design.

    States such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, PA, NJ and others all had systems...they just werent unified. I would suspect that, if the article is true and NCIS became the keepers, it was for national security reasons.

    None of this is new. How many of you knew that most departments couldnt communicate with those in other counties by radio because of lack of standards? Legislation was passed to help them all be able to communicate in the interest of national security. We were in two wars and fighting an unseen one. Yet, a cop who pulled someone over in one county might not know that when the same vehicle was pulled over again...five minutes away.

    Our system alerted an officer to one such routine stop. First time, there was no probable cause to search the vehicle. A few minutes later, the vehicle was pulled over again. But, the last stop was in the system and the officer approached the car with caution. Shots were fired as the officer approached and he was hit - but, not before neutralizing the threat. He had a vest and lived.

    NCIC would not have had the realtime data. Our system did. I suspect the system in question is also near-realtime.

    Is it spying? Perhaps at some level. But, it is a database of public safety info. Yes, your tattoos and tramp stamps are in the system if you were arrested. They help identify gangs or indicate when a rival gang is moving into a new territory, believe it or not.

    Is the system here collecting more information about ongoing investigations or public information or information pertinent to law enforcement doing their duty?

    And, FYI, a cop doesn't need permission to run your plates - that rule varies state by state. Often, it is a hit against a state run DMV or parking authority that gives the probable cause to run a full check. Do some abuse this power? Maybe. Most cops I knew

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