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Activist Group Sues US Border Agency Over New, Vast Intelligence System 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-see-what-you-have-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about one of the latest unanswered FOIA requests made to the Department of Homeland Security and the associated lawsuit the department's silence has brought. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sued the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in an attempt to compel the government agency to hand over documents relating to a relatively new comprehensive intelligence database of people and cargo crossing the US border. EPIC's lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, seeks a trove of documents concerning the 'Analytical Framework for Intelligence' (AFI) as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. EPIC's April 2014 FOIA request went unanswered after the 20 days that the law requires, and the group waited an additional 49 days before filing suit. The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of "a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination."
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Activist Group Sues US Border Agency Over New, Vast Intelligence System

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  • Ingsoc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bodhammer (559311) on Monday July 21, 2014 @04:07PM (#47503181)
    "The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power." George Orwell - "1984"
  • by Afty0r (263037)

    The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of "a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination."

    Sooo errr.... Total Information Awareness then?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

    • by fyngyrz (762201) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:11PM (#47504951) Homepage Journal

      These laws are toothless. "Must answer within 20 days"... or what? With no one held immediately culpable, the law is precisely meaningless.

      Heard of anyone going to jail for this?

      Heard of anyone paying a fine for this?

      Even heard of anyone losing their job for this?

      Compare: If you don't do something the government desires you to do, there will be consequences.

      This is just like the constitution: "Highest law in the land" -- violate it -- as SCOTUS and congress have done over and over -- and the consequences? Nothing.

      Just so you taxpayers know your place. The laws aren't for the government. Those are just laws "for show." The real laws are just for you. Because, you know, they care about you.

      • by flyneye (84093)

        Yep, they might as well sue on one hand and shit on the other, then observe which hand fills up faster. Lol, kids are funny.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If we're talking about the southern boarder, just cross with everyone else. Illegally.
    • If we're talking about the southern boarder, just cross with everyone else. Illegally.

      No shit.

      Besides, if they want to fuck with you, they won't do it at the border, they'll wait until you're deep inside the Constitution-Free Zone. Because that's how the New America works.

    • If you cross your boarders they may not pay the rent, then where will you be?
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      According to the Obama administration, there's nothing wrong with the southern border. In fact, the borders are even more secure today then a decade ago. I wish I made that up, even though they were warned 2 years ago about it. [washingtonpost.com]

    • Did you know that undocumented people who come to America are not "illegals?"

      At least for the first crossing.

      A clue is to look at the punishment: A free ride back to point of origin.

      A person who crosses the border again AFTER deportation is:

      1.) Doing so illegally
      2.) Documented (else how do we know?)

      • Crossing the border without permission from the federal government is a violation of federal law. I am not sure what definition of "illegal" you are using...

      • by Entrope (68843)

        Bless your heart, CaptainEuphemism: I know you are not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I will spell out why clueful people still call them illegal immigrants rather than "undocumented" immigrants and reserve "unaccompanied minor" for kids who fly on planes without their parents.

        Entering the US other than in a time and place authorized by immigration officers is punishable by up to six months in jail under 8 USC 1325, as is using forged paperwork to enter. However, in most cases, it does not make sense to

        • As you mature in your effort to become a credible member of the debate team, you will learn the maxim, "Attack the post and not the poster."

          I wish you godspeed in that regard.

          • And I wish you luck in learning to read more than the first sentence of a comment before you fire off an utterly wrong response to it, you moron.

            • " ... you moron."

              By way of example.

              • If you like looking like a whiny, hypocritical moron, be my guest. I take it that you concede that illegal immigration is in fact a crime, and that you didn't read far enough into my earlier comment to see where I explained that, because you haven't done a thing to rebut either of those. I'm not going to use soft words to save the feelings of someone who is a lazy, useful idiot or worse.

  • No Decent Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Monday July 21, 2014 @04:47PM (#47503427)
    There is simply no easy solution for the border issue. No matter what is done or not done human suffering will take place. Families are split apart. Nations must have borders or the nation ceases to exist. America has never had a working economic system that provides justice for workers, owners, and those unable to be either. Yet, even if we have a border guard stop an immigrant one foot shy of entry it may be a death sentence for the immigrant. With 75 miles of desert behind them and all kinds of hazards to turn someone back may be murder and that someone could include infants or elders. A strong nation ID card would help such that even casual employment was not possible without prior approval by local police would go a long way towards stopping illegals from having the desire to get here. Yet businesses love lowering the wage pool by flooding illegal immigrants into the nation. I wonder just how much the price of groceries would jump if illegal farm labor was shut down. And the absolute bottom line is that reproduction as well as immigration degrades the quality of life for all of us. We need strict population size control.
    • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Monday July 21, 2014 @05:11PM (#47503617) Journal

      A strong nation ID card would help such that even casual employment was not possible without prior approval by local police would go a long way towards stopping illegals from having the desire to get here. Yet businesses love lowering the wage pool by flooding illegal immigrants into the nation. I wonder just how much the price of groceries would jump if illegal farm labor was shut down. And the absolute bottom line is that reproduction as well as immigration degrades the quality of life for all of us. We need strict population size control.

      You're absolutely right. Those people don't deserve to live here, thinking they can come to this country and have their descendants live here too! And all those wetback children using our diapers are a disgrace! We Americans have been here since the beginning of the American continent, formed as the super-continent Pangaea broke up starting about 175 million years ago. Immigrants must be stopped. They never gave us anything but trouble. But why stop with just keeping out the immigrants and limiting procreation (that's worked out really well in China, no?)? Let's get Swiftian [art-bin.com] on their asses! MMMM babies!

    • by kogut (1133781)

      "I wonder just how much the price of groceries would jump if illegal farm labor was shut down. And the absolute bottom line is that reproduction as well as immigration degrades the quality of life for all of us."

      Those two sentences are contradictory. Because low-cost consumer staples are certainly included a part of the quality of life that the U.S. enjoys. In terms of economic benefit to effectively the entire population. And there are also indirect benefits in having large economic sectors (agricultur

    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Monday July 21, 2014 @05:24PM (#47503707)

      > Nations must have borders or the nation ceases to exist.

      I question that basic assumption: All that does is divide people into an "us vs them" mentality.

      Why must there even BE _artificial_ human inventions such as borders?

      The earth doesn't have borders, only men do.

      I want a world where:

      * People can freely live and work they may without another man giving them permission
      * Personal Rights and Freedoms are respected and placed at a higher value then artificial government granted privileges,
      * Governments to acknowledge that they are created BY the people to SERVE the people, not the other way around where people are brainwashed into believing they need artificial government granted privileges.
      * Governments are Accountable for their actions
      * Governments are Open about their actions

      If people, and government which are an extension of people, would spend less time living in FEAR and profiting off making machines to kill other men we wouldn't even need borders.

      Eventually a unified world government is more efficient but since that scares the hell out of a lot of people that will never happen until we remove money (corruption) from politics.

      • Eventually a unified world government is more efficient but since that scares the hell out of a lot of people that will never happen until we remove money (corruption) from politics.

        So never then? The solution isn't to assume that corruption can be ever fully eradicated. The solution is to design systems that minimize and compartmentalize it.

      • by digsbo (1292334)
        You might be interested in Michael Rozeff's explanations of "Panarchism", which is, basically, universal government through subscription. It would tend to be geographically oriented, but wouldn't actually need specific borders.
      • Look around. There are differences between countries. Legal frameworks and governance matters. Just compare Mexico and the United States. Be honest with yourself and ask what country would you rather live in?
      • by smaddox (928261)

        Borders are barriers to trade and migration. If government by the people for the people were really the aim, we would have small, local governments that the average individual could actually influence, and that people could easily migrate away from if they felt compelled to. Instead, we have the exact opposite.

      • >> The earth doesn't have borders, only men do.

        Dude, put down the clip and go upstairs. What's a river? What's an ocean? What's a mountain range?

        • I'm not denying there is are natural physical boundaries but political boundaries are purely conceptual boundaries -- witness how many times the border of Poland moved [wikipedia.org] in the 20th century!

          • by Entrope (68843)

            With no borders, when you break the laws of the City of Entrope, the City of Entrope Police will hunt you down to the end of the earth if the mayor tells them to. There is no reason for them to stop short of that. Does that sound good to you?

            With no political borders, the only possibly stable equilibria are anarchy and uniform world government, and I am deeply skeptical that either would actually be stable. Which one of those do you prefer?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Of course countries need borders. Countries are defined by their laws. Since you don't want, presumably, to be governed by the laws of the one true glorious leader Kim Jong Un (sp?), you need a border between you and North Korea. Other countries' differences are not as stark, but there would be plenty you would find not to your liking regardless - even with close cultural neighbors like Canada (You like your hand guns? Don't like the government running beer/booze sales? You think your telecom monopolie

      • I question that basic assumption: All that does is divide people into an "us vs them" mentality.

        Why is this wrong? I don't indentify with many people across the globe and often our values conflict. How do we resolve these issues with less violence? Good fences make good neighbors.

        Why must there even BE _artificial_ human inventions such as borders?

        The earth doesn't have borders, only men do.

        There's these things called "oceans", "mountains", "rivers" and "lakes" that do a pretty good job of isolating certain parts of the world from each other.

        I want a world where:

        * People can freely live and work they may without another man giving them permission * Personal Rights and Freedoms are respected and placed at a higher value then artificial government granted privileges,

        Would you be alright with prostitution, drug use, pedophilia and human slavery being practiced in your neighborhood? Because those are legal in countries around the world. I

      • by Wootery (1087023)

        Eventually a unified world government is more efficient but since that scares the hell out of a lot of people

        And for damn good reason. Dilution of democracy for one, instability another. Huge empires don't tend to last.

      • So long as there are ungoverned places in this world we will need borders to keep the lawless bad men from such places out. So long as governments need taxes to exist we will need borders to keep the money inside their reach. You don't believe in borders? Then you won't mind if I build a house in your front yard, since property borders are just holding humanity back. A national border is the limit of a government's power. The only way to eliminate borders is to eliminate government. And we can't elimi
    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      There is simply no easy solution for the border issue.

      Landmines...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder just how much the price of groceries would jump if illegal farm labor was shut down.

      I wonder how much the government could offset that increase by NOT enabling millions of "anchor" babies to qualify for US-taxpayer fed welfare programs.

      You know, because free food, free housing, and eventually a free college education sits so well with the average American taxpayer, especially those who are saddled with $50,000 worth of college loans struggling to find a job. Yes, tell me again how our fucking problem is worrying about the price of fresh tomatoes.

  • The government has every right to determine whom and what is coming into the United States. International visitors are asked to file paper work with the government to report a number of items (large sums of money, plant/food products, money making equipment, etc.).
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

      The government has every right to determine whom and what is coming into the United States. International visitors are asked to file paper work with the government to report a number of items (large sums of money, plant/food products, money making equipment, etc.).

      The problem is that Obama (and some past presidents to a lesser degree) are willingly not enforcing border security. For known illegal immigrants already in their custody.

      Which raises serious suspicions about any claims they make about their intentions for a highly invasive monitoring system.

      • by Intron (870560)

        You are just SO wrong

        http://news.medill.northwester... [northwestern.edu]

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Apples to Oranges.
          Now they count someone being turned at the border before entering the USA a deportation. This wasn't the case 10 years ago.

          NYT just reported over 300,000 illegals have entered the USA since April 2014. Not a misprint there.

          • by Intron (870560)

            I wonder why there's no sudden jump in the data then?
            Sorry for confusing you with the facts. Carry on with your beliefs.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              story [nytimes.com]
              I don't know what no sudden jump in the numbers you are expecting. Here is the story I was talking about. I guess you assume offical government numbers are the truth. Here are some other truths from them... The NSA isn't spying on you. You can keep your healthcare.

              Not sure why people are taking government talking points as fact anymore. Not that I trust the NYT number, but at least I stated where I got that from so you can judge it yourself.

    • Re:Why oppose this? (Score:4, Informative)

      by AHuxley (892839) on Monday July 21, 2014 @07:14PM (#47504315) Homepage Journal
      The US tried that for a very short time under Nixon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. A massive movement of staff to secure the border was in place and worked very well.
      The flow of drugs, drug money laundering in US banks and illegal labor was at risk. Over time the US returned to a policy that can be seen today.
      A free flow of people, goods and the need for expensive financial instruments ensures wonderful regional profit.
      The UK was a great example too with its visa "expires" database. The UK forgot how/why to count visa in and visa out (was International Passenger Survey).
      The main reason seems to be a super cheap flow of workers and the UK will try and bring back "exit checks" in a year or so :)
      As for US policy - cheap workers with no on site wage or health laws was always the big win to keep wide open boarders for decades.
    • by Entrope (68843)

      EPIC is not trying to stop the government from using this system -- they are trying to get information about the system, presumably so that they can decide whether to try to rein in the system (via political or judicial means) to protect civil rights. Why oppose that, indeed?

      DoofusOfDeath and AHuxley make good points as well. Some modern advocacy groups (like the Cato Institute) claim that open immigration can coexist with a welfare state, but even the studies they write admit that low-skilled immigrants

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