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The Searchable Life 413

oni writes "Here's a story on wired about a Pentagon project called LifeLog. It seeks to record every bit of information that can be had, index it by name, or SSN, or even location, and make the database searchable. Furthermore, '[LifeLog adds] physical information (like how we feel) and media data (like what we read) to this transactional data.'" If you think you can build such a system, apply for a grant. There's also a current AP story about Total Information Awareness.
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The Searchable Life

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:13PM (#5999938)
    Big Brother reference in 3.. 2... 1...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:13PM (#5999941)
    About how angry having my privacy violated makes me feel... and about how my herpes has flared up again.
  • Why is it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:16PM (#5999958)
    That our government wants to do *completley* evil things that make dystopian futures depicted in movies like Brazil and 1984 look pleasant ?
    • What's "completely evil" about this? I want this thing, and have for years!
      • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:23PM (#6000028)
        > What's "completely evil" about this? I want this thing, and have for years!

        And why are so many of us geeks worried?

        If the Pentagon wants record peoples' lives, fine. It's not as if I'm gonna appear in the database! How could I? I spend all my time reading Slashdot -- I don't have a life!

    • Re:Why is it (Score:2, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )
      everybody thinks this must be evil?
      Checks and balances is the key.

      The very same thing could of been said about the internet.

      • Re:Why is it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:36PM (#6000147) Journal
        I find it amusing that your sig is "If you do not get invovled with your government, you are a dumb-ass whiner."

        Its amusing because the government has long since quit caring about individual citizens. Just take a look at all the actions it taken against its own citizens over the years, usually in favor of fake "people" (corporations) or its own lust for power.

        So, if you're not super-rich and buying campaign ads for your government officials, or else telling the officials what they already wanted to hear, then "getting involved" means nothing, unless you're going to run for office.

        I'd vote for anyone who runs for office on the platform of "not bought by corporate interests".
      • Re:Why is it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:41PM (#6000191) Homepage

        Checks and balances is the key.

        I'm not American, but I believe this mantra means that at long as there's adequate supervision, extra government powers aren't so bad, right?

        Supervision, "checks and balances" means that you, or your representatives should be able to say when a government organization is trying to grab powers that it doesn't need to do its job, that are totally gratuitious - and also possibly open to abuse.

        Well, this is the fucking Pentagon (your department of war on other countries) that wants to have a complete database of every tiny little thing about American citizens. Which is so totally unrelated to their job, and so open to abuse, that it's precisely those checks and balances that should stop this, if they are still effective, right?

      • Re:Why is it (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mbogosian ( 537034 )
        Checks and balances is the key.

        It seems that with today's advances in technology, the only way we can account for the loss of privacy in a Free society is to grant access to projects like this and TIA to everyone.

        That's right, everyone. If the government can look at my entire purchase history, I should be able to look at the purchase histories of everyone employed by the government.

        The only way all this crap will work acceptably is if I can spy on my government just as effectively as it can spy on me.
    • its only completly evil if you have something to hide.

      we should all live open sourced lives.
      • Re:Why is it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:31PM (#6000112)
        its only completly evil if you have something to hide.

        I have my privacy to "hide". Reveal every detail of your life if you choose - but respect my freedom to do otherwise. The U.S. is a free country, right?

        Or did the terrorists win?

        • Re:Why is it (Score:3, Insightful)

          by b-baggins ( 610215 )
          The information they will gather is stuff that is already publicly available. You don't have privacy, you have anonymity, and you have a right against unwarranted searches and seizure of your person and property. That's it.
          • The information they will gather is stuff that is already publicly available.

            Certainly not. I "how I feel" publically available, much less the rest of it? No.

            You don't have privacy, you have anonymity, and you have a right against unwarranted searches and seizure of your person and property. That's it.

            These new government initiatives do not provide anonymity.

            Further, the provision against "unwarranted searches" is synonymous with "privacy". Believe it or not.

          • Re:Why is it (Score:4, Insightful)

            by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:10PM (#6000427) Homepage Journal
            So when they fuck up and mis-identify me as a terrorist and declare me an enemy combatant because I used to post to UseNet about drug use, never mind that I haven't touched the stuff in years, and take away my rights to challenge them in court, how exactly am I going to get any kind of "check" or "balance"?
            • by e2d2 ( 115622 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:25PM (#6000581)
              So when they fuck up and mis-identify me as a terrorist and declare me an enemy combatant because I used to post to UseNet about drug use, never mind that I haven't touched the stuff in years, and take away my rights to challenge them in court, how exactly am I going to get any kind of "check" or "balance"?

              This will never happen. The government doesn't make mistakes.

          • Re:Why is it (Score:4, Insightful)

            by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:02PM (#6001052) Homepage
            You don't have privacy, you have anonymity

            And the Supreme Court has said, time and time again, that a right to privacy is inherent to the Constitution, without which other rights couldn't be fully exercised.

            I'll take the word of the Supreme Court over yours any day of the week.

      • Re:Why is it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by johnstein ( 602156 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:33PM (#6000125) Journal
        Initially this is true, of course. And in a perfect world, this will ALWAYS be true. In a perfect world, open source lives would be ideal, since no one would exploit others. No one would be a lazy burden to the rest by not doing his/her fair share.

        We don't anywhere near perfect (to quote one of those stupid car commercials), so just because you have nothing to hide, it does not mean that you cannot be exploited. Sure, the chances are slim, but there is that chance. And, if something has any chance to happen, it will happen eventually.

        Now, I am not saying this is or isn't evil... I am just saying that claiming that the reason people are against somethning is because they have something to hide really isn't a very solid arguement.

      • we should all live open sourced lives.

        OK, so reply to this posting with your home address, telephone number (cell included, and work number and extension just for fun), and also include your Date of Birth and Social Security number. Oh, and if you're old enough to have a credit card, we'd like to have those numbers too.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:30PM (#6000101)
      The Neilson television rating system, monitors what channels people are watching. But people subvert this system by just leaving their TVs on to prefered channels even if they are not in the room. (neilson of of course tries to combat this).

      which suggest that a chafing scheme could be used to mess with the logs on my web usage.

      for example, I have perl script that continously goes to random web sites and pretends to browse web pages 24/7. My own usage is potentially lost. and by random chance I will of course visit al queda web pages, child porn sites, and many other dark alleys of the internet and thus launder them at the same time. Of course this idea sucks for its impact on web bandwidth but I suspect that by the time it becomes possible to track everyones's moves in a data base there will be lots of bandwidth available too.

      Another schema is of course Anonymizing things via encryption and bitTorrent like peer-to-peer access to pages.

    • Re:Why is it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by malia8888 ( 646496 )
      In "1984" we had "Big Brother". My big brother pretty well found my behavior too low in his lofty opinion to be observed or commented upon.

      "Total Information Awareness" or the anacronym "TIA" is coincidentally or purposefully the Spanish word for aunt. "Tia" looks more like a meddling spinster aunt with nothing better to do than peruse our collective sock drawers.

      This is another way the American people have been victimized by 9-11. It gives an opportunity for the people who would like to strip us of o

    • Why is it that our government wants to do *completley* evil things that make dystopian futures depicted in movies like Brazil and 1984 look pleasant ?

      Because they can. That their means surpass the vision of Orwell is not much of a surprise. It's not the ability to monitor and control that must be checked, it is the will and acceptance. There's nothing wrong with cameras, emotion detectors and networks. There's something terribly wrong with the the way some people would use and force them on others.

  • hmm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by RaboKrabekian ( 461040 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:17PM (#5999967) Journal
    SELECT * FROM tblLife WHERE objName = "Keys"

    This might come in handy.
  • by b0tman ( 667349 )
    this sounds pretty ambitious, and fairly cool inasmuch as recording your life... however, c'mon, this is being sponsored by the pentagon. if allowed to happen, this will kill any privacy we thought we once had. and imagine if someone hacked this database. gives identity theft a whole new dimension.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Have you ever been to the pentagon? Or worked with the people inside the pentagon?

      If you had (and I have), you wouldn't be worried.
  • by noahmax ( 534339 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:18PM (#5999979) Homepage
    At Defense Tech [], there's more on LifeLog -- including the history of such programs, and similar efforts in the private sector.


  • Time for guilting. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by juuri ( 7678 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:19PM (#5999987) Homepage
    These systems can only be built and utilized if people are willing to do the work. A basic fact, but one that seems to get pushed asside when the masses of the informed call for ending stupid legislation and projects that whittle our rights away. Someone still has to build this shit.

    We need a viable platform for getting in contact with the people that work on this swill at a personal level and ask them the important questions. While it may be easy to work on such a project away from everyone, when presented with the dangers and evils on a personal level most people act very differently. Everyone has to work, many people have famlies to feed, but still deep inside most people will no do something incredibly stupid or evil when given the choice... and that applies to work such as this.

    I'm sure someone will say that you can always find someone to work on something no matter how wrong it may be and while that is certainly true, projects such as these are doomed to fail if they can only get subpar workers to create them.

    Congress may make laws and the courts might validate them to a certain extent, but final validation lies in what we are willing to tolerate. We are in control.
    • I am pessimistic about this. Low morals do not have to imply low technical skills.

      Smart people also build self-delusions like "Well, if not me, somebody else would do that." or "There are still folks who do worse things." or "Feeding my family is moral, therefore what I do is OK".

      Need I say that I wish I were wrong?

    • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:25PM (#6000049) Homepage
      projects such as these are doomed to fail if they can only get subpar workers to create them.

      Not true. I have seen managers literally WILL crappy code to work - or at least force everyone to believe that it's working. Kinda like mass hypnotism. Or was it hysteria?. Hmmm.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      perhaps they believe in it?
      or pehaps you have no concept of balance, and can not see in grays.
    • While your concept is interesting in theory, you fail to take into account the power of rationalization.

      Because, as we all know, this database will only used for good. As long as I don't do anything wrong, it will never affect my life. But it might help control the dangerous elements of society. There is no possibilty for abuse. None whatsoever! It will put an end to terrorism! I'm A TRUE PATRIOT!

      Don't tell me it's an invasion of my privacy! I'm not listening! LALALALA! I can't heeear you!

    • validation lies in what we are willing to tolerate. We are in control.

      Well, I'm an excellent programmer even though I design hardware for my wages. I'm also a total and complete misanthrope who roots for ELE asteroids, so I think I'd be willing to work on this just to annoy people. :-P

      There are many points of view out there. Some of them, like mine, are quite disturbing. :-)

  • I want (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:20PM (#6000000) Homepage
    If you think you can build such a system, apply for a grant

    Hello sir. My name is Mahmoud Albin-Ahmed, and i am from Kentucky. I would like to have applied for grant to developing wonderful system like echel... er, life so i can sear... er... serve my fellowing americans. i am havening wonderful oportunity.

    thanks you and regards. plz send money soonest.

  • by Bendebecker ( 633126 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:21PM (#6000006) Journal
    The government is still trying to live our lives for us and protect us from ourselves...
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by FroMan ( 111520 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:21PM (#6000007) Homepage Journal
    Furthermore, '[LifeLog adds] physical information (like how we feel)

    Soft and squishy, mainly around the belly area.

    But I'm getting thinner slowly.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:23PM (#6000031) Journal
    1) Make such a system. Run it for a few years so it's full of goodies.
    2) Make it open to the public.

    Suddenly, it becomes quite clear that innocence is a fiction, and everyone does things that we persecute each other for. Faced with such such evidence, either tolerance or societal implosion must result.
  • Unconstitutional! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The constitution expressly prohibits this sort of behavior *on citizens*. The census provisions make it clear what data can be collected from citizens, how often, and in what manner.

    The supreme court has been pretty rigid about this, too.

    However, collecting information on non-citizens is allowed (and even required).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:26PM (#6000056)
    I've gotten into so many arugments with people about privacy and it usually boils down to trust: They trust, I don't.

    They trust safeway to be kind and gentle when collecting all their iformation on every item they have ever purchased, they trust bars to maintain privacy when scanning a person's license to enter a bar. But that is folish.

    [Shamelessly copied from latimes...] 08,1,1932749.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dcaliforni a []

    Officer's Star Searches Raise Liability Worries
    City studies possible legal fallout from use of police computer to get data on celebrities.

    April 8, 2003
    By Wendy Thermos, Times Staff Writer

    For six years, Officer Kelly Chrisman used Los Angeles Police Department computers to look up confidential law enforcement records on celebrities and other high-profile people, including Sharon Stone, Courteney Cox Arquette, Sean Penn and Halle Berry.

    Chrisman says he was just carrying out orders from superiors, but a lawsuit recently settled by the city for nearly $400,000 alleged that the officer had accessed the records to sell the information to tabloids.

    Now Los Angeles officials are assessing the city's potential liability.

    According to internal LAPD documents, between 1994 and 2000 Chrisman tapped computer files on scores of celebrities, including Meg Ryan, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson, Larry King, Drew Barrymore, Dionne Warwick, Farrah Fawcett, Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson and Berry Gordy.

    [Shamlessly copied from techtv]

    [] ,2 3008,3387549,00.html
    Top 10 List of Police Database Abuses

    Law enforcement officers are supposed to protect and serve, but some cops misuse police databases to get dates and more.

    By James Hamilton, Web producer
    Printer-friendly format
    Email this story

    Your address, telephone number, Social Security number, date of birth, criminal record -- all this data and more can be accessed by police officers if they have basic information about you. Some cops, however, use their database access for less-than-honorable reasons. This week on "CyberCrime" we show you how some cops used police databases to harass exes and even get telephone numbers of women they see in cars.

    These abuses happen in law enforcement departments around the world. Here's 10 stories about cops who have abused their information privileges in police departments in Michigan, California, Ohio, and even as far away as Australia.

    Cop Suspected of Using Database to Plan Murder of Ex-wife

    A State Police detective whose estranged wife was shot dead at a Michigan zoo admitted using the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) to check on his wife and her acquaintances, according to Lansing police search warrant requests. Although the detective is not suspected of pulling the trigger, the Lansing, Michigan, police department says it believes he knows who shot his wife a month after she filed for divorce. Read the story.

    Rookie Cop Checks on 'Potential Girlfriends': 6,900 Database Searches in Only Two Months

    An Australian constable new to the beat used the police database to check on potential girlfriends. In just over two months the then 20-year-old policeman performed an unprecedented 6,900 searches on the police database. The counsel assisting the case says that of those 6,900 searches at least 300 weren't connected to official duties. Read the story.

    FBI Files Sold to Mob and International Criminals by Nevada Attorney General's Office Employee and Former FBI Agent

    Dubbed the "Secrets for Sale Scandal" by the Las Vegas media, an attorney general's office worker and a former FBI agent we
  • It seeks to record every bit of information that can be had, index it by name, or SSN, or even location, and make the database searchable.

    Huh? I have never heard of a database that was not searchable. I have run across a few that were real messes, but all were searchable even if the person inputing the data messed it all up (still searchable, just not too useable).

    According to the spec above, both the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue 'Service' have existing databases that meet th
  • Double-Edged (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetSettler ( 460623 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:26PM (#6000067) Homepage Journal
    The more we centralize things, the more vulnerable we are to a single point of failure with absolutely catastrophic consequences.

    Historically, the core value behind the second amendment was not the right to go deer hunting, but the idea that we needed to reserve to the states and to the people enough power to protect itself if the federal government seemed overpowerful or out of control.

    As information becomes more and more literally a form of armament in modern society, perhaps we need to ask the Supreme Court to start to construe control of information as covered under the second amendment, and to say that the unfettered protection of private information by the states and by individuals is Constitutionally protected. I've seen the courts look to the 4th and then 9th amendments for privacy protection, and having trouble finding it. Maybe they're just looking in the wrong place.
  • OK... lets see, you need an ID for each Event, and event type, a "person", a time and place, lat/long, and an ability to "string" events together (so you can do Ogg packets for audio) (all Id's being 128bit unqiue id's) [EventID][EventTypeID][PERSONGUID][timestamp][lat / long][Data segment] [Datasegment] may also include [REFERNCES EventID] Comes out to about 64 bytes+ your data segment (which is interpreted based on the EventTypeID... lets guess each "packet" is about 1k with this header, you'd be lookin
  • I'm sure glad the second article made the all-important Library of Congress comparison! Otherwise, I would have been totally lost. I mean, 900,000,000 is way too big to understand, but 50 * 18,000,000 makes it much easier.
  • Mao, Stalin or Hitler would weep with joy at the thought of such complete and total control over the individual. And make no mistake about it, in order to have complete control over each and every one of us it is necessary to have knowledge. Knowledge really is power and total knowledge of every aspect of your life is an important step in the governments ability to completely control you. Those civil liberties or those freedoms you thought belonged to you will eventually be crushed under the weight of the governments need to know. The Patriot Act, Total Information Awareness, Lifelog- welcome to your 1984/Brave New World.
  • new? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mgs1000 ( 583340 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:32PM (#6000117) Journal
    Haven't Experian and all those other credit report asswipes been doing this for years?
  • Solution. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:32PM (#6000118)
    Step 1. Create universe U. Return U.

    The resultant data structure, U, contains all available state information indexed by location of each particle in the universe, hence comprising "every bit of information that can be had" within the scope of U. (Attempting to reference a variable outside of its scope is generally not permitted, and is definitely poor programming practice, so information outside the scope of U is not considered.)

    The algorithm for searching this data structure is left as an exercise to the reader. Bonus points will be awarded for devising an algorithm that requires minimum time (sorting the data beforehand is permitted).

  • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:32PM (#6000121) Journal
    This sure would make job interviews a lot easier.
  • by higgins ( 100638 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:34PM (#6000130)
    I think MIT developed something along these lines a long time ago. (Here's a link [].) The idea was not to empower the government, but to provide a sort of Super PDA for the individual. Oddly enough, I think it uses Emacs.

    Another interesting system was Gelernter's LifeStreams [], which time-indexed everything...

    Of course, half the world seems to be blogging all the time [] anyway, which tend to be weak on the indexing and searching, but provide a nice low barrier-to-entry for inputting all kinds of trivial crap about one's life.

    It's not necessarily entirely about dystopian government power ;-)
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:34PM (#6000132)
    to describe how EVIL these people are.
    They make SATAN look like Mr. Rogers.

    I hope that someone puts not only a stop to this now, but puts an end to this reign of digital terror.

    This can not be allowed to continue.
    George Orwell was pretty much right, but he underestimated the depths that this would sink to.

    I am currently researching the state of affairs in other countries because I just can not live in a country where you are a piece of meat.

    You are born to be a good little consumer. You may not question the party line. You slave away to generate revenue for the state so that the state can grow more powerful. ALL of your income goes towards purchasing disposable crap and taxes.

    You are not allowed to own anything that will last long enough to pass on to your kids. And when you die, the state takes most of your income in inheritence taxes.

    Can you say "coppertop" ????

  • by X_Bones ( 93097 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:36PM (#6000143) Homepage Journal
    "The technology could allow the military to develop computerized assistants for war fighters and commanders that can be more effective because they can easily access the user's past experiences," DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker speculated in an e-mail.
    It also could allow the military to develop more efficient computerized training systems, she said: Computers could remember how each student learns and interacts with the training system, then tailor the lessons accordingly.

    Fine. So limit its scope to include only those enlisted in the military. I see no reason whatsoever for anyone at all, much less the Pentagon, to have a record of everything I've ever bought or everyone I've ever emailed or called on a phone.
  • by Walter Wart ( 181556 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:38PM (#6000158) Homepage
    Demographers can already do amazing things with small amounts of data. I once talked with one who was able to tell me a lot about my hobbies, my political beliefs, religion and personal life based on three or four simple questions about alcohol, music, and color preferences.

    Intelligence analysis (the military sort) is based on getting all sorts of data down to the pictures in a wallet and making connections.

    What they are doing here is automating the process and feeding it all the data about everyone. There has been some talk here about the enormous amounts of processing power, the huge databases and whatnot making it impossible. I'm not so confident. The data don't have to all be available at once. Just as long as they can be accessed and processed eventually.

    When they are combined and the patterns teased out (which the above-mentioned disciplines already do very well) you can get a pretty accurate picture of the person. And know what sort of things that person likes or dislikes. Whom they are likely to associate with. Political leanings. Mental stability. And so on.

    Not only privacy but free will are at risk. The propaganda or the interrogation techniques or so on can be individually and automatically tailored to you personally. In advance. And they will almost certainly work.

    You can even tell a lot by lack of data. There will be patterns that people who tend not to show up much in the databases will fall into. What things they are hiding. Transactions that they are trying to hide. Likely associates. With so many data the lack of information is itself information. Sort of like the soldier whose military records consist of a rank, an entrance date, and a discharge date. You KNOW he was doing special operations and was probably on loan to Three Letter Agencies.
    • I once talked with one who was able to tell me a lot about my hobbies, my political beliefs, religion and personal life based on three or four simple questions about alcohol, music, and color preferences.

      Wow. Fascinating. What were the questions? Is there a web page I could browse? Or is this a demographer's state secret?

      This could be better than "What's your sign?" for gathering information about people. :)
  • Like any tool, this is not, it itself, bad. This could be useful in criminal investigations. Say it is found that someone was planning a terrorist attack. This could be used to find if anyone else was in on it.

    The key here, is that you couldn't look up someone's information in this unless you have a warrant or something like that. This would be a great tool but could have great abuse. We just need to find a balance.
  • What if... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by halepark ( 578694 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:39PM (#6000167)
    ...I don't WANT to remember that crazy bitch I went out with 2 years ago?!?
  • My Solution (Score:3, Funny)

    by Waab ( 620192 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:40PM (#6000171) Homepage

    Once you get past the amount of storage space something like this would require, the next big hurdle seems to be actually gathering the information. Some of it can be had through traditional spying methods, but that security camera can't tell how I feel. The only real solution is self-reporting.

    To that end, I submit my proposal...
    Universal Mandatory Blogging

  • Before you say that nobody would ever build something as purely evil as the system in question, think about this: Somebody writes the spamming software.
  • by macshune ( 628296 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:41PM (#6000186) Journal
    This should be one of the first queries:
    $sth = $dbh-> prepare({SELECT from tblAll WHERE status="immigrant"});
    @val = $sth->fetchrow_array();
    • This should be one of the first queries:
      $sth = $dbh-> prepare({SELECT from tblAll WHERE colorexecute();
      @val = $sth->fetchrow_array();
  • What can I say? After reading the articles on LifeLog and the one on Total Information Awareness (TIA) I'd have to say that I am in disbelief. How the former of these two ideas got as far as it did, even though it doesn't seem to be far it all is hard to believe. TIA has already been heavily criticized and a quote from the article said that LifeLog may be "TIA cubed." Well what I say to that is:

    TIA^3 = (1984)^2

    Yes, indeed. The society depicted Orwell's "1984" didn't even go this far. They didn't try t

    • How would they backup such a monstrous amount of data anyhow? If the place housing the data goes away, what would happen to the data? the only way i can think of backing it up is to have a huge offsite backup drive farm. i don't think tapes would be an option.
  • Awesome! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jeppe Salvesen ( 101622 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:41PM (#6000190)
    I want access to my own data. No more forgetting faces and names! Wouldn't that totally rock? And go to the bathroom to get a playback of what the chick told you the last time, so that you can fake caring? Yay!
  • by jamesmartinluther ( 267743 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:43PM (#6000210) Homepage
    Every information-rich modern convenience will be used by government agencies to protect us from threats and to enforce laws. Its why we hired them, right? As big as the U.S. gov looks, we pay it to do what it does.

    We can use our votes to try to limit or shape government, or put our trust and support in advocacy orgs like the EFF. Ultimately, through, it is up to citizens to protect their own data if they feel uncomfortable with the gov knowing what you do every day.

    What the gov is collecting together now has been collected and thoroughly analyzed by corporations for years.

    - JML
  • have a life, you insensitive clod!
  • I Can See it Now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:47PM (#6000236) Homepage
    The year: 2045. A grandfather, not long for this world, is handing over the family server to his children.

    "Son, this here Petabyte array is the digital recording of my entire life. I've been building it, expanding it, adding to it and migrating data onto it since 1996, when it started out as a single 200Mb disk in a Win95 box running dbaseII. Thankfully it survived those dark days, those hard times. Now, it contains every digital photo I've ever took, every file I've ever downloaded, every mp3, avi, and mov I have seen. The entire family financial history in on there, including the papers from when William almost had to file for chapter 11 protection in 2021. All your baby pictures, all my grandchildren's schoolwork are stored in the hierarchy somewhere, those I've recently reviewed on are fresh on disk, those I haven't seen in 20 years are archived in the tape library. Every plane flight booked, every libraray book checked out, every speeding ticket, it's all there. Now, Son, I give you the key to the tape library and the root password. Promise me you won't let the UPS batteries fail, and check the RAMArray for cell errors periodically. If you do these things diligently, may your life's image merge into the family database tree, and when the time comes you will join me in cyberspace as your children tend the server farm. Bless you.

  • A global dating service!

    "Miss Johnson? The is the Pentagon. We have found your soul mate. Mr. Hussein will be arriving at your home soon to start the beginning of a beautiful relationship. As our service was a match or don't pay system, we will be billing your Visa card $125,400.00. Thank you for your business."

  • Revelation (Score:5, Funny)

    by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:56PM (#6000317) Homepage Journal
    Here's a story on wired about a Pentagon project called LifeLog. It seeks to record every bit of information that can be had...

    So that's what the iLoo was for!

    Gives the concept of "tracking the movements of every American" a whole new meaning...
  • by saintjab ( 668572 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:59PM (#6000331) Homepage Journal
    This is absolutely startling! Why would such a project even exist? This is simply a tool for spying on society. There would only be limited benefit (real world benefits) to a database like this; and it would only benefit the most corrupt segment of our society; the government. Judging by how the government has leveraged this sort of data in the past I would say this is moreover a tool to help incarcerate more people for ever smaller infractions. There would be no anonymity from your own government and that is not healthy to any segment of society. I would gladly waive my American citizenship if it came with the caveat that my entire life would be documented. I enjoy being and American for its freedoms. This stomps on that freedom from every angle!
  • I realise this is probably brought on by a big long debate on The Matrix, but does this not seem like a really useful first step to designing a Matrix-like system? Set something up so that everyone's life details are tracked in minute detail for later use. Like, in a big global simulation of the planet?


  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:02PM (#6000364) Journal
    It was the #1 season pass on Tivo, don't ya know.
  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:06PM (#6000391)
    Until people get used to it, and then they make it so in order to apply for any job, you are required to sign a release form waiving your right to privacy, similar to the way companies can require drug testing today.

    I can hear the speeches now, "If the government is aware of a risk in a potential employee, perhaps one that could present a dangerous situation to the other workers in the company, how can we not allow employers to ensure the safety of their employees by conducting a background test?"

    Next thing you know, everyone gets an email telling them about the new condition in their work contract, and your boss is asking you into his office wondering why you recently bought a copy of "Resume Writing for Dummies."

    And don't worry kids, it will remain confidental, just like the results of your drug test are confidental today.
  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:07PM (#6000400)
    Geez, it seems like every story that shows up under the "Your Rights Online" should really be under the category of "No Rights Online." (And the "Online" part is really moot, except that it makes a way to connect the topics to the tech-news theme.)
  • by dogfart ( 601976 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:09PM (#6000418) Homepage Journal
    Instead of the Pentagon having all the information on citizens' secrets, why not let citizens have access to all the Pentagon's secrets?

    Instead of me having to justify my life to the military, let the military justify everything it does to me (and all other US citizens).

    Information is power. When the government has all information about its citizens, we have tyranny. When citizens have all information about the government, we have democracy.

    What, you say? Then citizens will have access government secrets, and could harm our military defense by handing them over to our enemies. Well, I don't suppose the government (or some government official) would EVER hand over details of our life to people who want to harm us?

    or, you might say ordinary citizens just aren't qualified to make decisions about national defense. These matters should be decided in secret, by qualified experts. Well, who has decided the Pentagon is qualified to judge my life? What gives the government the expertise to make decisions based on a database of individual's actions? After all this must be their intents for this information, they wouldn't just hoard it for the sake of having it?

  • Ted Nelson already writes down and records everything, for fear of forgetting things or losing his train of thought.

    Imagine having a record of everything after your next traffic stop, or when you just can't recall why you wrote that piece of code that way. Tempting, if only there were some way to guarantee that you'd keep control of the information.

    There's a problem besides the risk of governments misusing the information you gather. What if people need to forget? Spider Robinson pointed this out in one o
  • by Etyenne ( 4915 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:31PM (#6000655)
    I have always been annoyed by data harvesting, either from the private sector (credit report, etc) or by the governement (this Life thingy, Echelon, etc). It is pretty much granted that this trend will not revert since the public is apathic and legislators (governements) have a vested interest in these mega DB. Unless you live like an hermit thousands of miles from civilization, it is almost guaranteed that your personnal data will be collected somehow. The only way I can think to fight back (beside complaining to legislator, which have a razor thin chance of changing something) is to somehow find a way to inject bogus data in these collection systems, thus making the whole DB less accurate and reliable. So far, I have not come up with an efficient and legal way to do that. Certainly, there is somebody smarter than I that have tought about it. So, what is your way of fighting back ?
  • by egburr ( 141740 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:56PM (#6000982) Homepage
    • everyone who has data about them in the system also has unrestricted access to the system, and
    • all data in the system is available to any user, and
    • I can obtain, at will, a list of recent inquiries (and who performed them) about me and my data, and
    • there is a working method to get data corrected in a timely manner, or ar least to mark data that is in dispute,
    then and only then do I have no problem with this.
  • by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:16PM (#6001181)
    All Eggs.
    One Basket.
    Enough said.

  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:49PM (#6001555) Journal
    It's very simple - just three easy steps:

    1) Build this kind of database. (very very bad!)

    2) Built it using MySQL and Linux (very very good!)

    3) Watch slashdotters flame each other in a bid for "most posts ever".
  • News Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:57PM (#6001624)
    Today Millions of Slashdot Readers Cried Their Outrage at Yet Another Step Toward 1984, and Promptly did Nothing About It.

    Please folks, spare us the histrionics. This stuff is happening because you refuse to do anything real about it. You refuse to go on strike, go to protests, contribute to the EFF or other civil liberties organizations, write letters, vote with your wallets, or even vote. As a wise man once said, "It's put up or shut up time."

    The truth is, it's not just soldiers who defend freedom, but each and every one of us every day. If you want to be free, you have to stand up and fight for it.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet