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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 noahmax ( 534339 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:18PM (#5999979) Homepage
    At Defense Tech [defensetech.org], there's more on LifeLog -- including the history of such programs, and similar efforts in the private sector.


  • Unconstitutional! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @02:25PM (#6000045)
    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...]

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-celebs8apr 08,1,1932749.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dcaliforni a [latimes.com]

    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]

    http://www.techtv.com/cybercrime/privacy/story/0 ,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
  • 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 [agentland.com].) 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 [yale.edu], which time-indexed everything...

    Of course, half the world seems to be blogging all the time [livejournal.com] 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 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
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:11PM (#6000437)

    So it's 1933 and you're Chancellor of a struggling European country and you want to round up a bunch of Communists.

    Finding them all is going to be a chore. Wouldn't a LifeLog be helpful?

    As for checks and balances, you've enacted the patriotic Enabling Law, which allows you to legally ignore what the rest of the government has to say.

    Of course, such a law could never* [eff.org] pass here, right?

    * "On October 26, 2001, President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act (USAPA) into law. With this law we have given sweeping new powers to both domestic law enforcement and international intelligence agencies and have eliminated the checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that these powers were not abused. Most of these checks and balances were put into place after previous misuse of surveillance powers by these agencies, including the revelation in 1974 that the FBI and foreign intelligence agencies had spied on over 10,000 U.S. citizens, including Martin Luther King."

  • by qon ( 445909 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:53PM (#6000952) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Heh. You have no idea what you're talking about. From DARPA's own TIA page [darpa.mil]:

    The goal of the Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) program is to revolutionize the ability of the United States to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists - and decipher their plans - and thereby enable the U.S. to take timely action to successfully preempt and defeat terrorist acts.

    I also urge you to read question 5 from the FAQ [darpa.mil]:

    Is DARPA developng a domestic surveillance capability to create dossiers on each and every American?

    No. The goal of the TIA program is to develop information technologies that will provide important capabilities to detect foreign terrorist threats before they attack Americans.

    So DARPA specifically denies your assertion. Now you may think DARPA is lying... But lacking proof, you might as well joing the Area 51/cattle mutilation crowd. Assuming you haven't already.


  • parallel universe... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:55PM (#6000966)
    ... parallel but different, and I want to move to your universe. This one here, whenever ANY government has granted itself more rights,taking them away from "the people", they have NEVER given them up. Really, this "creeping incrementalism" deal doesn't exist? Do you have any limits you think the government shouldn't cross? Where is this crap going to end, as long as they throw the word "terrorist" at whatever they do, that is some sort of magical "do anything you want to" law I seemed to have missed? The word "total" in TIA has meaning, yes? As in "all of it, complete". Do you think these guys are going to stop at some point, given their past track record and what is happening now? You think it won't get to the point of forced implantable tracking ID chips? Cameras everyplace, including your home? Basically, everything you freeking do being available in a database?

    I see NO limits to what these people are proposing and implementing,you can clearly read what they want and have "granted" themselves, with a tame federal court system and a "supreme" court that rubber stamps almost every big brother move, and I DOUBT many people "voted" for the level of command and control and surveillance that is happening now, let alone what all these new plans are.

    And to clarify a little of this "terrorist" nonsense, here's some links for you to peruse.

    Prior knowledge, 9-11 [propagandamatrix.com]

    Inforwars, archive [infowars.com]

    Joe government is a liar and bungler and a crook. Everything these guys especially target and declare a "war" on just wastes money, gets corrupt, and doesn't fix any problems, and usually creates more problems. "War on poverty", "war on drugs". Well, we got as much poverty as we ever had, and the "war on some drugs" is a total failure, costs mega billions, put huge numbers of people in prison, and there's more drugs and corruption and crime then when nixon started it way back when. It's a scam. Mena arkansas ring a bell? Government planes, cash, tons of snow being imported by people getting a government check, plus the cash they make on the side??? Ollie north, george bush senior, bill clinton, iran/contra? Money laundering, BCCI bank, high level named fatcats involved? Ever hear of those things? And now they announce this open ended hundred years vague war on "terror". uh huh. By the way, latest figures, what a coincidence, since the US took over ashcanistan in round one of "war on terror" it went from a low of 80 something tons of opium when the taliban agreed to eliminate it, (estimated produced) to now it's at all time record levels, maybe up to 4,000 tons, with the US being "in control". No, I don't like the taliban, but the other is true, too. They agreed to eliminate it, and did, close to all of it.

    Surprised hell out of some spooks and government and banking fatcats who were making truckloads of cash off of it. Losing 100 to 200 billion a year black market cash sure seemed to upset somebody.

    Maybe this government got some of the people conned, but other people, it doesn't.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.