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What's Your Terrorism Quotient? 1076

unassimilatible writes "From the Department of Pre-Crime, the AP reports: before helping to launch the criminal information project known as Matrix (Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange), a database contractor gave U.S. and Florida authorities the names of 120,000 people who showed a statistical likelihood of being terrorists - sparking some investigations and arrests. The 'high terrorism factor' scoring system also became a key selling point for the involvement of the database company, Seisint Inc., in the Matrix project. According to Seisint's presentation, dated January 2003 and marked confidential, the 120,000 names with the highest scores were given to the INS, FBI, Secret Service and Florida state police. Seisint and the law enforcement officials who oversee Matrix insist that the terrorism scoring system ultimately was kept out of the project, largely because of privacy concerns."
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What's Your Terrorism Quotient?

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  • Fuck you America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:46AM (#9215045)
    I'm 24 years old. I don't want to go through the next 50 years of my life living in an international air of worry and uncertainty. I don't want to live in a permanent state of fear, generated by a megalomaniacal American government taking advantage of the majority low IQ populous' capacity for being brainwashed.

    I don't want to live like Israel, fighting militant Muslims round every corner. The problem of Muslim extremists exists and needs to be dealt with, not encouraged by invading innocent countries and waging war on people who have done nothing to deserve it. I want my children to grow up in a world free from military oppression and I want a government that understands that the wars of the future are guerrilla ones which can never be won, even if they are waged for noble purposes (which theirs never are).

    The world is fu*cked up enough as it is. The food chain has been poisoned so badly the average human is full of chemicals normally found in plastics and toxic waste. I'm sick of global warning and environmental damage to the planet and the fact the all this time the greenies were right. I'm sick of America being the biggest wilful contributor to the pollution of the planet.

    I'm sick of an American school system that produces children who are brought up to believe that America IS the world and anything that goes on outside is irrelevant. Children so stupid they think America invented the Internet, computer, motor car, light bulb, telephone etc ad infinitum....

    The Internet or it's successor is the future of entertainment and I'm sick of stupid low IQ, ignorant Americans infecting every corner of it with their insular, jingoistic mindsets, their whiny voices and manifestations of their low self esteem driven by the fact that despite it being their turn as the world's super power, no one actually takes them seriously or gives them the respect that the British or the Ancient Greeks got because a superpower best known for producing mass produced crap is never going to get the respect that one who gave the world Shakespeare, culture, philosophy or mathematics will get.

    I'm sick of hypocrisy and two facedness. I'm sick of Gangsta Rap and hamburgers, Political Correctness and TV programmes that begin with 'When' and end in 'go bad and attack people'. I'm sick of reality TV and I'm sick of news programmes that are more censored than accurate. I'm sick of tokens, token minorities, token universities, token degrees, token attempts at the truth, tokens. I'm sick of fat people, ugly people, stupid people, gay people, coloured people, female people, whiny people all complaining they don't have the opportunities in life they would like and it must be someone else's fault. I'm sick of women that act like men and femininity being a crime, unless you're a man in which case you're a new man which nobody ever wanted because there was nothing wrong with the old one. I'm sick of people falling over and suing the ground and people watching nipples and suing the TV and I'm sick of coffee cups with 'don't pour over yourself, you may get burnt' on the side to try and counter this.

    I'm sick of stupid Americans who don't know the difference between patriotism and jingoism and who think flag waving should be an Olympic event. I'm sick of Americans who cry that people hate them or are jealous of them or who are anti them because someone dares to point out that the America they've been programmed to believe in from birth bears no relation to the one that exists in real life.
    • by nfgaida ( 68606 )
      You'll probably be modded down, but I agree.

      I want an America that isn't full of easily amused idiots watching crap on TV.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:02AM (#9215314)
        I want an America that isn't full of easily amused idiots watching crap on TV.

        Yeah? Well, I want an America full of nymphomaniac supermodels who own breweries. Deal.
      • by Dirk Pitt ( 90561 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:47AM (#9215966) Homepage
        This actually raises an interesting point that most Americans don't even understand, let alone the rest of the world.

        Programming in America is determined by the *statistical* success of the programming, as described by the dominent Nielsen Media Research.

        Nielsen chooses a number of households that report their television viewing habits. From this sample, they extrapolate viewing habits. If the news says that 40 million watched the superbowl in the US, it's really saying that Nielsen judged that 40 million watched the superbowl based on a sample of less than 1% of the US population.

        What makes this extremely inaccurate is the process that's used to choose a 'Nielsen Family'. They do choose the households at random to attempt to make things statistically accurate, but no one is obligated to become a Nielsen reporter. It's a cumbersome duty with no reward. At the very least the family must keep a complete diary of their viewing habits, at worst they must have their house wired with equipment that electronically scope what they're watching.

        Who would do such a thing, you ask? Complete and utter losers. People that feel they have no voice; the uneducated; the elderly; etc, etc. I'm sure some /. readers are Nielsen Family members, and I'll say now that there exceptions to the rules, normal people that do this. The ratings do show that 'high brow' TV does get watched But you can bet that the technically-oriented, educated, well-read television viewer has little proportional impact on the Nielsen ratings.

        I'll give one good recent example. Futurama and The Family Guy had terrible ratings on Fox. After the shows were cancelled, they were released on DVD. They're post-cancellation sales have been through the roof; very disproportionate to the ratings. So they're bringing at least one of those shows back -- but how will they sell advertising when the Nielsen's will still reflect low-brow ratings?

        One more thing -- the oh-so-annoying 'watermarked' station ID now so popular? It's for Nielsen idiots that never write the correct station down. Basically, if a Nielsen viewer writes down that they watched Friends on Fox, that datum is invalidated. So stations have to accomodate the drooling fools that don't even know what they're tuned in to.

        So don't for a second believe that the programming being offered in the US reflects 'typical' American viewing habits. Unfortunately, it's typically the mouth-breathers that dictate our long-running programmming. (aside -- I would dearly love to see how different Tivo's national statistics are from the Nielsens; I'd wager that they look like they judge two entirely different populations, which they probably do)

        • Re:Fuck you America (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @01:24PM (#9217596)
          My girlfriend and I were asked to take part in the Nielsen TV survey. They give you $5 or $10 to participate (no big deal, but it it is at least somewhat of a "reward"). The other interesting thing is that you can tell them how many TVs you have in your house. They give you one diary for each of these. I said 5 so they sent us diarys. She watches The Daily Show, South Park, Chapelle Show, BBC News and I watch Adult Swim (I work until 12:30 AM).

          Saying that only complete losers take part is pretty short sighted. I never feel like a loser when I take part in a survey. It's not like the people go out and seek to be a part of the survey because they feel like they need to be heard. We are just the sort of people that will listen to a person conducting a survey and to help in the study. Insightfull my ass. If you think that most of the people are uneducated and eldery you must not understand how random samples work.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:04AM (#9215337) Journal
      Man, there are gonna be a lot of mod points wasted on this one. Already 4, and it's only at +1. hehe

      BTW, there's nothing wrong with gangsta rap. It's R&B that's really bad.
    • Re:Fuck you America (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:04AM (#9215343)
      I agree, but it looked familiar so I googled for it.. There is a copy at least here [i-depth.com], which looks like a copy/repost itself.
    • by raider_red ( 156642 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:06AM (#9215368) Journal
      I think your only valid option may be suicide. If you don't want to worry about anything, it might be best just to end it now. As an alternative, try focusing on what's importan to you, and making your part of the world better. Am I afraid of terrorists? No. Do I keep my eyes open to make sure no one's parking moving trucks in strange locations or wearing heavy winter coats in the middle of Texas in summertime. Sure I do.
      • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @05:32PM (#9220528) Homepage
        Do I keep my eyes open to make sure no one's parking moving trucks in strange locations or wearing heavy winter coats in the middle of Texas in summertime. Sure I do.


        Do you keep an eye on your government to make sure it isn't screwing up its foreign policy so badly that years of more terrorism will be the inevitable result?

    • by Mukaikubo ( 724906 ) <{ude.hcetag.msirp} {ta} {b034gtg}> on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:07AM (#9215382) Journal
      Oh dear, oh dear. Let me see.

      Firstly, as you say, yes; the problem of Muslim extremists does exist, and does have to be dealt with. However, you earlier claimed that the atmosphere of fear (I won't say terror) is being created by the US government. I would make the case to you that the atmosphere of fear was created on September 11th, that it sent very large and very real ripples through the very social fabric of the country, and even with no government prompting and no further attacks, will take decades to get back to 2000 normal.

      Then you claim that the greenies were right all along. Well, not precisely. They've been right on some things, wrong on others, just like every other group out there. Global cooling, anyone?

      As for the rest of it, I was going to go point by point, but I realized you were indulging yourself in a masturbatory elitist rant against the stoopid masses. Which are, quite frankly, a dime a dozen on this site, on Fark, on just about any forum you care to name. It IS being said, unlike the earlier replies, and it is being said ad nauseum. If you don't have anything new to contribute, this post is basically a 7-paragraph "Me Too!"

      My suggestion? Learn that popular doesn't mean stupid.
      • by gnu-generation-one ( 717590 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:03PM (#9218165) Homepage
        "I would make the case to you that the atmosphere of fear was created on September 11th"

        Ok, but by who, and why?

        We know there was a government waiting for an opportunity to wage war, waiting for a spark which they could use to justify it.

        We know that most people received news of this event through the TV stations. We know that the TV coverage was extremely biased, and often inaccurate. (this for news after the event, not on the day)

        Also, much of the information available to people after that came from the US government. Most of what people hear or remember came from their president. Indeed, many of the people interviewed on TV were either soldiers or government, and often this wasn't pointed-out by the shows doing the interviewing. See fair.org for some more analysis of that.

        So while the event itself might have been distressing, the "climate of fear" is more likely to have been caused by the constant television coverage in the last 3 years detailing exactly what people should be terrified of, and how afraid they should feel.

        What other actual events (as opposed to news stories) have induced a climate of terror? Stories have either been (a) about the government "you must be terrified because we're going to make a law to keep you safe", or (b) referring to Sept11th itself "post-9/11...". Neither of these refers to an actual event, they cause a climate of fear which would not otherwise exist, and arguably doesn't need to exist.

        And what's happened since then? Routine arrests of troublemakers have been shown as "potential terrorist attacks", anything loosely related to terrorism has been reported at length, and of course, there's news of the two wars. And we don't confuse casualties in war with acts of terrorism. The most real fear we've seen was caused by one guy shooting people in washington, and nothing to do with 9/11. How come gun-owners aren't creating a "climate of fear"? Maybe because the television isn't telling the population to panic about that.

        In the UK recently, a bag of flour was thrown at the prime minster at work. It was reported in the newspapers as a "bomb hoax that could have killed everyone in the building". With reporting like that, who needs terrorists?
    • Re:Fuck you America (Score:5, Informative)

      by loyalsonofrutgers ( 736778 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:10AM (#9215413)
      This is a troll and/or flamebait. Regardless of whether you agree with its contents or not. Someone, or multiple someones, are just reposting it wherever they damn well feel like it.

      For instance, it was also posted in the story about Intel's patent problems (here [slashdot.org]).

      It's probably ripped off from somewhere else by someone looking to stir up trouble or artificially inflate their own ego by watching some post of theirs to slashdot get modded up. I'd suggest modding it down just for the fact that its most likely ripped off from somewhere and blanket posted wherever the AC thinks he can score up a few mod points. He just got lucky with this story, don't give him the satisfaction.
    • I CALL PLAGARISM (Score:5, Informative)

      by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:11AM (#9215428)
      here [i-depth.com]
    • by JDevers ( 83155 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:40AM (#9215864)
      I agree with your sentiment, HOWEVER, the US DID invent or atleast significantly develop a decent number of the products you describe.

      Internet: grew out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency->ARPANET. The two most significant dates are 1969 when it was started and 1983 when the system was switched from NCP to TCP/IP. Other important work to our modern Internet was conducted by the NSF, NSFnet, based around connecting university campuses.

      Computer: The computer is an evolved version of something which has existed for some time and is based on numerous contributions. Modern digital computing though can be said to be based on a handful of significant inventions and ideas. The most important of these ideas are von Neumann architecture, based on work done by John von Neumann a Hungarian-American who did the majority of his most important work at Princeton. The most important inventions where transistors (invented by Bell Labs in 1947), integrated circuits (conceived of by Britain's Geoffrey W.A. Dummer in 1952 but not successfully constructed until 1958 by Jack Kilby of TI and made into a useful device in 1962 by Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor), and the microprocessor (first developed by Marcian Hoff while working at Intel).

      Motor Cars: The US definitely doesn't deserve recognition for inventing much of the early technology used in cars, however Oldsmobile was the first factory to use modern assembly line techniques which were later greatly improved by Henry Ford. So while we didn't invent, we played a moderately important role...plus I don't know if I've ever met anyone who thought we DID invent the car. As an aside, most people I've known credit Mercedes-Benz for this invention, and even though that isn't quite correct it is a lot closer to the truth since Daimler and Benz separately (at first) played a huge role in the development of the modern gasoline internal combustion engine.

      Modern light bulb: I'll give you this one. I believe that most American's credit Thomas Edison for this, but Heinrich Goebel or Joseph Swan (depending on what you define as the invention...) definitely deserve it. Edison actually did very little in this field, he invented a longer lasting filament but within a year or two Lewis Latimer improved significantly on Edison's filament.

      telephone: Antonia Meucci is probably the father of this invention, although what we think of as a telephone should probably be credited to Philipp Reis since he was actually able to transmit voice instead of just "make or break" type signals. Again though, I think a lot of American's credit Alexander Graham Bell for this invention.

      So in summary, American's basically invented the Internet, played a huge role in the evolution of the modern computer, and had smaller roles in the last three inventions. I'll agree that too many people credit this country with inventing these items, but to say that children are stupid for believing it when about half of it is CORRECT is a bit infantile. Actually you believe that the Internet and computers were invented somewhere else is just as faulty and you aren't a child.
  • Pizza (Score:4, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:47AM (#9215051)
    If your name is "Ben Louden", I'd be cautious about ordering a pizza! If you do, ask for LOTS of ham and other pork items on the pizza. That might help.
  • Preference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by martingunnarsson ( 590268 ) * <martin&snarl-up,com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:48AM (#9215078) Homepage
    I wonder what they prefer when they make a system like this, false positives or false negatives. It's like a spam filter, only it tries to separate the bad guys from the good ones.
    I prefer false negatives (spam messages that end up in my inbox) over false positives (real mail that end up in the bin) from my spam filter, but when you're dealing with humans it's a lot more serious.
    • Re:Preference (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:58AM (#9215247) Homepage Journal
      Better safe than sorry? Or better private than safe? Of course, such a statement would assume that this actually makes you "safer" - which continues to be debated.

      Personally, I would lean toward having false positives. You can always run the results against other databases and find better/best matches. With some additional fact-checking implementation, I think they could rule out some false positives. It may be horribly inconvenient to be hassled with an investigation, but if people do their jobs (with gov't folks, sometimes that's all you can hope for!) then clearing your name shouldn't be too bad.

      My biggest concern with this is that a false positive might be turned into a true positive if they consider certain things to be "terrorist activities" - like innocently providing information to someone who turns out to be a terrorist.
      • Re:Preference (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bigberk ( 547360 ) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:03AM (#9215321)
        Better safe than sorry? Or better private than safe?
        You would absolutely think, that in a country that values freedom and individuality so much that the government would give people a large margin of benefit of the doubt. Or is the whole "freedom" thing just a fiction? My textbooks still stay that Americans value freedom and free speech more than Canadians, for example... but you wonder.
        • Re:Preference (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ratamacue ( 593855 )
          My textbooks still stay that Americans value freedom and free speech more than Canadians

          You may be interested in this book [uvm.edu]. Not everything your textbooks say can be trusted, especially if those textbooks are meant for or approved by government schools ("public education" is the politically-correct term).

        • Re:Preference (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ozric99 ( 162412 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:49AM (#9215988) Journal
          My textbooks still stay that Americans value freedom and free speech more than Canadians, for example... but you wonder.

          This will probably be modded -1 Troll but at the risk of offending the USian mods, and as a Brit, I'd be interested in seeing some kind of checklist or score so that I can easily work out just how less free I am as a citizen of the UK compared to a citizen of the US.

          Why isn't it good enough to know you live in a free society? Why do we always hear how the US is "the most free". It's not a competition.
          Regardless.. mods do your worst ;)

        • by BlowChunx ( 168122 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:53AM (#9216044)
          My textbooks still stay that Americans value freedom and free speech more than Canadians...

          You sir, are correct. We Americans are prepared to pay a higher price for freedom than we are for Canandians. They smell like bacon.
      • Re:Preference (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:11AM (#9215435)

        Personally, I would lean toward having false positives. You can always run the results against other databases and find better/best matches. With some additional fact-checking implementation, I think they could rule out some false positives. It may be horribly inconvenient to be hassled with an investigation, but if people do their jobs (with gov't folks, sometimes that's all you can hope for!) then clearing your name shouldn't be too bad.


        So much for Innocent until Proven Guilty.

        You're making a huge assumption about "people doing their jobs". Just plain laziness, quotas, as well as simply trying to ruin someone for political reasons will all enter into this.
        • Re:Preference (Score:3, Insightful)

          So much for Innocent until Proven Guilty.

          They're not running out and arresting these people for showing up in the database, just potentially investigating them. While I agree with the privacy goal, it would be logically impossible to investigate only people that were proven guilty. You're simply gonna hafta investigate some false leads before you can press charges against someone (and then, the evidence against that person will become public).

        • Re:Preference (Score:3, Insightful)

          by corbettw ( 214229 )
          So much for Innocent until Proven Guilty.

          The gp was talking about false positives leading to investigations, not false positives leading to arrest and conviction. The former happens all the time, everytime someone is cleared of wrongdoing before the case gets to trial it's because, originally, there was a false positive pointing them out as the culprit to a crime.

          Though I do agree with you about the danger of politicizing investigations. Just look at Richard Jewel for an excellent example. The poor guy w
      • Re:Preference (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bear_phillips ( 165929 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:19AM (#9215546) Homepage
        It may be horribly inconvenient to be hassled with an investigation, but if people do their jobs (with gov't folks, sometimes that's all you can hope for!) then clearing your name shouldn't be too bad.

        Yep, they will only stick a few flouresent light tubes up your ass, make get naked in a pyramid, masturbate in front of people, attack you with dogs, put a sack over your head and threaten to electrocute you. Yep, clearing your name shouldn't be too bad./P

  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by ziggyboy ( 232080 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:49AM (#9215080)
    Minority Report meets the Matrix.
  • Relevant quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enlarge Your Penis ( 781779 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:49AM (#9215082)
    >>Seisint Inc., is a Boca Raton, Fla., company founded by a millionaire, Hank Asher, who stepped down from its board of directors last year after revelations of past ties to drug smugglers.

    Anyone care to guess one of the main sources of terrorist income?
    • Re:Relevant quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:53AM (#9215166)
      The US Government training and paying them to usurp "unfavorable" ruling parties.
    • Re:Relevant quote (Score:5, Informative)

      by proj_2501 ( 78149 ) <mkb@ele.uri.edu> on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#9215278) Journal
      where do terrorists get their money?

      if you buy gasoline, it may come from YOU
    • Re:Relevant quote (Score:4, Insightful)

      by XryanX ( 775412 ) <XryanX@earthlink . n et> on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:05AM (#9215348)
      Interesting point, but it does say past ties. One could argue that he's turned his life around, and is trying to make something worthwhile, although he's failed miserably from what I can tell of this system.

      If he used to be a drug smuggler, then perhaps he has some sort of inside knowledge, much the same way that law enforcement hires ex-criminals like Kevin Mitnick to catch others.
    • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:17AM (#9215522)
      Anyone care to guess one of the main sources of terrorist income?

      Donations from sympathetic Americans who think they're Irish?

    • by pherris ( 314792 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:28PM (#9216624) Homepage Journal
      Anyone care to guess one of the main sources of [a] terrorist['s] income?

      Depends on the terrorists. In the middle east it's oil, diamonds and some heroin. In South America for at least the FARC it's the greatly over inflated value of drugs caused by prohibition.

      If we end the WoD (war on drugs) by legalizing marijuana and making all other drugs available for prescription for maintance (with the execption of antibiotics) the price of drugs would bottom out. Heroin could be purchased from CVS for $5.00 a dose instead $100 off the street. Lower prices means the end of drugs partly funding bad things. The bonus would be a dramatic drop in property crimes. A few years ago in Bern, Switzerland they tried selling heroin directly to addicts for ~$4.50 per dose. Property crimes dropped by 60%.

      Without prohibition illegal drugs would cost 100th of their current price and would save the US over 15 billion dollars every year in law enforcement and prison costs. At least an extra 1 billion dollars a year would be made from the taxation of marijuana. BTW, studies in the Netherlands showed that drug use did not increase with an easing supply.

      The economic forces of prohibition fund a lot of bad things including terrorism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:49AM (#9215083)
    Judging by the title, I thought the article was going to tell us how to find out our score.

    "There is a 20% likelyhood of you blowing up a building this year. Have a nice day."
  • by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <infoNO@SPAMdevinmoore.com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:50AM (#9215112) Homepage Journal
    I'd be more interested to know how many people were entered into the system... isn't that pertinent here? I mean, if they only put in 120,000 and they all came back as terrorists, something's probably wrong. Is Osama in that list? Did it pick up anyone we already knew was a terrorist? Just hearing a number as high as 120,000 isn't surprising without more information about the number. Yes, I could RTFA, but with a summary that long, I would have expected at least the number polled to be in there.
  • by Alranor ( 472986 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:51AM (#9215117)
    who can refer to the USA as "The Land of the Free" while keeping a straight face.
    • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:58AM (#9215241)
      Yes. Lots of Americans still do. That's because - rather than comparing themselves with other first world countries - they compare themselves with places with oppressive regimes.

      The logic goes something like this: "Of course the USA is still the most free country in the world! Look at China and Syria!"

      • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:13AM (#9215468)
        The logic goes something like this: "Of course the USA is still the most free country in the world! Look at China and Syria!"

        It gets worse. Apparently America's claim to the moral high ground in Iraq is now 'Yes, but Saddam did even worse things in that prison!'

        I'm just hearing Squealer say 'Surely you do not want Jones to come back?'

  • by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <k4_pacificNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:51AM (#9215118) Homepage Journal
    OSDN announced today that the Slashdot Karma system will be integrated with the Terrorist Quotient database.

  • hilarious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:51AM (#9215128)
    sweet f'ing christ. do people not see similarities to the Red Scare [wikipedia.org] or McCarthyism? Are people really so dense?

    save me jeebus.

    • Re:hilarious (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cameroon ( 16395 )
      Yes, people really are that dense.

      (and: but i don't even believe in jeebus)
    • Re:hilarious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by anthonyclark ( 17109 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:00AM (#9215275)
      Most people care about the latest reality tv show. A great many of my Wife's co-workers didn't know about the Abu Ghraib photos, think we found WMDs and that 'about 100 or so' soldiers have died in Iraq.

      Yes, a large majority of people are either that dense or simply don't care.
      • Re:hilarious (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 ( 605297 )
        "80% of misinformed Americans get thier information from FOX news" [philly.com]

        It's not that people don't care as much as the media doesn't do it's job properly.
        =Smidge=
  • by southpolesammy ( 150094 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:52AM (#9215139) Journal
    Bomb, gas, crash, Afghanistan, airplane, fire, biowarfare, sarin, nuclear, Muqtada Al-Sadr, barbarism, CIA, Al-Qaida, terrorist, seize, drugs, fertilizer, kill, plot, chemical, RPG, bin Laden, canister, Iraq, plague, sniper, sleeper cell, C4, guerilla, Barbara Streisand
  • by justkarl ( 775856 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:54AM (#9215173)
    "But the ACLU is still, predictably, concerned."

    As they should be.
    120,000 people could be arrested this week-simply for being in a database. I think that 9/11 has simply turned our government against anyone who might come within a hundred miles of overthrowing it-even it's own citizens. Listen to Fear Factory's "Obsolete" and look for the not-too far off future.
    Think: this kind of thing, if your "quotient" was too high, could conceiveably prevent you from getting a job, or maybe a loan. I don't think this helps everyone. It's all a product of feelings of racism and vengeance.
  • Think about it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paranode ( 671698 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:54AM (#9215189)
    I'm sure all the tin-foil hats will come out of the woodworks about this. Seriously though, do you not expect the agency reponsible for anti-terrorism efforts to actually do its job well? If this could have stopped those planes from killing thousands of civilians, people would be screaming in outrage about how we didn't use it when we should have. The problem is this country (this world, really) is that everybody wants to be reactive and not proactive. This is especially true in the computer security field, as we all know.

    Everyone bitches and moans about systems like this that can prevent terrorist attacks, but then they make a huge stink about some memo from Richard Clarke that had next to nothing useful in it. Go figure.
    • Re:Think about it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:09AM (#9215402)
      "Seriously though, do you not expect the agency reponsible for anti-terrorism efforts to actually do its job well?"

      How is picking 120,000 people as potential terrorists based on some arbitrary algorithm "doing its job well"? Do you really think there are 120,000 terrorists in America? Do you really think that the government will do better to harass 120,000 people, most of whom are not terrorists, than to, say, infiltrate terrorist groups and find out who really, actually, is a terrorist?

      "If this could have stopped those planes from killing thousands of civilians, people would be screaming in outrage about how we didn't use it when we should have"

      Once the terrorists know how the system works they can easily avoid being spotted: and the government will be too busy chasing those 120,000 non-terrorists to do anything about the real ones. This is the most basic and obvious flaw of any such arbitrary flagging scheme... anyone who knows the algorithm knows how _not_ to get flagged.
  • by SmackCrackandPot ( 641205 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:56AM (#9215208)
    There was a soccer-mom/admin in our work who had the first name Marsha and the surname started with an 'H'.
    She would get all these weird Middle-Eastern newsletters spammed to her work account. I bet she's probably made to the dodgy persons list.
  • by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:59AM (#9215251) Homepage
    Agnostic : ---------------
    Democrat : +
    Male : ++
    Moderate : -------
    Young : ++
    Yuppie : ---------
    White : --------------------

    <i>I'll</i> be fine, but thanks for asking.
  • This company is EVIL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foolinator ( 611098 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#9215279)
    Google this:
    1) This company was started by a drug running felon with ties to the Bush's
    2) Read the Contract between Seisint and the Florida Goverment with the MATRIX
    3) This company is very, very late with their software project - using terrorism as means to drag it out.
    4) 120,000 terrorists in the US? C'mon! Has ANYONE on /. ever met a "terrorist"?
    5) 3.2 billion dollars a year goes toward "cyber security".

    After reading all this, I get soooo disgusted.. I mean, this is SICK!!! How much money is wasted? How the hell do I get a piece of terrorist pie?! Millions of dollars have been lost and never gone to me.

    How can the open source community get some of this cash cow? How about a sourceforge project Ivory Tower (the irony of the name would be great)?
    -Foo
  • by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#9215282)
    Wake up Neo. The MATRIX has you.
    Really, can these guys pick a name with worse symbolism? Skynet, maybe?
    • Re:Had to be said (Score:3, Interesting)

      by j-b0y ( 449975 )
      Skynet [www.mod.uk] is, amongst other things, the name of a major satellite communications network used by the UK MoD, about to reach the fifth generation.

      I think they choose these names deliberately.
  • by TomorrowPlusX ( 571956 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#9215284)
    As someone raised muslim, with a muslim name ( and one that happens to correspond to that of an at-large chechen terrorist ) I'll wager it's time to get out of this country.

    You know, that makes me sad. I'm American, I was born here, so were my parents. My father's been in trouble with the law, long ago, and happens to have the #1 most common Muslim name. Regardless, he, like me, loves this country.

    I'm no longer practicing ( read: vehement Atheist ) but if all it takes is having a troublesome name, well, it seems then the tide has finally turned. Perhaps this will be America's crystal night?

    I'm at a loss for words.
  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:03AM (#9215320)
    This is ridiculous. They don't have a 'likely to commit a murder' database.. or a 'likely to rape young women' database.. unless those people have already committed crimes. Now, we can be likely to commit a crime yet still be someone that has never commited a crime.

    I'm sick of what the government has done in the spirit of 'fighting terrorism.' Terror is the least of my worries. Ya, 9/11 was horrible.. but it isn't worth giving up our way of life to prevent. I'm more likely to be struck by lighting while being bitten by a shark than to die from an act of terror.

    These 'preventative' databases are stupid. American Citizens should not be subject to a 'likely to commit terror' database without ever having done something wrong. Some of the most patriotic people are also the most criticizing of the US.. Should they be on the database?

    If there are 120,000 people on the list, shouldn't there have been more acts of terrorism in the US?

    IMO, there's bigger problems on which to focus. Why fix the windshield wipers when the brakes aren't working?

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:09AM (#9215393)
    > "What's Your Terrorism Quotient?"

    I'm sorry, I'm not cleared to know that. If I could tell you, I'd have to kill me.

  • Ben Franklin knew (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corporate_ai ( 775461 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:10AM (#9215408)
    My sig says it all.

  • by NeoThermic ( 732100 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:13AM (#9215458) Homepage Journal
    >> people who showed a statistical likelihood of being terrorists

    Come again? How does one define an activity that makes you statistically a terrorist?
    Is it by the car they drive?
    Is it by the job they have?
    Is it by their nationality?
    Is it by their age?
    Is it by their house?
    Is it by anything bar the obvious ones, such as actively supporting terrorist activities?

    Probably not. They probably picked at almost random 120,000 people and defined them as a 'likelihood of being terrorists'.

    The question is who gets to make that choice? To me, it seems that the person(s) who make the choice could be as much of a terrorist as your average next door Jones, yet because they make the choices, they call the shots; they will never be featured in that list.

    I would love to know how many of the 120,000 people were -NOT- charged with terrorist activities; i doubt that even 1% of them were arrested with enough evidence to prove it. However, given the current state of the laws, that doesn't matter now, does it?

    Why seed the data? Why not let the information be collected the way it's intended, and then compile a list from it? Ok, this system might be rather like the 'big brother' we are all fearing, but currently, most major supermarkets track what you buy almost without you noticing, so its not like this information will be collected obtrusively.

    Maybe its time someone out there took a step back and looked at the system they have just partaken in creating, and they just might, possibly, see it as something that shouldn't be.

    Someone needs to look at this before the next 'red-ball' has your name on it, because by then, it's too late.

    NeoThermic

    P.S, is it me, or have they forgotten how to make an acronym? How does one get from Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange to Matrix? To me that makes 'MATIE'...
  • by MooseByte ( 751829 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:14AM (#9215481)
    Karma be damned....

    Seisint's Proposed Questionnaire for next stage of study:

    Are you or have you ever been a member of any of the following
    (check all that apply):

    - Amnesty International
    - ACLU
    - Nature Conservancy
    - National Academy of Sciences
    - Any non-GOP political party
    - Any GOP group that has ever disagreed with the White House
    - Any non-Christian religion
    - Any Christian sect that fails to see that creating all-out war in
    the Middle East that melts down Jerusalem will invoke the
    Second Coming.

    Do you associate with anyone to whom the above may apply? (Yes/No)

    Do you get your news from any media sources other than the White
    House Press Office, Fox News, or conservative talk radio? (Yes/No)

    Do you associate with anyone to whom the above may apply? (Yes/No)
  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) <rduke15.gmail@com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:29AM (#9215685)
    That software's configuration file has leaked. Here is an excerpt:
    reads SLASHDOT forums =~ /slashdot\.org/
    score SLASHDOT 10
    describe SLASHDOT Participates or reads a suspect online forum
  • Arrest via rating? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:36AM (#9215804) Homepage Journal
    So are they implying that if you get a high score you are going to be arrested and/or have your home raided?

    JUST because of some abstract number in a database?.. NOT because you actually have done something..

    So this 'suspicion rating' = probable cause?

    I would think the ACLU would be all over this..

  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:33PM (#9216708)
    A list of 120,000 names does not really narrow it down much. Perhaps there are a few hundred foriegn terrorists operating in the United States. 1% of 120,000 is 1200 and I would venture a guess that there are no more than 1200 foriegn terrorists in the US even by the widest stretch of the term terrorist. If my assumption is accurate then that mean MATRIX has a 99% false positive rate and sorting through 120,000 names to find 1200 or less is not a very useful tool. If there were really 120000 terrorists or even 12000 don't you think they would have gone to the store bought some guns and started shooting people by now. 12000 is a small army and could easily cause a lot of damage before our military could respond. Even 1200 could all get together and really do a lot of damage. That leads me to believe that they are a few hundred at most in a number of different groups espousing vastly different ideological and political goals. This system is just one more tool to turn America into a police state. Who are the real terrorists here?
  • by TheBracket ( 307388 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @01:47PM (#9217964) Homepage
    I'm a UK citizen, living (with a Green Card, happily married) in the USA. Prior to 9/11, I could travel easily within the country - rarely stopped, security were somewhat courteous, and life was easy. Since 9/11, I can't make it through a single airport without being taken aside for a full search! Last time, I asked why - and was told that I'm in a database of likely travel threats. The only connection I have to terrorism is that I authored my Master's thesis (back in '98) on Terrorism and Democracy (the basic thesis was that terrorism is extra-effective against Western-style Democracies because panic reactions to acts of terror tend to remove the freedoms on which the society is based; terrorism therefore 'wins' against the Democracy because the rights of the citizens are increasingly compromised until the society is so locked down as to not be free at all. I really didn't think it would be that prophetic!). I can't find any way to have myself removed from this database, so now I travel Greyhound!
  • 120,000 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HyperCash ( 768512 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @01:49PM (#9217991)
    The only terrorist attacks that come to my mind that happened in America somewhat recently are the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing. For a grand total of 19 terrorists. And this list brings up a 120,000 potential terrorists.

    I would fucking hate to be on that list. These are going to be the people that can't fly because they're blacklisted, that can't get government jobs because they're blacklisted, or who knows, can't take out a mortgage because they're blacklisted. Even though the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor that they aren't a terrorist.

    And what exactly do you have to do to get on this list? I mean you could say that Mr. McVeagh (sp?), the only American out of the aforementioned 19 terrorists, was an extremist libertarian...Do we suspect all of the libertarians? Its a sad time for a once free country when you seriosly have to consider what you register [to vote] as because you might end up on some list because even if you're peaceful they're not going to know that.

    --HC
  • by geekotourist ( 80163 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:08PM (#9218231) Journal
    parenthetically- that of the 80 highest scores "five were among the Sept. 11 hijackers" doesn't show that the system works. It most likely shows that the hijackers' profiles were part of the 'seed profiles' used to teach / test the system. And 120,000!... any chance of false positives? Go re-read this Bruce Schneier essay [schneier.com].

    Why should any regular individual be worried about these systems? From the best essay on privacy and 9/11 laws I've seen [privcom.gc.ca] (from the former privacy czar of Canada- warning Canadians not to lose rights Americans have already lost):

    "...But there also will be tangible, specific harm. The more information government compiles about us, the more of it will be wrong. That's simply a fact of life.

    "But if our privacy becomes ever more systematically invaded by the state for purposes of assessing our behavior and making judgments about us, wrong information and misinterpretations will have potential consequences.

    "If information that is actually about someone else is wrongly applied to us, if wrong facts make it appear that we've done things we haven't, if perfectly innocent behavior is misinterpreted as suspicious because authorities don't know our reasons or our circumstances, we will be at risk of finding ourselves in trouble in a society where everyone is regarded as a suspect. By the time we clear our names and establish our innocence, we may have suffered irreparable financial or social harm...

    "Decisions detrimental to us may be made on the basis of wrong facts, incomplete or out-of-context information or incorrect assumptions, without our ever having the chance to find out about it, let alone to set the record straight...

    "The bottom line is this: If we have to live our lives weighing every action, every communication, every human contact, wondering what agents of the state might find out about it, analyze it, judge it, possibly misconstrue it, and somehow use it to our detriment, we are not truly free. That sort of life is characteristic of totalitarian countries, not a free and open society like Canada...

    " Compiling dossiers on the private activities of all law-abiding citizens is the sort of thing the Stasi secret police used to do in the former East Germany. It has no place in a free and democratic society."

    "...When people are worried about their safety, when we have seen the horrors of which today's breed of terrorists are capable - and there may be more - it's easy to lose perspective. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that security is all that matters and that human rights such as privacy are a luxury. But such extremes can only reward and encourage terrorism, not diminish it. They can only devastate our lives, without commensurately safeguarding them. Of course we all want to be safe. But we could be safer from terrorism - perhaps - if we permanently evacuated all the high-rise office towers, if we closed down the subways, if we forever grounded all airplanes. Yet no reasonable person would be likely to argue for adopting such measures. We'd say, "We want to be safe, yes - but not at the price of sacrificing our whole way of life." The same reasoning should apply, in my view, to arguments that privacy should indiscriminately be sacrificed on the altar of enhanced security..."

    • by geekotourist ( 80163 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:23PM (#9219133) Journal
      Is your name David Nelson? You're now on the "always a suspect" list at airports. By my rough estimate (based on the number of Davids and Nelsons in the Census data) there are about 5,500 of them in the US. Evidently there is one "David Nelson" who is a criminal- because of him, all others get checked. David Nelson the child TV star. David Nelson the Washinton State Senator.

      What happens to you if someone else has a similar name? From this article on the ACLU's No Fly List lawsuit [cnn.com]:

      Administered by airlines since November 2001, the "no-fly" list has resulted in routine stops of passengers without terrorist ties who "have no meaningful opportunity to clear their names," said the complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.


      "They are detained, interrogated, delayed, embarrassed, humiliated in front of other passengers," said plaintiffs' attorney Reggie Shuford, an ACLU senior staff attorney...

      Plaintiff David Nelson, 34, a trial attorney in the St. Louis, Missouri, area, said he has been stopped more than 30 times -- every flight he's taken since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which gave rise to the "no-fly" list.
      Or from this article from 2003 [interesting-people.org]:

      "This week 18 men named David Nelson, all residents of Oregon, confirmed they have been repeatedly delayed at airport counters and security checkpoints in the last year or so."

      "Remember Ozzie and Harriet's son, David Nelson? "I got stopped at the John Wayne Airport" in Orange County, Calif., he said by phone from Los Angeles this week. "Two police officers knew who I was and tried to explain to the guy behind the security desk. It didn't faze him at all." Even as another officer was saying he had once met David's mother, Harriet, David was being instructed to remove his shoes, he says. "I asked, 'Does the guy on the list have a middle name of Ozzie?' He said, 'It just says David Nelson.' "

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