Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy

ACLU Uses Data Mining to Profile Donors/Members 34

slutdot writes "This NYT story tells of the ACLU's use of data mining in order to collect a wide variety of information about its members and donors in a fund-raising effort. The ACLU's own website has a page dedicated to privacy and technology."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

ACLU Uses Data Mining to Profile Donors/Members

Comments Filter:
  • by IO ERROR ( 128968 ) * <error@@@ioerror...us> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @03:51PM (#11125672) Homepage Journal
    ...otherwise they'd be data-mining me right now.

    Most of this seems to be focusing on the executive director, Anthony Romero [aclu.org]. I think the ACLU would be well served by getting rid of him.

    Of course, I have my own beef with the ACLU, namely that they are very selective about which civil rights [gunnewsdaily.com] they will and will [aclu.org] not [ccrkba.org] defend.

    • by More Trouble ( 211162 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @05:46PM (#11126395)
      Of course, I have my own beef with the ACLU, namely that they are very selective about which civil rights they will and will not defend.

      These a good links, providing a nuanced view of the question. For instance, ACLU says:
      If indeed the Second Amendment provides an absolute, constitutional protection for the right to bear arms in order to preserve the power of the people to resist government tyranny, then it must allow individuals to possess bazookas, torpedoes, SCUD missiles and even nuclear warheads, for they, like handguns, rifles and M-16s, are arms. Moreover, it is hard to imagine any serious resistance to the military without such arms. Yet few, if any, would argue that the Second Amendment gives individuals the unlimited right to own any weapons they please. But as soon as we allow governmental regulation of any weapons, we have broken the dam of Constitutional protection. Once that dam is broken, we are not talking about whether the government can constitutionally restrict arms, but rather what constitutes a reasonable restriction.
      This seems like a reasonable perspective on the interpretation of the second amendment.

      :w
      • The Department of Justice [usdoj.gov] takes a somewhat different view than the ACLU. I would have included this link earlier but it was forwarded to me by an anonymous coward after I made the grandparent post.

        The only limitation on the Second Amendment espoused by the DOJ is to restrict it from those who aren't responsible enough to keep and bear arms. (i.e. the mentally ill, etc.)

        • I haven't read the entire document that you linked above, but you need to be careful to not misinterpret it. Note that it isn't actually a legal opinion, but a statement of opinion of the Attorney General. Specifically, it is the opinion of John Ashcroft. You might disagree with me on this point, but in my opinion, Ashcroft hasn't always been overly concerned with what the constitution actually says, only what he wants it to say. Little things like the seperation of church and state and freedom of speech ha
          • You should read it. Ashcroft's name isn't in there anywhere, not even on the signatures at the bottom.
            • I stand (slightly) corrected. I had read the title as "Memorandum of opinion of the Attorney General", instead of "Memorandum of Opinion FOR the attornet general". However, my basic point still stands. This is a document created by attorneys, appointed by Ashcroft, and stating THEIR OPINION OF THE LAW. In the article, they even state The Supreme Court has not decided among these three potential interpretations, and the federal circuits are split. The Executive Branch has taken different views over the years
      • <witty alteration>
        If indeed the First Amendment provides an absolute, constitutional protection for the right to speech in order to preserve the power of the people to resist government tyranny, then it must allow individuals to possess porn, KKK hate mail, death threats against the President, and even child porn, for they, like political speech, gossip and political smear campaigns, are speech. Moreover, it is hard to imagine any serious resistance to the government without such speech. Yet few, if a
      • Moreover, it is hard to imagine any serious resistance to the military without such arms.

        They need to read the papers more. About Iraq.

      • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @11:22PM (#11127925) Homepage Journal

        Moreover, it is hard to imagine any serious resistance to the military without such arms.

        This is a common way to pooh pooh the second amendment, but it doesn't hold water if you think about it.

        It's certainly true that in a stand-up fight, rebels with deer rifles wouldn't have a prayer against a modern military force, but there are two fallacious assumptions here. First, that rebels would choose (or be forced to accept) a stand-up fight and second, that they would be facing a modern military force.

        As to the first, guerrillas have proven time and time again that they can give any military force a very hard time. Granted, they usually obtain better arms than deer rifles, but the rifles provide an adequate starting point, allowing them to become a force that someone will arm or that is capable of stealing better arms from the military forces they face.

        As to the second, if armed rebellion were to become needed in the US, it's likely that much of the standing military would sympathize with the rebels. They might just refuse to fight, or they might even join the rebels (perhaps taking some of their military weaponry with them). But I can't really see that happening until the stakes are raised by open violence, of the sort that requires some weaponry better than baseball bats and kitchen knives.

        A high-powered rifle with a good scope in the hands of a dedicated and skilled sniper is a very effective guerrilla weapon and an extremely effective assassination tool. Don't discount what can be done by dangerous people with relatively low-tech weapons.

        Now, opinions can, and will, differ over whether or not the benefits of an armed citizenry enabled by the second amendment are worth the cost of wide availability of deadly weapons. It's clear that if the government has escaped the control of the people, then an armed populace who is able and willing to overthrow that government and install one that does serve the people is a good thing. On the other hand, the misuse of deadly weapons by irresponsible, or just plain crazy, people is clearly a problem.

        Weighing the balance, I'm in favor of guns (and own several). I can see how others can disagree, but the argument that an armed populace is unable to overthrow a bad government does not carry any weight whatsoever.

        • Weighing the balance, I'm in favor of guns (and own several). I can see how others can disagree, but the argument that an armed populace is unable to overthrow a bad government does not carry any weight whatsoever.

          Just to be clear, you also seem to have a reasonable perspective on the issues involved. My post that you're replying to, quoting the ACLU position on the interpretation of the second amendment, is just a different well thought-out view. Both are perfectly respectable.

          :w
          • My post that you're replying to, quoting the ACLU position on the interpretation of the second amendment, is just a different well thought-out view.

            But at least one part of the ACLU's position, that less than military grade weapons are insufficient to carry out a rebellion, is not well thought-out. Which was my point, of course.

        • It's certainly true that in a stand-up fight, rebels with deer rifles wouldn't have a prayer against a modern military force, but there are two fallacious assumptions here. First, that rebels would choose (or be forced to accept) a stand-up fight and second, that they would be facing a modern military force.

          I'm sure your voice would have been redundant in Great Britain in the early 1770s. You would best hope however that you weren't still voicing that opinion there a decade later.

        • Much of these arguments assume the government is relatively benign. I'd like to remind people of the example of Hama, Syria in 1982. Bombard the city from long range, when its safe, move in and murder 30,000 or more, and then pave the WHOLE thing over to demonstrate the futility of resisting the regime....

          I think the problem is how to prevent a government from even getting anywhere near this stage. This is more a social/psychological problem IMHO. By the time the need for arms to be taken up arises, it cou
    • On the contrary, I am now compelled to join the organization, and encourage more reasonable people to do the same.

      If we are to effect change in how the entrenched, narrow-minded management of the organization define and practice civil rights, it must be virally from within instead of pitching stones from without. Our words have much more power and poignancy when our own asses are most on the line.
    • Right... because there's so much danger to the second amendment from the Bush Administration.

      I don't think it's reasonable to expect one private organization to do everything, or to agree with you (or me) on every major issue. If you are concerned about both the first amendment and the absolute interpretation of the second amendments, give to both the ACLU and the NRA, like I do. No big deal.
      • That's really not his point. His point is the ACLU claims to be a group dedicated to protecting civil liberties, but the subtle connotation is all liberal civil liberties, i.e. the liberties that correspond to a liberal point of view. If I saw them standing against affirmative action (a decidedly racist program) but for equal opportunity (a decision without consideration of race, sex, etc), I might change my tune, but until then I will consider the ACLU to have a decidedly liberal slant.

        --trb
  • by jZnat ( 793348 )
    The standard geek, already afraid of needles, is now further pushed to not donating anything of their already feeble body...
  • The A.C.L.U. certainly feels that data privacy is an extremely important issue

    Really, does this come as a surprise to anyone? Let's see, they're a giant organization with a board and a headquarters... All they need is a stock ticker or the authority to tax to become what they fight against.

    I have always applauded the ACLU for its stand on first amendment rights, but they've never had any of my money for lack of consistency. Until they defend all of other amendments (such as the second and tenth) as vi
  • EFF (Score:3, Informative)

    by zenyu ( 248067 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @04:08PM (#11125782)
    In recent years I've concentrated all my civil liberties donations to the EFF. They seem to have their act together and not be infested by the professional charity clique that seem to only care about collecting money and using only a small percentage of the money for the charitable ends they supposedly collect it for.

    I still get lots of snail mail spam from the ACLU though.
    • Re:EFF (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ibbey ( 27873 ) *
      Both the EFF & ACLU are excellent organizations. While it is reasonable to choose to give to one over the other, it's unfair to characterize the ACLU as part of the "professional charity clique". Prior to the current administration, the ACLU has been extremely conservative in their fundraising, and while I don't know what percentage of their funding goes back to fundraising, historically it hasn't been enough to stop them from vigorously fighting for their goals.

      You should also realize that without the
  • Does power absolutely corrupt?

    Is this corruption inevitable?

    Is this actually leadership?

    Is this type of leadership worth paying so much for?

    Why do we the people tolerate an obviously biased, flawed, unfair and unjust compensation system?

    Why is it that already affluent people are not content with their current excessive levels of material comfort?

    Since we're told we need to pay top bucks for top people, does that mean we must pay bottom dollars for bottom people?

    Are people a commodity? Should we reall

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...