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Government Adds Consumer Databases To Mining Queries

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the next-up-grammar-school-records dept.

179

mrraven writes "According to an article in the Washington Post the government is increasingly using consumer databases for surveillance purposes. " From the article: "It is difficult to pinpoint the number of such contracts because many of them are classified, experts said. At the federal level, 52 government agencies had launched, or planned to begin, at least 199 data-mining projects as far back as 2004, according to a Government Accountability Office study."

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from the next-up-grammar-school-records dept. (-1, Offtopic)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543256)

Grammar School. Slashdot.

They just about write themselves these days, don’t they?

Nothing to see here. Move along (0)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543259)

Slashdot really needs to change their error messgae when you click on read more link and the story isn't ready yet. Scared me for a second considering the topic.

Re:Nothing to see here. Move along (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544048)

Actually....I'll bet one 'neat-o' result of this...finding all you naughty people out there that are not paying taxes on your internet purchases!!

I'll bet there are other good relationships they can find to make the citizens 'pay more'....

Some states (Mass?) are already doing stuff like this...wait till you get it on a Fed. level...

Obligatory Yakov Smirnov (0)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543276)

In Soviet Amerika, data mines you!

Re:Obligatory Yakov Smirnov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543370)

That's 3 "K"'s you insensitive clod!

Uh Oh! (5, Funny)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543282)

I knew I shouldn't have answered the question "When is the last time you purchased weapons of mass destruction?" on that Safeway survey!

Re:Uh Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543381)

Yeah, but the Safeway brand WMDs were so much cheaper than the Lockheed brand, it was to good to pass up!

Re:Uh Oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543469)

Personally, I'm still loyal to Acme, they deliver

-- Willie E Coyote

Re:Uh Oh! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543474)

I knew I shouldn't have answered the question "When is the last time you purchased weapons of mass destruction?" on that Safeway survey!

You should do like I did, and have a Safeway card registered under the name Richard M. Nixon. Presidents are immune from questioning about WMD.

Re:Uh Oh! (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543692)

I knew I shouldn't have answered the question "When is the last time you purchased weapons of mass destruction?" on that Safeway survey!

1) Go to $grocery_store
2) Fill out club card
3) Put the name and address of someone you don't like
4) Buy weapons of mass destruction on sale with club card
5) ???
6) (Oil) Profit!

Re:Uh Oh! (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543952)

Just register your club card to some fake name and always pay cash.

I'm sure that they're wondering who the hell "Oliver Clozoff" is, and why he or she is buying Mentos and Diet Coke at the same time...

What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

qw(name) (718245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543289)

Commercial companies are doing far worse and most of them don't ensure the same level of privacy as the government would maintain.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543326)

I don't have a great deal of faith in the government's regard for my privacy. I think it is all too likely that some of this data will either be:
1) "Mentioned" in a conversation with a reporter, or
2) Recorded in a portable medium (disks of some sort) and lost accidentally.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543642)

You should have the same level of trust for the companies that are quietly selling your company to anyone that is willing to pay the price.

At least with the government, they are looking for illegal activity (currently). The commerical world could give a rip what you do, or how their actions harm you. It's all about making money.

Every visit a site to buy something, tell them to not bug you, and the next day your new email address is thrashed with SPAM? Happens all the time to me. I create a new email address for each vendor and have the email pulled into a special account I use for buying stuff online. It's too painful to check every account so I use this one account to know when something is up with an order. It sucks to see how so many companies actively violate their own privacy policies sometimes within minutes, and especially when they provide you the falicy of protection from such abuse with a meaningless check box that has the words "Exclude from third parties..." yadda yadda yadda .. BULLSHIT!

But yah.. let's keep up the group hate for the government since it is the only thing to focus our hate on these days.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

Goblez (928516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544200)

The problem with your assement here is the definition of what's illegal. Sure, that's fine if it's ensuring that violent criminals are being taken care of, but as it's used against (yours, ours, my) children for downloading music, or later down the road against those that disagree or speak against what they do (or what we don't know that they do), then you have a problem.

And maybe if you think everyone is just group hating the government, maybe you need to pay closer attention.

Re:What's the big deal? ---MOD PARENT UP-- (1)

Dan Ferguson (691027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544301)

I don't have mod points.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544382)

But the problem with your argument is that with the laws you don't like and your rampant distaste for the government, you STILL get to know how the information is being used.. in persuit of busting people that break the laws. We know what those laws are. You should already be avoiding them.

With a company.. you have absolutely no clue or control over what they do or how they want to perceive your actions. Take the RIAA for example. If they found you had a single MP3 on your computer they're likely to call you a terrorist.

Believe me.. I fear the government too and think this Patriot Act crap and wire tapping is going on way too long and way too far of a breach of our Constitutional protections from this sort of behavior. But I'm still going to persist that you should fear the companies even more. Because they have far less controls on them then the government does.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544517)

The only example you gave was the RIAA, which is a monopolistic sort of union that by reason of its monopoly can get away with all kinds of shit that most companies can't. K-Mart has to be fairly courteous to their customers and not accuse them of terrorism, pat them down before leaving the store, etc. Microsoft can get away with some of the same shit, like putting spyware in their OWN operating system. All of that shows what kind of unreasonable power they have. Most companies that are not monopolies are just trying to improve their marketing, which is mostly alright with me, considering that the alternative is blind mass mailing. The gov't is not trying to sell us anything. They want to maintain as much power as possible over the people. We don't know if they want to protect Americans or protect themselves, hence the checks and balances of the Constitution. That last point is what most Americans don't seem to get. Our 'freedom' relies entirely on that point.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544386)

At least with the government, they are looking for illegal activity (supposedly). The commerical world could give a rip what you do, or how their actions harm you. It's all about making money.

There you go, fixed that obvious typo in your post for you.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

ScottLindner (954299) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544438)

and what exactly are they going to bust you of if you're doing things that are completely legal? The best they can do is use it as a tip to create a new law which then will become illegal.

I don't like the wire taps and Patriot Act either.. but let's get a grip on some sanity here. There are greater things to fear than the government collecting the information we FREELY PROVIDE. Did you read the report last week about this becoming the biggest threat for identify theft? You think some Joe is going to write a huge data mining bot to harvest and correlate information on thousands of people to steal their identities? Or would it be organized crime and corporations that do this sort of thing?

You're putting too much effort into hating the government without much logical thought on the matter. If you care so much.. stop posting personal information on websites! Then this entire topic goes away. That's all the more they are adding to this data minin operation that has everyone in an uproar. Why the fuss over something you are WILLINGLY GIVING TO THEM?

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

mrraven (129238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543327)

What like sell their data to the government? Hmmmmm...

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543341)

Yes but we expect companies to be greedy and to try to get away with as much as they can. On the other hand the government is supposed to represent the people and respect our rights. A company is created by a few people for their benefit, but the government is created by all the people, and it should be run to the benefit of everyone, not just the power-hungry and the wealthy.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543553)

but the government is created by all the people, and it should be run to the benefit of everyone, not just the power-hungry and the wealthy.

i suggest you read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" to gain some more insight on this topic. the united states wasn't created by all, it was created by a minority. and throughout our history, most everything has been done with the power-hungry and wealthy in mind.

government as an ideal may strive to grant and protect people's rights; but government as a reality isn't quite so simple.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543628)

What rights have been circumvented by this?
Privacy? I think not, the information was "voluntarily" provided to these companies. Personally, I think the amount of information many companies collect on individuals should be illegal.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544596)

"Privacy? I think not, the information was "voluntarily" provided to these companies."

emphasis mine. Volunteered to the corporation, not to the government. I should be able to control where information about me that I volunteer goes - if the people I volunteer it to can pass it on to their hearts content, I might as well assume that if I give anyone information, within 6 months it will be known by everyone. Considering that there is information about me that I would rather that some people did not have, should I not give that information to anyone? Should I not tell my health insurer about my health because they would be free to pass it on with impunity?

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543753)

Where the heck have you been for the last 6 years? The corporations have rights and are asserting them.

Democracy... (4, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543931)

Yes but we expect companies to be greedy and to try to get away with as much as they can. On the other hand the government is supposed to represent the people and respect our rights. A company is created by a few people for their benefit, but the government is created by all the people, and it should be run to the benefit of everyone, not just the power-hungry and the wealthy.

<rant>
Theoretically, in a democracy, the government is elected by the people. Unfortunately the selection of candidates available to be elected is usually controlled by a smal clique of wealthy people since it has become so expensive to run for office that no normal person can afford it without sellign his/her soul to these special interest groups. So in effect it is they who are create the government, not the people. Sometimes I get the feeling that the only thing that keeps democracy from being a totally unworkable system of government is the fact that the pack of weasels that make up the government are usually to busy the stabbing each other in the back to concentrate fully on their great design which seems to be to bring about the total collapse of human civilization as we know it. That and the fact that once in a while.... uhmmm.... make that once in a loooooooong while the people grow a spine, get off their ass and remind their 'elected representitives' that governments should never forget to fear their electorate.
</rant>

Re:Democracy... (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544073)

I agree with you [slashdot.org] , no need to convince me.

Re:Democracy... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544580)

Umm what democratic society are you speaking of? I dont think there is a single on on earth currently.

ANd no, the USA is NOT one, never has been. Its been a republic since day one. ( somewhat perversed by greed, but still the same basic structure as its always been )

What do you expect? (3, Insightful)

DesertWolf0132 (718296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544117)

A government of the people, by the people, for the people? What kind of whacked out pinko commie rhetoric is that? For the people...puleeeze... Next what will you want? Votes that actually count? How about free karma points while you are at it? I guess you will want a government that sticks to that liberal manifesto...what do you call it...The Bill of Rights next? Don't you know that thing is also called the Presidential toilet paper?

This is the NSA and we approve this post.

Private compared to government (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544172)

Private firms, if the system is kept competitive, will not share their data with competitors, past a certain level of detail. If you have a history of not paying debts, they'll share that. But if you are a particularly good prospect, as compared to a bad one, they'll tend to hoard that information - selling it if they can to companies which don't compete with them, but never sharing it with their direct competitors. And those private firms have as their chief, often only, goal to sell you something. Now, it's true, if they sell you credit, to a small extent they own you - they own a slice of your future income.

Governments, by contrast, don't have to sell you anything. They get to take the money through taxation regardless of whether you're inclined to buy the services they offer. So they already own a slice of your future income. When they mine data they're after something more than that. Their ultimate goal, insofar as possible, is to own you outright.

It all comes down to who you're more threatened by, a salesman or a cop? The companies either rate you as worthy of a sales call, or not; the government rates you as worthy of a fine, imprisonment, or death, or not.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543342)

Commercial companies are doing far worse and most of them don't ensure the same level of privacy as the government would maintain.

The government can put you in jail.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543386)

"same level of privacy as the government would maintain.

Yes, the U.S. government goes to great [slashdot.org] lengths [slashdot.org] to protect the information it collects.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543399)

ANd that isn't right either. The US needs some real data protection laws, similar to whats in Europe. SOmething along the lines of "Its illegal to sell non-annonymized personal data, without their written permission. You are not allowed to make price breaks or sales of goods/sevices dependant on giving written permission" and "It is illegal to give personal information to the government without a court order." and put a nice long jail term and fine on each of those.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543743)

There is a slight problem.

You are asking the legislature and executive branches of government to pass bills into law which would limit their power.

Not. Gonna. Happen. in today's world. :(

Use your vote wisely. Vote out the current scumbags, and give a new crook a chance. ;)

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

WiJO (975904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544424)

You are asking the legislature and executive branches of government to pass bills into law which would limit their power.
I think he was referring to placing limitations on civilian use of data. The U.S. government would still have its normal power to collect information tracking your every thought, word and deed.
The U.S. government has already proven that it cannot be trusted with information. If it isn't being used in a potentially unconsitutional data-mining operation, it's being lost by idiot bureaucrats.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543492)

Do you believe one group of people should have the right to snoop on another group, follow all their activities, track their conversations, count their money, keep track of what they're reading, all the while extorting money from that group to build the infrastructure for their their spy network? And at the same time, viciously guarding their own secrets and privacy, on pain of death?

If the group calls itself "government", your answer is, apparently yes. I would say I feel sorry for you, but I don't. You're just mindless flotsam. I feel sorry for me - because the government is in power because of people like you.

You. Tool.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543856)

How many of these private companies offer free, lifetime vacations in Cuba based on what they think of your data?

KFG

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544105)

"Commercial companies are doing far worse and most of them don't ensure the same level of privacy as the government would..."

Yup...heck, if they connect to Acxiom's [acxiom.com] databases...they'll already have about all the info on US citizens they need.

They get records from all types of sources, US Postal change of address, states that sell drivers licenses, phone books, warranty cards...etc.

Nothing to worry about (4, Funny)

koreth (409849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543322)

After all, I'm sure they're only scrutinizing people who are actually doing something wrong. It's the government! We can trust the government to do the right thing and not abuse its power. Unless it's the part of the government that gives money to poor people or sets school standards. That part of the government is run by a bunch of incompetent lunatics. But the part that secretly tabulates data about people, of course they're all good guys.

Re:Nothing to worry about (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543446)

What is sad thought is that some people actually believe things like that.

Re:Nothing to worry about (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543507)

If only I had mod points ...

I'd like to hear the logic from a Republican slashdotter regarding the argument put forth here.

Re:Nothing to worry about (1)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544097)

He's joking, people - a comic representation of the right-wing party line.

Or, as I hilariously saw elsewhere on Slashdot today, "Whoosh!"

Here we go (0, Flamebait)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543328)

Cue the rants by the tin foil hat and the anti-Bush crowd (aka 80% of Slashdot).

Re:Here we go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543459)

95%

Re:Here we go (1)

specific (963862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543483)

FTA "Out of pure resource allocation, it is so unlikely to provide something useful and so likely to provide dead ends and false leads that you are going to spend an enormous amount of resources on things that don't pan out," he said. "Before you start searching haystacks for needles, you've got to have some reason to believe that the needles are there."


Bush's reasons were clear. God told him to do everything he's done so far. Our Lord and Saviour also instructed Bush to inform me that the correct math would be 95% of Slashdot readers. Hey... maybe /. is being mined, too.

Boy that sure took the wind out of our sails (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544157)

Here I was all set to put on my tinfoil hat and rant about Bush and you came along and ruined it by predicting what I would do in advance. That's pretty clever, did you think up that tactic all by yourself? You see what he did everybody? He claimed we would all rant about Bush, and implied that anyone who does is akin to someone with a mental illness who wears tinfoil on his head to keep out the evil mind rays. That is so clever, that is just so, so fresh, how did you come up with that? Wow, just... wow. I bow down before your superior debating skills.

You, sir, are a master debater.

From the functional specification (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543329)

"It was terribly dangerous to use cash when you were in any public place and not a member of a loyalty program. The smallest thing could give you away. A falafel here, an unconscious visit to a halal butcher, a habit of not drinking, anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to have insufficient data on your credit card record, was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Amspeak: feedcrime"

- G. Orwell, Functional Specification: A Consumer Data Mining Model for Homeland Security

The damndest part is that I drink like a fish, and the only problem I have with pork is my Homeresque refusal to believe that things as wonderful as bacon, ham, and sausage can all come from the same, magical animal.

Unfortunately, I live next to a really good butcher's shop, and have no need of a loyalty-card based chain grocery stores. Guess I gotta get out there and start buying Lee Greenwood albums on my credit card or something.

Re:From the functional specification (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543871)

I pay cash. I get my "loyalty cards" by finding them in parking lots. I have about 4 differnt cards on my keyring for the same store, none of them were "registered" by me in my name. As long as I don't loose my keys, and the thing gets dumped in a mailbox, I'm fine. (most say "if found, drop in any mailbox, postage guaranteed") Or maybe I'm even better off with all the different cards. The store will not know who's it is.

Re:From the functional specification (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544025)

Hope you always pay with cash, too--if you ever use a credit or debit card with the card you found in the parking lot, they know who you are anyway.

Re:From the functional specification (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544098)

I do have to guard against having "insufficient data on your credit card record" right? I figure, with 4 cards, I mostly pay cash, will I get associated with all 4 cards if I use a CC one time? Maybe the guy who registered the "loyalty card" stole my credit card? You make a good point, but I'm paranoid enough as it is. Can I get some Soma?

Re:From the functional specification (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544150)

A gramme is better than a damn, I always say. I do think having no data footprint at all will become (if it isn't already) regarded as suspicious.

nothing to see here ... (3, Funny)

joeyspqr (629639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543343)

given the bang up job the gov't is doing in New Orleans and Iraq, I don't see much to worry about.

move along

Re:nothing to see here ... (1)

glsunder (241984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543807)

That's one of the problems. Do you trust them to be competent enough to keep all of the data secure for criminals in the public?

What not to buy with plastic (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543349)

Hmmm . . . Maybe I shouldn't be buying those evening gowns with my credit card.

Where does it end?! (1)

hrrY (954980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543364)

If this doesn't reek of corporate interest and funding classified projects with private sector funds then I don't know what does. At the end of this rainbow lies a HUUGGGEEE pot of gold once the "mission is aborted". I mean what do they want to know, if terrorists are seasonal shoppers or impulse buyers?! Or maybe you can spot them by brand. I always see terrorists wearing Nike before they carry out an act of sedition...Air force One's usually, although they have been spotted in Air Huarache's in some random cases.

Re:Where does it end?! (1)

uglydog (944971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544170)

It ends with revolution, mothafucka!

Here we go again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543373)

Let me save all you leftists some trouble.

1. Bush is Hilter.
2. Cheney is a coporate mole.
3. Global Warming will kill us all because the fundementalists refuse to accept it.
4. Ahh... the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen. Most likley the 2008 election will be.
5. Bush wants to listen to your phone sex.

Duck and cover...the Tin Hat crowd will be coming out in force.

Re:Here we go again (1)

DesertWolf0132 (718296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544237)

Nope. Hitler could at least form a sentence without mis pronouncing things to the point where, in the words of Carlos Mencia, "Even [racial remark replaced with Mexican immigrants] were saying, 'Dat's not how you say dat.'"

And to say Cheney is a mole is to imply he is trying to hide it.

And Bush is too busy with Hooked on phonics to listen to phone sex. That is Rumsfeld's job.

I for one welcome our new Soviet Masters (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543380)

and will proudly present my papers when searched by the Politburo's duly designated Security Police.

How Strict? (1)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543396)

exposes ordinary people to ever more scrutiny by authorities while skirting legal protections designed to limit the government's collection and use of personal data

Eh, what’s wrong with an end run around the safeguards protecting our freedom and liberty? They act like that’s a bad thing or something.

I guess when the “strict constructionists” say that the Constitution isn’t a “living document,” that must imply that it’s just some smelly old corpse to be kicked out of the way by the guy with the biggest boots.

Funny thing about the government (1)

KIFulgore (972701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543416)

If you data mine in their systems or otherwise snoop too deeply into NSA or the FBI you get yourself 5 to 10 years in federal P.M.I.T.A. prison.

Who Does Classified Contracts? (1)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543435)

"It is difficult to pinpoint the number of such contracts because many of them are classified,"

If a contract is classified, who gets to bid on it? Just the big defense agency companies? Where's the oversight?

Re:Who Does Classified Contracts? (2, Insightful)

glsunder (241984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543590)

Where's the oversight?

Thats what this is all about. People can make a lot more money with no oversight.

Re:Who Does Classified Contracts? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544541)

Well as long as it's profitable, what's the problem?!?

Re:Who Does Classified Contracts? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544387)

I have a hard time understanding how this is even legal. It seems like the government is barred from doing certain things, so they instead pay somebody to do it for them. Shouldn't paying contractors -- knowingly, to commit what would otherwise be a crime -- be a crime as well?

Go ahead! (1)

drpimp (900837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543456)

Buy my data. I don't have anything to hide (sorry paranoid /.ers I just don't care, as long as they are not telling me what to do). But I want Royalties for usage anytime my results are yielded in a search!

Re:Go ahead! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544547)

What happens if you don't get a job becasue the FBI red flagged you due to a change in your routine behaviour?

Re:Go ahead! (1)

drpimp (900837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544610)

That's the benefit of knowing people in the FBI. ;-) Or for that matter, living in a free country. I just work for myself then. If some job doesn't hire me because of some "routine" behaviour you are talking about. Then they get a single finger salute. There are plenty of other companies. I think you are trying to assume they are profiling every single American. When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME!

Now dont tell me corporations are NOT running u.s. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543479)

Huh ?

Just i have finished replying to a comment requesting that i provided an example to 'corporations taking control of a country' for another discussion.

It is a giant conspiracy against people of united states. And money is at the helm.

NEWS: Goverment not really that nice (2, Funny)

Dr. Max E. Ville (821578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543493)

Well, DUH! Don't buy your copy of The Anarchists Cookbook on Amazon if you don't want to be called in for questioning every time some nimrod torches a McDonalds. It's just common sense.

Re:NEWS: Goverment not really that nice (1)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544086)

Yeah, like they haven't been shaking down (or running) those suppliers for years.

Today terrorism, tommorrow ??? (5, Informative)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543494)

What is so frightening about the data that the NSA/FBI is gathering about U.S. citizens is that while they claim it will solely be used to look for terrorists today, next year they will be using it to look for drug dealers, then file-sharers, then political "radicals", etc.

The Patriot Act was supposedly passed to help law enforcement in their fight against terrorism, but it didn't take long before it was being used in the "war on drugs". When the Patriot Act was renewed recently, they added a provision about methamphetamine.

In Attorney General Gonzo's own words: Importantly, the legislation provides additional tools for protecting our mass transportation systems and seaports from attack; takes steps to combat the methamphetamine epidemic that is sweeping our country; and closes dangerous loopholes in our ability to prevent terrorist financing.

It is scary how this was packaged up under the "terrorism-oogity-boogity-label". This may all seem a bit off-topic, but it demonstrates that the government is willing and able to lump other issues into the terrorism catch-all.

Re:Today terrorism, tommorrow ??? (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543711)

You are overreacting. The primary purpose of this is just to look for the terrorists who are buying wood matches and lighter fluid in order to burn American Flags.

history? (3, Insightful)

sum.zero (807087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543656)

i so love it when a vested interest puts words in the public's mouth.

from the article:

"The public is willing to bend the rules a little bit with respect to privacy," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, adding that Americans showed similar tendencies during the "red scares" after World War I and World War II. "They are giving the government the benefit of the doubt in large part because they are concerned about terrorism."

yep, the us government really showed how much they can be trusted in these situations. mcarthy didn't go over the top at all...

sum.zero

ps yes, that was sarcasm

Tag: totalinformationawareness (1)

is as us Infinite (920305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543659)

Lest we forget:

(o) (o) [wikipedia.org]

This is their ultimate goal. Knowing everything about everybody at all times. Except for themselves, of course...

Re:Tag: totalinformationawareness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544313)

> (o) (o) [wikipedia.org]

Hmm, the All-seeing eye [xeni.net] logo, and the invocation IAO [disinfo.com] , all wrapped up in one juicy package.

I'll say this much for our rulers at the Information Awareness Office, they do have a sense of humor.

Either that, or Robert Anton Wilson [rawilson.com] really is running the show, and we're all just characters in one of his novels.

Fnord.

Propaganda and You (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543663)

Why is it when Google offers free, slightly better webmail you rush to them with handfuls of your personal data and when the government offers sweeping improvements in security you defend the collection of relatively meaningless data points that you call a life like a snarling wolverine? The government isn't sending me spam, let them mine whatever they want. They can tap my phone, too, if they want. I don't care if some algorithm somewhere is analyzing my terror potential, because believe it or not, I have nothing to worry about. That's exactly the kind of government I *want* - where good, decent, respect-your-neighbor folks are free to exude personal data and the slimeball terrorists have to guard their every dirty step, living in fear themselves. I want the government to analyze my and everyone else's actions, because I know I'll come out clean. It's the neighbor everyone thought was "such a nice, quiet man" but is actually check out my asscheeks in the shower that I want to Federal Bureau of Douchebags to swoop in and ship away.

Re:Propaganda and You (1)

mrraven (129238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543827)

Some of us don't like EITHER the corporations or the government snooping in our lives. The difference as another poster pointed out though is the corporations can't throw you in jail.

I say that however not to let the corporations off the hook what the corporations CAN do is outsource your job, trash the environment for short term profit, and use their monopoly powers to stifle innovation. Just because the corporations are not as big a danger in snooping than the govt., it does not follow they are good or even to be trusted.

Your best bet is to not trust any large unaccountable organization that has great power over your life.

Re:Propaganda and You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543911)

You need to shave your ass. It's very unsightly.

signed,

Nice, quiet, neighbor man

Re:Propaganda and You (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543983)

Should this be rated +1 funny? you went a bit too serious if it was meant as a joke.

That's exactly the kind of government I *want* - where good, decent, respect-your-neighbor folks are free to exude personal data and the slimeball terrorists have to guard their every dirty step, living in fear themselves

and what about people who just want to be left alone?

there are a lot of things illegal which are considered just fine by "respect your neighbor" folks.

replace "terrorists" with fornicators in georgia... it's against state law there.

there are many other laws on the books the dominant party can use to toss you in prison if they can connect you with "the pinko leftist democrats" or "the facist rightwing nutbags" and *insert any unenforced felony class law here*.

remember.. everyone who questions the bush administration is a derty slimeball terrorist ; )

now i'm off to plan my next "act"! im going to post another anti-republican anti-mcCarthy comment somewhere else!

Re:Propaganda and You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544588)

People who want to be left alone are living in the wrong era in history. There is no alone. Unless you unplug and live "off the land", you're a part of the information ocean like the rest of us. If the laws are broken (they are), we need to fix them. We can't continue to allow obscurity to be security. What is your security is the security of the fellow with the grudge and a pipe bomb.

There's a natural gating factor built into the law - take speeding. It's not a method of controlling road speed as much as it is a method of profiling certain vehicles for a casual search. You can speed, as long as you're not slung out low riding with 20" spinners. Am I upset when that vehicle is singled out through racial/economic profiling and searched? Not at all. It's the system working like it should. It plays the odds. There's a far greater chance that this vehicle is engaged in illegal activity than the minivan mom with the 4 kids.

Government is in place to protect the people. When they don't do a good job, they're voted out. That's how our system works. And it does. No need to legislate our blinds shut if we're not making bombs.

Re:Propaganda and You (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544685)

OMG.. you mean the right to simple privacy also applies to people who could fly off the handle and kill someone? oh perish the thought!

Privacy means dignity.. how about we take this to its logical conclusion and put cameras in public restrooms to prevent people "assembling or setting bombs" in public places. Oh you don't want random people staring at your pecker? too bad! you are not allowed dignity because dignity and privacy are unsafe.

You can speed, as long as you're not slung out low riding with 20" spinners
i got pulled over in an unremarkable gold 4 door sedan..

How about we put GPS chips and reporting software to track your car's position and speed everywhere in the nation at all times and "automatically" fine you whenever you exceed the speed limit for whatever reason.. a mad man's after you? no dice..youre still going to pay $4000 extra for your auto insurance.

Order comes at the expense of personal freedom and self determination.. and this nation was founded on the concept of self determination.

don't like the idea of privacy and self determination? want to be "safer"? go to china where they spy on you, blanket ban wide swaths of technology, and can kick down your door and drag you off in the middle of the night..

in the mean time.. this is AMERICA.. learn to spell it.. learn to read the constitution.

You know you'll come out clean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544082)

But really, how do you know you'll come out clean?

What if your identity was stolen and someone had done something suspicious in your name and it got entered into a commercial database, and the government decided you had an unhealthy interest in certain things and decided to put you under 24-hour surveillance?

Hell, what if the database is just plain wrong? It happens all the time, you know. Can you really have a database with entries about millions of people without hundreds, thousands or more of those entries containing fucking bogus information? Have you ever checked your credit report? You might be surprised at the kind of stuff that's on it.

Just because you have nothing to hide, does NOT mean the gov't should be allowed to snoop and spy on you and collect and aggregate data about you.

Final question. Have you ever seen the movie "Enemy of the State"? Some of the stuff in it is farfetched, but information is power, and doesn't it worry you in the slightest to give your gov't (which is made up of fallible, and often corruptible, human beings) so much power over your life?

Re:Propaganda and You (2, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15544112)

>the collection of relatively meaningless data points that you call a life

*cries*

I... I thought I was... special...

The night is so cold...

So what? (1)

Durumbrain (896534) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543690)

What's the big deal? I've got nothing to hide [freeberty.org] ...

Cash (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543717)

Pay with cash. It hasn't been outlawed yet.

Re:Cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15544213)

Yet.

But it will be....

the realID act and kroger plus cards.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543720)

This is the reason why i'm against the realID act and dont use kroger plus cards.

it's all fine and good for companies to use data for better inventory management, there is no reason however to tie it to my name.

as for the realid act, I have absolutely no problem with a machine readable ID.. what I DO have a problem with is the fact that there are no regulations in place banning private institutions from making databases on when where and why my "realID" was swiped...

the government is accountable to the public, corporations are not, and for all you people out there saying "but corporations are private entities theyre entitled to freedom from regulation!11oneone~!".. read and learn .

corporations now have powers and infrastructure similar to government, and the government can work with them to make end runs around the constitution.

Re:the realID act and kroger plus cards.. (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543877)

heh, I use a kroger plus card (as well as albertsons and tom thumb) but those forms you fill out to get them allow you to leave everything blank so you can have the card anonymously.

What do you do about it? I'm really curious.. (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543723)

Honestly, I'm seriously interested in this and I want to hear from you guys what (if anything) you do to evade that kind of surveillance... Personally I used to work for a European card processing company, i.e. the people who operate the terminal network and supply the hardware and then route the terminal traffic to all the major creditcard acquirers and of course the national debit card scheme as well as operate nationwide loyalty card schemes. I know exactly what kind of data goes over those wires and ever since I have never touched a loyalty card again nor used any plastic when I could be using cash. OVER HERE IN EUROPE with a loyalty card the merchant gets a list of whatever you purchased and an identity to mach it up with. Whenever you swipe your card, the network company, the credit card company and/or your bank know where you shopped (account-details / PAN, terminal-id(location), time of day, amount, in fact with the terminal-id we can tell in which checkout lane you were and get the right surveillance tape). And whereas it is forbidden in Europe to match up card number / PAN (Personal Account Number) details (but which I'm sure the big guys do anyway) I doubt that is much of a problem in the US. Personally I have pulled out of that system as much as I could. I refuse to use loyalty cards and I pay in cash whatever I can and when I have to give my name and address to anyone I have a phoney address to give out to them. At least over here they don't want to see your ID just because they're trying to wheedle marketing data out of people. What are you up against? What do you do about it?

Re:What do you do about it? I'm really curious.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543867)

Personally I have pulled out of that system as much as I could. I refuse to use loyalty cards and I pay in cash whatever I can and when I have to give my name and address to anyone I have a phoney address to give out to them. At least over here they don't want to see your ID just because they're trying to wheedle marketing data out of people. What are you up against? What do you do about it?

We who value our privacy do the same thing, but the realID act has already been passed...

this act requires id's be machine readable and prohibits companies access to government databases for anything other than verificaiton that the ID is real, but the rub is this does NOT prohibit companies from keeping databases themselves in parallel with any and all info they choose.

While ID is only required for very few purchases (alcohol, cigarettes), many chains promoting good christian values like wal-mart will refuse to sell you many over the counter drugs, video games, or DVD's without checking ID.

While avoidable now with your methods, which are quite sane, it will not be so easily avoidable in the future without very necessary regulations put in place to stop such abuse.

I did have hope for the '06 elections giving the democrats the chance to push for these regulations and oversight initiatives, but I've heard recently that idiot californians elected yet another republican to replace an existing republican who was acutally CONVICTED for corruption.. (it's all be it impossible to find justification to even investigate let alone convict someone for corruption here.. after all the people being corrupted are the ones making the laws). This does not leave me with much hope for recovery of a representative government any time soon.

Then why are we still doing out own taxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543810)

If the govt can mine our purchases, and they have our payroll information already, then why don't they just do our taxes for us? Seriously, this would save me alot of lyin..I mean..alot of work!

Why shopping patterns need to be private: (3, Funny)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543843)

THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING WAL-MART

GRO LITE x 12............$34.68
MAX STR ROBITUSSIN x 4...$14.23
ASS-TRO GLIDE.............$7.98
PETS/HMSTR............... $2.98
MUSIC/B.STREISAND........$16.98

TOTAL: $76.85

IN ACCORDANCE WITH NEW HOMELAND
SECURITY DIRECTIVES, THIS INFORMATION
IS BEING FORWARDED TO THE NSA, WHO
WILL THEN FORWARD RELEVANT INFORMATION
TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.

HAVE A NICE DAY!

On the plus side... (3, Informative)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543873)

Unlike things like the "do not fly" list(s) where you aren't (officially) allowed to know if your name is on the list or not -- at least if the information is commercially available you can buy it yourself and find out what big brother knows (and presumably doesn't know) about you.

You can also use that info to judge the effectiveness of whatever disinformation you use to protect yourself. For example, a good friend of mine had a fake id made up with her real name. But it had a bogus age (younger than her real age, she is a woman after all), bogus address and bogus SS# (or maybe DL# I forget). She was tired of all the clubs that swipe the magstripe to "check id" when in fact they are "swiping" your personal information.

This use had the unexpected side-effect of creating a completely bogus "identical twin" in a surprisingly large number of these commercial databases with the same name and same town, but otherwise completely different info. In some databases like the address lookups on yahoo and other places, her "twin" is the only entry - her real info isn't there. At the very least, this twin should confuse any stalkers (she's had a few before this development).

Admiral Poindexter seems to have gotten his way (4, Interesting)

golodh (893453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543948)

Remember that admiral Poindexter with his Total Information Awareness (TIA) programme? It looks as if his ideas have been implemented from the first to the last. Links: http://www.p2pnet.net/issue03/page1.html [p2pnet.net] and http://www.p2pnet.net/issue05/page1.html [p2pnet.net]

If only they would investigate their own spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15543956)

Funny how when someone wants the government to investigate it's own spending reports are spun around showing it would cost billions to investigate such activities, yet investigating Americans seems to be no problem.

Hypocracy at it's finest.

Want to Anonymize? Disappear? Try this... (3, Funny)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15543962)

I use the "Fletch" method to disguise my consumer loyalty cards. I have been thanked as "Mr. Nugent", "Mr. Truman" and "Mr. Cocktosen".

Otherwise try these tips...
Going

Diss credit: Want to be hard to find? Start by dashing off stern opt-out letters to the big database companies and credit bureaus - Experian, TransUnion, Equifax. These folks may make a mint peddling personal info, but they can be cajoled into stopping. First, though, they'll make you jump through hoops - like filling out a 1040-sized form or idling in toll-free hell. Junkbusters [junkbusters.com] has a good list of opt-out addresses.

Anonymize: Ditch your ISP and sign up with a service that lets you surf by proxy, keeping your IP address concealed. Send email via an anonymous remailer like Mixmaster, a digital middleman that scrambles timestamps and message sizes. And if you're going to be advocating the violent overthrow of the government or bragging about your cool new bong, make sure your remailer routes messages through multiple machines.

Grok the fine print: Boring as it sounds, read the privacy statements that clutter your mailbox around tax time and sever ties with companies that admit, "Our privacy policy may change over time" - industry lingo for "We reserve the right to screw you."

Going Further

Ditch the digits:Want to drop out?Start by rustling up a new Social Security number.

The Social Security Administration doesn't accept paranoia as a criterion for granting a new card, but it recognizes cultural objections and religious pleas. One stratagem: Contend that your credit has been irrevocably damaged by a number-related snafu, or that you live in fear of a stalker who knows your digits. Once you switch your SSN, never use it. Instead, dole out 078-05-1120, an Eisenhower-era card that works 99 percent of the time.

Call cell-free: Use the humble pay phone. Mobile phones are being outfitted with global positioning satellite chips to comply with an FCC mandate. By 2006, all wireless networks must feature 911-friendly tracking technology. Marketers are cooking up ways to capitalize, like zapping burger coupons to your Nokia as you stroll by a fast-food joint.

Pay full price: You may relish saving 10 percent on Prell, but deep-six your buyers' club cards. Supermarkets and pharmacies haven't yet perfected the art of data mining, but it won't be long. "If you're having a child custody fight, they could subpoena your frequent-shopper cards and say, 'Look, he's buying too many potato chips, he's hurting the kids,'" says Robert Gellman, a Washington-based privacy consultant.

Gone

Move: Want to go completely off the grid? Start by moving - address changes bedevil databasers. But don't buy a home. All those loan apps will blow your cover. Residential hotels smell like cheap cigars and urine, but at least you can register under a pseudonym. Give a fake address: 3500 S. Wacker, Chicago, IL, 60616 - the front door for Comiskey Park.

Toss your cards:Pay cash for everything, and don't plan on a life of luxury. Any (legal) cash transaction more than $10,000 triggers government reporting regulations, which means you can forget about that Cadillac Escalade you've had your eye on. Settle for the subway or bus, using coins rather than prepaid fare cards, which keep a record of trips.

Go incognito: Facial-recognition gear will soon be ubiquitous in public spaces. To fool the systems, invest in a pair of bulky aviator sunglasses and a hat. If you fear being tailed, alter your gait every time you hit the street - a pigeon-toed shuffle one day, a bowlegged amble the next. There are also Central American plastic surgery mills, beloved of drug lords, that can alter the loops and whorls on your fingertips. It'll set you back 10 Gs, but then, Costa Rican doctors have been known to accept gold Rolexes in lieu of cash.
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