Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Oracle Donates Software for Big Brother Database

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the replication-is-most-popular-feature dept.

United States 215

8onal writes: "C|Net is reporting that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has followed through with his threat, I mean promise, to assist with Uncle Sam's crimefighting efforts. "...Ellison said he has delivered Oracle's 9i database management software to a U.S. government agency for national security, but he declined to give further details, such as which agency or for what usage." Seeing as how he has already supplied the CIA with software, I bet it went to another 3-letter group."

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Lum (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659056)

I love you, Lum! Calculus is fun, too, and Katy is mean.

Re:Lum (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659073)

You beat me to it.

But you didn't beat me to this:
Hot grits, Natalie Portman petrified, All your base, Stephen King is dead, The Linux is gay conspiracy and Taco-Snotting!

What did I miss?

fuck you! (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659067)

Oracle Donates Software for Big Brother Database

"Primary Key" option voted out by all data types.

Will somebody please kill Katz? Soon? I know this article isn't by him, but that's got nothing to do with it.

Ellison's interests (4, Flamebait)

mwillems (266506) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659074)

Seems to me Larry Ellison is being rather opportunistic here, plus, this fits in well with his world vision, which has always been centralistic and in favour of control - I remember Oracle giving me a presentation once about their expense system at Oracle: all expense reports worldwide! go to (and are approved in) one central database in the US head office. Not for good database reasons but for control reasons. See also the NIC (thin client)- central control, again.

Having said that, opportunism in the light of Sep 11 is not restricted to Oracle. Companies like Siebel, MS, and many others have also tried to gain market share. I am sure we all see through this.


Re:Ellison's interests (2, Insightful)

bani (467531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659097)

Of course he's being opportunistic. Lots of people have been shamlessly exploiting the 9/11 attacks for their own selfish motives.

The white house is doing it, congress is doing it, spammers are doing it. I'm actually suprised m$ hasnt stepped up to the plate already...

Re:Ellison's interests (2, Interesting)

carlos_benj (140796) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659164)

Seems to me Larry Ellison is being rather opportunistic here...

A business that isn't opportunistic to some degree will fail. With businesses involved in disaster recovery for instance, not stepping up marketing efforts in light of 9/11 would be foolish. People's minds are more tuned to the message, as they should have been before the events. I think the difference between that scenario and what Ellison is doing is that he is trying to use the tragedies to create a perceived need for something that will be of little real value and might cause considerable harm. In short, he's not far removed from those collecting for bogus charities "helping" New York Police and Firefighters' families.

Re:Ellison's interests (1)

scottj (7200) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659239)

I must add here that central systems are typically good for the employee. I recently left a company which had many different, regional expense reporting systems. On the occasion that I would perform work in a different region than where I lived (which, as a consultant, happened often), I would have to deal with tons of extra red tape to get my money back from the company. With one central system, work for another region would be no different from work at home as far as expenses are concerned.

Anyway, I know this is a bit off-topic, but Larry's not totally crazy.

Re:Ellison's interests (2, Funny)

dcocos (128532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659381)

I'd be willing to bet that anyone will be able to login with SCOTT/TIGER and SYSTEM/MANAGER so it won't be too hard to figure out what data they are collecting.

Re:Ellison's interests (2)

dazed-n-confused (140724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659417)

their expense system at Oracle: all expense reports worldwide! go to (and are approved in) one central database in the US head office. Not for good database reasons but for control reasons.

The Register [] has a couple of good stories about how this system screwed over two other vast enterprises that tried to use it: Marconi [] and Cisco [] .

Re:Ellison's interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659496)

You think Bill Gates is the evil one? This guy scares me way more than Bill...

oooh! oooh! (0, Troll)

rewtbeer (301781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659075)

please let me into the octogon!! please!?!?!


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659078)

05 December 2001 : Names of Two US Soldiers Killed in Martyrdom Operation


AFGHANISTAN: The following information has been provided by Mujahid Sheikh Abu Khalid Abdullah Al-Waleed as a challenge for the Pentagon to refute it. He said that the Mujahideen possess all the necessary proof and evidence for the information given here, which will be publicised if Allah makes it possible. It is one of the series of authentic news reports from Afghanistan that have been related over the Internet to heal the hearts of the Muslims and boost their morale.

On Monday 26 November 2001 (10 Ramadan 1422), Sheikh Abu Khalid Abdullah Al- Waleed conducted an interview with the husband of the martyred sister, after the Isha Prayer. There was a convoy that was getting ready to depart areas surrounding Kunduz, so the brother of the martyred sister suggested that they wait until the Americans arrived. The brother and sister had in their possessions passports whose names suggested that they were Jews of British nationality. They planned to inform the enemy troops that were not Mujahideen, in order to save themselves from being killed or captured. When they initially arrived in Mazar-i-Sharif, they were able to successfully protect themselves by using this cover story. However, they were advised not to leave without weapons with which they could defend themselves if the situation demanded it. However, the husband suggested to his brother-in-law that instead of carrying weapons, he should give some explosives to his wife which she can detonate if they are captured, thus killing the enemy soldiers along with them. Thus they did as they had planned and the sister strapped a belt of explosives around her waist.

The brother and sister thus went to the positions of the Shiite Hizbi-Wahdah faction and General Dostum's forces. Since they were on foot, the enemy fired upon them and they then jumped to the floor and did not return fire. When the enemy saw that they were not acting in a hostile manner, one enemy soldier approached them and they addressed him in English. The soldier thus shouted out to those behind him: "Hold your fire, these are Americans." They then picked up the brother and sister and took them in their jeep into Mazar- i-Sharif where they found an American soldier. The American soldier asked them what they were doing in an area between Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif where they had captured many prisoners. The brother replied that they were aid workers for Oxfam. He praised Allah when the American soldier believed them, not knowing that Oxfam had ceased operations in Afghanistan a long time ago! However, he informed them that he would have to verify their credentials by taking them to his headquarters in Kabul, where hopefully everything could be quickly sorted out. He thus arranged a special car with guards to take them to Kabul.

As the brother managed to get a few quiet moments with his sister, he rehearsed the plan with her. He told her that there were no chance that they could return to either the Mujahideen or the Taliban positions; and nor could they wait until they arrived at Kabul since they would be exposed there. They sat in a truck filled with Russians and accompanied by four armed Shiite Hizbi-Wahdah fighters. In the cabin were two Americans. The brother brought his face closer to the noble face of his sister and she whispered to him, "I am ready. He then told her to repeat "La ilaha illallah..." behind him, which she did in a faint whisper, faint in volume but high in certainty and Iman. He then told her to say, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Upon this we live, upon this we die, upon this we wage Jihad and upon it we hope to be raised up." She repeated this and then put her hand on the detonator button and pressed it.

A roaring tremor shook the truck, which was travelling at 25mph, and it overturned. The brother of the martyred sister managed to jump out of the truck as it left the road, having been injured by the explosion. From his other eye, however, he caught sight of a bright, concentrated, beam of light shining from the truck into the sky whilst the truck was otherwise in flames, in a ditch by the side of the road. Whilst part of the truck was burning, the brother made his way to the cabin to confirm that the two Crusaders did not survive. He saw that the two had perished due to the accident (not the fire) and the bodies of the Shiite fighters were strewn across the road far from the truck. As for the martyred sister, he saw her noble, pure body largely in tact despite the explosion, and he was satisfied that perhaps that beam of light he saw earlier must have taken care of her body.

As it was very late into the night, no-one came on the road. Four hours later, the brother prayed the Fajr Prayer, then he prayed for his martyred sister, the Mujahideen and finally, himself. By that time, the flames around the cabin had died down and the brother returned to it and saw the bodies of the two Americans, covered in blood. He took their sidearms: a 9mm Beretta pistol from one and a German pistol from the other. He then searched their pockets and found their personal identification cards, which read:

NAME: Ronald Stephen Leigh
CITY: Houston, Texas

NAME: Michael Simon Watkins
CITY: Los Angeles, California

Abu Khalid urged the Pentagon to refute these claims and stop hiding information from the American public and the families of the above two Americans regarding US casualties in this war so far. He repeated that the Mujahideen possess the proof of their identification, which will be distributed if Allah makes it easy.

"Jihad will continue against America at all costs, whether Kandahar remains in our hands or not." Taliban Commander Dadullah

KANDAHAR (Daily Islam): The great Taliban commander, Mulla Dadullah said that America should know that this is just the beginning of the war, a war which might last forever and will prove to be the worst nightmare for the Americans, even worse than the former war with the Russians. This war will rid the victims of the whole world from the cruelty and vice of America. In an interview to the 'Daily Islam', he said that the temporary retreats, arrests, wounds, injuries and martyrdoms are all a part of Jihad and that they and all fellow Mujahideen will never let the Muslim Ummah down. He further said that they all are UNITED under the strong leadership of Amee-rul- Mumineen, Mulla Muhammad Umar and that they will not rest in peace until the biggest enemy of Islam (America) is utterly crushed to its end.

Dead Bodies of 30 Gul Agha's Soldiers Reach Baluchistan

KANDAHAR (Islam News): The dead bodies of 30 of Gul Agha's soldiers have reached Baluchistan. They were killed during the first attempt to reach Kandahar, by the enemy. Gul Aga has been smuggling drug barons and gangsters from Baluchistan to Afghanistan to fight against the Mujahideen.


Hmm.. how can I make a headline? (2, Interesting)

jason99si (131298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659082)

My question is, did the XXX agency ASK for a copy of the software, or did Larry just up and give it to them.

I think its more likely that he tracked down an address and just mailed it out so he could get in the CNET headlines.. as well as increase pressure to implement his proposed system.

Re:Hmm.. how can I make a headline? (0)

Pi3.142 (538027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659106)

No - I think he just did -


* substitute XXX for your favorite TLA ( Agency ).!

Re:Hmm.. how can I make a headline? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659331)

mod this up..

Building (2, Insightful)

dbitter1 (411864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659083)

Even with the software, the database still has to be built... I assume some of the radical [domestic, non-terrorist] militias [/cults/political activists] the ATF would love to watch aren't going to be nice enough to forward dirt on themselves in electronic format...

Standard marketing technique (5, Insightful)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659084)

If the US governement really falls for this obvious marketing technique, they are dumber then I allready thought they were. Having worked within the Dutch government I know that once a database has been addopted, it hardly ever gets replaced for another dbms. They might build another front end, upgrade the dbms, but switching from vendor is just not an option. It is too scary to make such a big step. Oracle knows this and supplying the database for a national ID-card will mean business for life.

Also don't forget, that there will be many government agencies that want to tie in their database with the national ID-database or base their database on it. Oracle will have a foot and a leg in the door there as well.

Re:Standard marketing technique (2)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659138)

Unless of course, they were intending using Oracle anyway. Something that doesn't seem unlikely given the size of the project.

Re:Standard marketing technique (1)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659226)

Unless of course, they were intending using Oracle anyway. Something that doesn't seem unlikely given the size of the project.

Maybe, though on this side of the ocean, IBM with OS/390 and DB2 seem to be most popular for massive databases. But since they're getting it for free.... I am willing to bet they haven't payed yet. Larry Ellison is still a long way from being as rich as Bill Gates, so he won't pass on any nickel he finds on the streets. :-)

Re:Standard marketing technique (2, Informative)

humps (245087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659274)

>>but switching from vendor is just not an option.
nope, it is always an option. Its not an if the people implementing the middleware were lazy and used all the database specific functions. If the middleware is implemented in such a way that it only requires a generic API (such as JDBC, ODBC, and yes I know not every db implements all optional JDBC/ODBC features), changing the database is not a difficult task and I've seen it in big corps. Its also not an option when a contract is still effective.

I use pure JDBC, I switch db from Oracle to SQLServer2k to DB2 or MySQL back and forth. Stupid middleware implementation is to be blamed. And Larry won't get business for life if a better cheaper db is out there.

Credit cards as an example...? (2, Insightful)

bani (467531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659086)

Oh dear.

credit cards are among the easiest systems to defraud.

And here Ellison is touting them as an example for the national ID system to follow?

It's just more proof that Ellison is hitting the crack pipe especially hard these days.

And AFAIK Ellison has still not answered those simple questions that were posed to him, eg "what terrorists, if any, would a national ID card system have stopped?"

Re:Credit cards as an example...? (2)

DavidpFitz (136265) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659372)

Perhaps he meant the security which companies such as Visa employ. CC's themselves aren't very secure (in terms of fraud) but you can bet Visa's systems are rock solid. You may hear that's web site was cracked open are CC numbers got at, but that's nothing to do with Visa's own database security (which, incedentally rund DB2) -- so is Ellison saying the US Government should move to DB2?! :-)

Standards (4, Funny)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659087)

Ein folk, Ein reich, Ein RDBMS?

What? The form you must fill as you enter the US asking if you're a terrorist, nazi or have participated in any genocides recently isn't enough?

Re:Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659388)

Hmmmm... Well, if they asked 'software genocide', then maybe we could convince BG to take a trip outside the USA (and, no, not a weekend getaway to BC, either), and then we could keep him out...

Umm... (2, Insightful)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659088)

Don't companies give software to the govt all the time, or am I missing something? I know they're donating it but I don't think the problem here is this. I think the problem is Ellison's continued push for those id cards and mass public data records (bettering those of the fbi, etc). I'm sure this is unconstitutional somewhere involving privacy, etc. I'm just waiting for microsoft to roll out Windows XP smartcard edition, so not only will .NET passport book you a flight online but you'll need it to get you on the damn plane.

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

grid geek (532440) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659181)

From a UK perspective we don't get software given as such but have meaningful "parnerships" with industry where they match government funding for research projects, usually meaning software. This gives them a zero opportunity cost, ensures all the students / researchers know their software (and will take this knowledge into industry a couple of years later) and get access to the latest research. It's not a problem, it's just part of the research business and doesn't usually cause too many problems.

I don't know too much about the US constitutional issues but the right of privacy (or right to be left alone according to the Supreme Court) doesn't usually extend to hiding from the gov.

I guess a single system would be good to tie in birth & death certificates, tax records, driving licences, medical stuff etc from the perspective of making it really hard to create false identities (or really easy if you happen to be the government) but what of identity theft?

All you'd need to do is get in the one system and you could take over someones life. Kinda scary. Especially if you could then reclassify someone as a terrorist at the stroke of a key.

Larry's not alone (2)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659298)

Paul Allen of Microsoft fame, to name another financial heavyweight, is also putting his money where his beliefs are. I respect their rights to support causes that they like, I just wish there were a little less lying and misdirection by them, plus a little less blind acceptance by the other parties involved.

Or else, that I was only a hairsbreadth [] away from [] being able to do the same kind of things. (-:

Posting (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659090)

Post post post post post, posty post post. Like my post? I have lots of post. Many post. Post. Did I mention there was post? POST!

] post


posty post post posting like a posty poster feel my post, all my post are belong to meeeeeee post post post


In the morning when I wake up, I have a post.

Did it ever occur to you.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659092)

..that he doesn't have a choice in the first place? Remember, in America you're only allowed to code what the government can -use- now.

Did it ever occur to you.. (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659148)

.. that starting your post in the Subject line is obnoxious, and pisses a lot of people off? It's like the whole "Two Words: Bill Gates" or "Two Words: Pay Raise" thing. Two words my sphincter.

Aside from that, keep up the good work. You are a valuable member of the slashdot community, and I appreciate your input.


What's the problem (2, Troll)

YearOfTheDragon (527417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659100)

"Ellison has followed through with his threat, I mean promise,"
What's so bad with that?
Control isn't bad itself.
If I put a Troll or an Off-topic I get a -1 and if I put an interesting comment I get a plus.
That's control, and is good. Moderation is used very bad sometimes. But the goal is fine.
What matters is not that the CIA has that information, but what does with it.

Re:What's the problem (2, Interesting)

1D10T (455536) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659136)

Basically you are right. The problem I see is that the government might be able to put it to bad uses. If you allow certain control this might be ok while there is the current government. But remember what happens when a person like Hitler gets the power. He may put the existing infrastructure to his own bad uses. That is the time when you see you shouldn't have allowed the control, because it could be used to your own bad.

Re:What's the problem (1)

nrosier (99582) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659170)

Security and privacy just don't go together. Americans are soo keen on their "privacy" but they are also the country that has the nice systems like Carnivore and Echelon. And what do these systems do? Tap telephones, sniff email etc... It seems to me that privacy is alright as long as it's the American's privacy and then still, who can say that those systems (and others) aren't used today to spy on Americans as well?
I don't see why having a identity card is such a bad thing. Today, you already need a driver's license if you want to by alcohol or a social security number if you want a job. Tell me, what's the difference?

World Wide Problem (1)

YearOfTheDragon (527417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659194)

Not only americans are observed by Echelon.
US wins Spain's favour with offer to share spy network material []
ETA (a terrorist group from Spain) is one of the tarjets of Echelon.

And I'm sure that CIA is not planing to get information only about Americans but about any person in the world that get caught in his net.
Even worst: "Unlike information on US citizens, which officially cannot be kept longer than a year, information on foreigners can he held without time limit."
So Echelon is a WWP not only USA.

Re:What's the problem (2, Insightful)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659200)

A /.'er with a [port scanner/cd burner/whatever] is okay, because he will use it for good, not evil.

But government with a whatever is not okay, because it will use it for evil, not good?

So you trust yourself, but not the government. Fine, the government trusts itself, and but you.

Re:What's the problem (0)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659343)

A /.'er with a [port scanner/cd burner/whatever] is okay, because he will use it for good, not evil.

Private property owned by citizens is legal until they use that property to break the law. The only exception being the DMCA, which can be violated by possessing a thought, i.e. thoughtcrime.

But government with a whatever is not okay, because it will use it for evil, not good?

A government with a whatever is in this case a government with a law mandating all citizens to have a national I.D. card. For reasons cited in numerous posts here, the very existence of this law would be evil.

Analogies that compare private property and laws are stupid.


Re:What's the problem (0, Offtopic)

OldCrasher (254629) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659281)

Moderation isn't control. It's censure. Control would be CowboyNeal coming over to your place of computing, chopping off your fingers for typing the blasphemy, then dusting you over, imprisoning your loved ones, having your car repossessed, strangling the cat... Oh, I'm enjoying this too much!

But '-1' is NOT control, no way, no how.

Another 3-letter group (4, Funny)

IainMH (176964) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659101)

Seeing as how he has already supplied the CIA with software, I bet it went to another 3-letter group

Not AOL?!! They are the people we fear the most!

Re:Another 3-letter group (3, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659110)

The M.I.B.?

Nah, they use alien technology.

The I.B.M.?

Nah, they develop alien technology :)

Re:Another 3-letter group (2)

codemonkey_uk (105775) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659169)

Perhaps it was the FSF. That would be a turn up for the books. :)

Re:Another 3-letter group (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659266)

Pj3ar the {PTA, NFL, NRA, PBS, BSA}!!

Stupid lameness filter.

Re:Another 3-letter group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659403)

Ah, I've got it: NPR - for their streaming audio servers. Every story gets a separate entry in The Database...

Why this does not matter (5, Insightful)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659102)

1. If Larry Ellison offered you a free copy of arguably the #1 database server (and the most expensive) on the market, would you turn him down?

2. The article makes no mention of what kind of data will be stored in the database server.

Even if there is no 'National ID card' information, Ellison saved our government lots of money by giving us expensive software. Lobbying the legislature, writing congress letters, etc. is up to us.

IMHO, the government probably listened to his schpiel, said thanks, and used the software for something else besides the ID card.

Re:Why this does not matter (1)

lupetto (16876) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659143)

Larry Ellison offers a free copy of oracle to everyone. It can be found on oracle's website [] .

Re:Why this does not matter (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659178)

But ooooooooooh its a database...and as we all know, databases are only used for bad reasons! Just think, they might arrest the wrong person! better to arrest no-one, and just hope there are no bad people around...

Re:Why this does not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659459)

Fuck that, I say we arrest everybody. God knows our prisons are underpopulated.

Re:Why this does not matter (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659394)

1. If Larry Ellison offered you a free copy of arguably the #1 database server (and the most expensive) on the market, would you turn him down?

But is it free? What about upgrades? Support costs? Machines to run it on? Administrators? etc.

"Here is your brand new copy of Oracle 9i. Did I happen to mention that Oracle 10 will be released next week? Can I put you down for a copy? It's a bargain at only $40,000."

hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659108)

Three letter government agency... hmmm...



Good thing they beat M$ to it (2)

The 14 year old (208473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659114)

Microsoft could have "donated" their passport "technology" to the government, and we all know that could lead to very bad things. Damned be the day that my hotmail account is bound to a National ID Card!

Look at the history of SSN (4, Insightful)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659119)

One of the most popular uses of the Social Security Number is stalking your ex-spouse [] . Larry's database should make this... easier?

Then there's the ACLU's stance [] : There must be no national ID system -- either in law or in practice.

But all of this means nothing, and preaching to the /. choir is pointless. There's only one number the politicians will look at. And it's this one [] .

If you want to do something proactive, try to do something about that.

Re:Look at the history of SSN (0)

Jingle Returno (531353) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659241)

How can one move a population unaware/unconcerned about the complications of national government? At least lawmakers/thinkers are being shown on tv now I hear (albright, freidman, and others, even franzen.) But still, when Kansas wants to fuck up the evil, and the president does to, what else do they need to know? What else do they want to know?

Re:Look at the history of SSN (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659279)

  • preaching to the /. choir is pointless. There's only one number the politicians will look at. And it's [opinion polls]

You're being too simplistic. Other numbers that can effect their decision:

  • Number of $50 bills in the brown paper bag passed under the table in the diner.
  • Number of roofied cheerleaders in the back of the limo.
  • Number of useless idiot nephews who can be given PR jobs with a fat expense account and no job description within the bidder's company.

This isn't meant to be funny. We have honest politicians, but not enough, and a system where 90% of career incumbents are re-elected doesn't exactly encourage honesty or integrity.

I think we've already lost the national ID card argument. All we have to worry about now is how well the system is implemented, and how many false positives it will generate when despatching the MIBs to apprehend evil doers. Given that law enforcement in increasingly using SWAT tactics these days (whether they're trained in them or not) even for such dangerous criminals as computer crackers, I'd hope that whatever system we settle on actually works, especially if it's going to be used by all branches of government at all levels.

If Sally Secretary is going to initiate a paramilitary action against Karl Kracker just by typing in his ID number, I'd far rather that there are safeguards in place to ensure that the goons actually go to Karl's house and not mine. In that respect, an Oracle system might be the least of a host of evils.

Consider the alternative: who do you want to make go away today?

Question, what's so wrong with this? (2, Flamebait)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659129)

Question, we have the right to privacy, but do we also have the right to anonymity?

I think it's too much fuss about the inevitable.


3 letter groups? (1, Offtopic)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659130)

Seeing as how he has already supplied the CIA with software, I bet it went to another 3-letter group.

Like EFF? Or FSF?

Please, we must not allow our emotions to take over, or we might start hating ALL groups of three letters, which would be a tragedy...

Re:3 letter groups? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659139)

Or even shock horror MFI [] .

Responsibility (3, Interesting)

Tomcat666 (210775) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659132)

We've had it with people working in medicinal areas (they developed the Hippocratic oath to make sure only to help the people), and with scientists (remember Hiroshima?).

It seems like programmers are in the focus now. Would you write software that will be used in military devices (to kill people)? To observe people and violate their privacy? How can you know what your software is used for?

We should take care of what we are doing when we publish and/or write a piece of software.

This also has some interesting aspects for open source licenses like the GPL. There's no part of the GPL forbidding the use of the licensed software for militaristic purposes (wrong?) or privacy intrusion (to stay on topic). Since most hackers are friendly people and the GPL reflects a big part of the hacker ethics, it should probably restrict the use of your software for the "wrong" purposes.

On the other hand, if you're not as pacifistic and freedom-loving as I am, you might say that the GPL shouldn't restrict the use of software so much. But then I think programmers should consider NOT to release a program if it could be used in a bad way.

Hackers are putting so much love and work and spare time into their projects that they are thinking about its possibilities anyway, so maybe the only danger here is commercial software, written only to earn money.

Re:Responsibility (-1, Offtopic)

davmct (195217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659219)

You should rent the movie "Cube". It's quite amusing what you can imagine people are brought together to build without their knowledge...

Re:Responsibility (1)

Tomcat666 (210775) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659363)

I saw it... I was shocked and scared... and it made my paranoia against the government even stronger. :)

Data already available (1)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659133)

Who cares what database is used for this?

The data is already available for anyone in at least three [] individual [] states [] .

But which OS!?!? (0, Offtopic)

paulywog (114255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659146)

Blah blah blah...

But which platform did he provide the software for!?! That's the important question. He better be insisting that the government be running their Oracle database on Linux... or atleast some UNIX platform.


Re:But which OS!?!? (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659168)

Probably something like this [] or this [] or something else even bigger iron...

Re:But which OS!?!? (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659197)

Something like this? []

Re:But which OS!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659453)

How about this? []

Notice the rapid deployment features...

And remember that those are 64 bit machines, and they're not Unobtaniums, either...

Re:But which OS!?!? (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659204)

Do you seriously think he is going to recommend NT and an easy future migration to SQL Server? Some people in the government already don't know anything except for microsoft and why make it worse?

Re:But which OS!?!? (2)

Jburkholder (28127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659303)

You know, I'd love to know some of the details of this transaction (although that would take away some of the fun of wild speculation).

I'm really scratching my head about what, if any, strings Larry was able to put on this 'gift'. Doesn't seem to likely he would be able to steer the way this goes by putting conditions on his donation.

"Here, I'm granting a 'special-use' license to the US Federal Government for unlimited instances of Oracle9i. Now, you can use these any way you see fit for the national id card project, with just a few 'provisoes'. First, you can't ever run it on or with any Microsoft software. Next, blah blah blah...."

"Um, okay. Gee thanks."

I'd have to guess Oracle would have to gift this software with no strings, other than stuff to cover their butt.

Re:But which OS!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659393)

This is one case I definitely WANT NT to be used! I would want this system to BSOD as often as possible.

Re:But which OS!?!? (1)

defaulthtm (464486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659414)

I would take Ellison a lot more seriously if he were to come up with the hardware and a development crew along with the software.

Hmmm... Three letters (1)

i1984 (530580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659158)

...I bet it went to another 3-letter group.

That can only mean the most terrifying, powerful, and secretive agency in the whole of the government... .


The I.R.S!!!


With Oracle's powerful software they'll be able to haggle happles taxpayers over previously unimaginably complex, nuanced, obscure articles of tax code!

Why couldn't the NSA just use it implement some sort of Big-Brother national ID card thing?!

Dear god Ellison...have you no heart?!

Re:Hmmm... Three letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659470)

Dear god Ellison...have you no heart?!

Geesh - I thought THAT fact had been established long ago! Just ask any of his former cookies^H^H^H^H^H^H^H, er, Administrative Assistants. Or, for that matter, anyone living near the ends of the runways in San Jose who try to sleep at night...

He must still think he needs to put on a show for GQ Bob (Palmer) or something...

NSA scrutiny (3, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659162)

Seeing as how he has already supplied the CIA with software, I bet it went to another 3-letter group.
...Where everyone looking at it is having fits of laughter having a look at the "security" features...

Re:NSA scrutiny (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659391)

Where everyone looking at it is having fits of laughter having a look at the "security" features...

You say that, but let me tell you, I don't think you could take over a Unix host if the SQL*Net port was the only one open to you. And I have never in my years of working with Oracle come across someone with a password on one schema being able to get at any other schemas that they hadn't been granted. Certainly the quality of Oracle's "security" is higher than that in almost every Unix.

Turf wars among the intelligence agencies (3, Insightful)

fhwang (90412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659163)

In the story, Ellison is quoted as saying: "There is cooperation (among government agencies). But there's a lot of data fragmentation."

Of course, one of the biggest reasons for the data fragmentation is that that intelligence agencies don't cooperate -- if anything, they're notorious for their turf wars. Ellison is downplaying the organizational battles in order to pitch his technical solution.

One of the causes of the turf war is that the intelligence agencies are poorly defined and poorly monitored. Once an intelligence agency is created, it tends to have a life of its own. Case in point: The CIA was originally chartered to help the U.S. fight the Cold War, something it did with laughable incompetence at times. But when the Cold War ended -- an event which took the agency entirely by surprise -- nobody at the CIA thought "Since our job is done, let's tell Congress to shut us down so we can be unemployed." No, of course, they looked around for other threats to pitch to the White House. With terrorism, they seem to have found it.

Except for the fact that much of the anti-terrorism work will be domestic, and that therefore it falls under the aegis of the FBI, instead. But can you imagine the CIA bosses, always anxious about Congressional funding and eager to get into the anti-terrorism spotlight, staying out of the fray? Forget about it.

Re:Turf wars among the intelligence agencies (2)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659186)

There is still a lot of work work for the CIA. It's charter is to collect intel information from all foreign governemnts, including allies. And bin laden isn't exactly an American citizen and falls out of the FBI's jurisdiction.

But you're excatly right about the life of it's own. I used to work for the DoD and they will think up of anything to keep their jobs alive. It could be the most useless army unit or agency, but they will find ways to say how indispensible they are to national security.

Re:Turf wars among the intelligence agencies (1)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659324)

Not to mention the bumbling idiots over at the Interior Department. The Wallstreet Journal [] is reporting this morning that an independent company was hired by the Justice Department to investigate the security risk in the Indian Accounting System. The one that is used to pay the Indians rents, royalties, etc. for the use of their land.

They were able to hack the system undetected. No wonder Bruce Babbitt had to lie, we couldn't handle the truth that the Hundreds of Millions may have been stolen by hackers.

Re:Turf wars among the intelligence agencies (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659350)

Another problem, as far as I understand it anyway, is that there is alot of overlap betwen the agencies. For example, the NSA overlaps alot with the CIA, both in their goals and how they achieve them. And the NSA ovrlaps in some areas (Satelite communications monitoring, etc) with the US Military. Not to mention how much the responsibilities of the various domestic agencies (FBI, US Marshals, local police) overlap.

Re:Turf wars among the intelligence agencies (2)

wfrp01 (82831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659359)

In the story, Ellison is quoted as saying: "There is cooperation (among government agencies). But there's a lot of data fragmentation."

It follows that Larry believes the answer is to consolodate all this data into one massive system.

There's an expression "don't put all of your eggs in one basket". It applies well to this and any other situation where people say "there are too many competing ways of doing X". Sure, this "fragmentation" Larry abhors can be a pain in the ass sometimes. But I'd certainly rather have a little chaos here and there, than one massive central point of failure. Remember what happened to the centrally controlled economy of the former Soviet Union?

Worried (0)

knurr (161310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659166)

There is nothing i can think of to make me feel better about our goverment sometimes. I understand safety. But I also feel like i am loosing my freedom. Like if i fart wrong someone will read my email.

I know i must sound paranoid. I just feel that the goverment is going to eventually fuck me and all the peolple like me and the only thing i would be able to do, if i wanted to be a "computer savy" person, Is to move to another county.

There is nothing i did. I am just affraid of a Hackor witch hunt one day. Stupid people who understand nothing about the net, computers, selling you out to get on the news for 15 minutes of fames. Innocnet newbies sniifing aroung the wrong area getting arrested for innocent crimes.

The net society might get crazy in the next 10 years. We as techies/geeks help build the current economy but as soon as we are deemed a threat, we will be elliminated...

How exactly does this change anything? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659177)

Sure, it may be a marketing gimmick, but in reality, what does this change? If the gov't wasn't planning on creating a national ID card system, getting a complete Oracle system isn't going to change their minds.

On the other hand, if they *were* planning on creating a national ID card system, it's a pretty safe bet that they'd choose Oracle as a platform.

So, other than Ellison making sure his name stays in the headlines (There's an entire industry that revolves around keeping people's names in the headlines, so this is nothing new), what's the harm here? This act alone is not going to create a national ID card system.

Where do I sign up... (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659179)

So it looks like all the movies made years ago are going to be true. The govt is going monitor every living soul in the US, and probably the world (sorry to those of you outside the country, but... it is the US). So with that in mind... I surrender. Give me my card and my new name. Give me my own personal observation satellite and spyware dental work. From what I've seen... they go easy on you if you just give in. So... are you listening my beloved republican govt? I give up... (sorry suckers... but I got dibs on this first... might as well be a subservient asskisser before it gets trendy)

Re:Where do I sign up... (-1, Offtopic)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659198)

You think the republicans are bad, the democrats are even worse. They want to federalize everything and everyone. With them the federal government should be doing everything. And if you make more than minimum wage then you should be paying 70% of your income in taxes.

It was the democrats who made the IRS so feared, and in the 90's the Republican congress put a muzzle on the IRS.

Re:Where do I sign up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659398)

You don't get a name. From now on, you will be known only by your social security number.

Oh woe is me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659184)

The DMV have finally got a database... how will we ever cope with the government knowing who owns what car/van/truck...

wait a minute...

who cares... what better place to keep all the goverment fantasy football/basketball/any other sport information...

Model 204 is the database of choice (1)

Teratogen (86708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659207)

I don't see why he bothered. Relational databases suck major buttocks. Model 204 is the workhorse database of choice for the United States Government.

Re:Model 204 is the database of choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659410)

Relational databases suck major buttocks

Maybe, but unlike M204, you can store data longer than 255 characters in a field without resorting to that multiply-occuring crap ;)

M204 was good, had great indexing technology, but CCA never put in the effort to keep it up-to-date, provide a halfway decent SQL implementation via ODBC or port it to *ix.

CCA hasn't sold any M204 for a long time. They're just milking the maintenance dollars and sacking employees until the user-base drifts away.

Information is Power (-1)

davmct (195217) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659211)

Larry is a munchkin-megalomaniac. He can't afford to not get his grubby little fingers into every piece of cake, especially if its a money cake. Who cares' who's birthday it is...
IMHO, I believe Larry's doing this for one of the following reasons:
1) Free publicity. (I'm saving America from the Taliban).
2) The 52-page license agreement the NSA was forced to sign which stipulates that Oracle will provide all custom development, installation, and configuration at an hourly rate of an employee's first born.
3) You get this huge mondo database, but you have to share the information with me!!! THe Oracle-backdoor trojan virus which allows Larry to peruse the addresses of hot chicks to invite over to his private jet getaway.

WHy not MS-SQL 2000? (1)

bodland (522967) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659232)

Then the US Gov would'nt have to, (as one developer told me once) "...put up with all that Oracle crap." Dirty writing is cool.

what do you mean? (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659255)

You're telling me that the agency that focuses on the nation's electronic security didn't already have a version of one of the most-widely used databases in their labs? Maybe we should be worried.

I'm Big Brother! (1, Funny)

jeff13 (255285) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659264)

Ha ha ha ha ha !!!

I am Big Brother! Your profiles are mine! Your social numbers! Credit card! Who you voted for! All your international Echelon flagged phone calls! And your mother!

Thanx Larry. :)

You must shitting me! (-1, Flamebait)

cryofan2 (243723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659423)

From you slashdot user info site: "Thirty something geeky cartoonist with the flair and personality of Eeyore. Oh bother. ;)"

You are 30-something?!! Your comments read like *thirteen*-something!

Larry's fantasy world (1)

chad_r (79875) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659275)

Note that this is just Ellison at a customer conference, and nowhere did the article mention the government's opinion. I recently read (sorry, no link) that few in the government is taking this the least bit seriously, including Congress. Remember that it wasn't too long ago that some House members (a few Republicans) were advocating not filling out the 2000 census form or lying on it, despite it being required by the Constitution.

In terms of cost, I would think the cost of the hardware is a pittance compared to the difficulties in organizing disparate agencies, each with their own data formats.

different version of the constitution? (1)

eclectric (528520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659448)

Mine says (In article 1, section 2)

"The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."

Where does it say that people are constitutionally required to fill out a census form? Perhaps I'm being too literal, but this seems to be directed at the Congress, not the people, on what they *have* to do.

Somebody had to do it... (-1, Offtopic)

Kansas1024 (535243) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659289)

I can see it now: All Your Personal Information Are Belong To Us. You have no chance to survive make your time.

a manilla life (0)

K0R$ h4x0r ru1z (533828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659294)

Interesting the medium by which they access/assess you.

Even more interesting is the extent to which they do.

Anyone ever get you FBI file throughout the freedom of information act? You don't have an FBI file? You do now.
Also of interest: many of the /. crowd were perhaps in gifted programs throught elementary/secondary education. Guess who they start up a file for as soon as you enter special education. Don't believe me? Neither does Larry Ellison. Which is why it'll all be alright

But I do suggest checking out whats churning through the soon to be oracle tentacles. You may be surprised.

I'm disappointed (2, Funny)

blonde rser (253047) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659322)

I wake up and still in a haze I check /. to find a headline containing "Oracle" "Donates" and "Big Brother." So I assume that Oracle is donating software to help children's charities... only to be brought back into the cynical reality when I read the article and realize the Orwelian reference. Too bad

Don't worry your lil peabrains (0, Flamebait)

cryofan2 (243723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659335)

The rich folks aint gonna let that mean ol Big Brother take over. You know why? No, you don't, but I'll tell you why: because if everything were known (transparent society, such as would be provided by Big Brother, and national IDs), then the rich folks would not be able to exploit our jointly owned property (the USA) as they have been doing. And then do you know what would happen? You. the little guy (with the lil peabrain) would actually get more of the beenfits accruing from your share of the joint ownership of the USA. The rich folks would have to pay more for nannies, dishwashers, programmers, etc. But like I said, don't worry, cuz the rich uns pay the TV people to keep you lil guys all stirred up about "Big Brother". That way they can keep ripping you off. So like I said don't worry your lil pea brain, just turn on the TV. There ya go...

Re:Don't worry your lil peabrains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659478)

No, actually, the rich people pay US to keep YOU all stirred up. It's trickle down -- you see? So, you pea and peanut brains, well shoot, it's just not fair. Golly, even I'm victim and I've got a walnut-size brain. Of course, us "wallys" have at least developed self-awareness.

No Such Agency (1)

dr_doogie01 (188072) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659361)

You honestly think that they would Oracle for data storage?

These people practically invented the term! They already have the largest intelligence database in the world - and no, I'm not a crackpot conspiracy theorist (it says so on the nsa/gchq website).

If you want to know more, read the great book "Body Of Secrets" by James Bamford.

All your database are belong to Scarey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659366)

When you connect your Oracle boxen to the internet Scarey Ellison can access your data.

Re:All your database are belong to Scarey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2659498)

And we'll finally know your real name, Anonymous Coward!

Oh, shit, and mine too. Me so scared!!!

The question is.... (4, Insightful)

darrad (216734) | more than 12 years ago | (#2659438)

Do we really want any database that contains the kind of information we are talking about running on a piece of software developed by a corporate entity.

I may be a Black Hellicopter KOOK here, but I am thinking back the the movie, "The Net"(Bad movie, good story)

If the US Government sets up this database, running on software developed by any third party, then security will always be a problem. How many "Easter Egg" type bugs exist in most of today's software. What happens if one of the coders at Oracle was having a bad day, and added a backdoor to the database, and then publishes the path to it on the Internet?

I don't pretend to have a solution to this, short of not doing anything, which is probably the best thing we can do. Knee-jerk reactions to the events of 9/11 will end up costing us more than the actual events.

I think someone should propose to Ellison to have all of his personal data (credit card #'s, SSN, financial statements, "real" income, not what is reported to the IRS)stored in an Oracle database that is web-enabled. That will tell us all we need to know.

Scary stuff....
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>