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Bruce Sterling On Total Information Awareness

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the seeing-the-future-and-walking-backward dept.

Privacy 488

securitas writes "Declan McCullagh interviews Bruce Sterling about Total Information Awareness (renamed Terrorist Information Awareness and raising concerns) or 'Poindexter's nutty scheme' as Sterling thinks of it. He predicts TIA will destabilize the government and lead to internal KGB-style coups. Whether you agree with him or not it makes for thought-provoking reading."

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yay (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146451)

jungle wa itsumo hale nochi guu

Well (2, Funny)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146458)

That's all well and good but I think what we all want to know is what William Gibson thinks about T.I.A.

(Feel Free to Insert another Author's Name, or the people I turn to for public policy, Hollywood Actors.)

Also in the interview, he mentions that Bruce Sterling is not his real name. With talk of "coups inside the Republican Party" and the KGB, I think that Bruce Sterling is Tom Clancy's pseudonym.

BTW, when he says "Poindexter" he is not refering to us computer nerds, he means John Poindexter [wikipedia.org] , programmer, Navy Admiral, National Security Advisor, etc.

Re:Well (3, Informative)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146479)

>John Poindexter, programmer, Navy Admiral, >National Security Advisor, etc.

You forgot convicted criminal.

Re:Well (1)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146516)

No. It was later overturned.

Re:Well (0, Offtopic)

nursedave (634801) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146810)

Well.... not to pick nits, but...
Bill Clinton was not convicted by the Senate. He still was impeached.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146634)

Last month there was a /. article about William Gibson addressing the Directors Guild of America. His remarks closed essentially telling his audience that in n years people would be consuming their classic films with software designed to super-impose the heads of dogs over the actors and then pause the action to participate in a kung-fu knock down using Meryl Streep with dog head on top as the protagonist.

Now Sterling is telling us that deep databases of personal info will destabalize our government causing shifts in power so fast that it essentially doom our country. Even though in the begining of the interview he says he doesnt think the system has much traction, later on he seems to imply that the result is inevitable (ala google) and the answer is to leave the country (presumably to one that doesnt have google)

What is with science fiction authors being relied on to predict the future? Haven't we shown time after time that science fiction is in fact a horrible way to try to get a handle on the next fifty years? If we actually followed sci-fi these days we'd commute back and forth from the moon, have life like robots that do our every whim, attack people with energy weapons and almost never user computers.

I like both of the authors i mentioned but i'll continue to buy their works of fiction and not be planning on hiring either any time soon for a think tank.

Re:Well (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146718)

Given that Bruce Sterling is not his real name, and
he suggests that google would be a simple way to
find out his real name, I wonder what the stats
are for searches on google for Bruce Sterlling
right now?

Re:Well (1)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146754)

Took two minutes but it is Michael Bruce Sterling.

more guns (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146464)

This would be easily solved if everyone had more guns.

Psychological Study of Jewish Children (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146467)

RAMALLA, 8 June 2003 â" A letter from a Jewish child to a Palestinian child, said, âoeI hope you and your family will burn in hell.â These ugly expressions and desires come from an Israeli child who took part in a research study. The study was conducted by an Israeli researcher and translated into Arabic. The study was presented to a teaching committee at the London School of Economics (LSE). The researcher is a former soldier and a member of the anti-terrorist unit in the Israeli army. He studied psychology at the LSE.

The study involved more than eighty Israeli children and it indicates that the current generation is passing a Zionist legacy to the next generation. Zionism is being passed to the younger generation â" even more than knowledge of the Torah. The parents of this generation know how to plant hate and anger toward Arabs in childrenâ(TM)s minds to such an extent that children are happy to hear of the death of Palestinian child or to hear news of a Palestinian officialâ(TM)s being assassinated. The researcher observed the problem and has searched for results and reasons. The reason he conducted the study was because of a contradiction in Israeli policy. In August 2000, Ehud Barak promised to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in August 2001, Sharon was talking about the assassination policy.

The researcher talked to eighty-four children after the suicide bombing in the nightclub. The result shows the hate Israeli children harbor towards Palestinians has reached a high point. Children under the age of eight have pictures in their minds of Palestinian children as blind and with no teeth. They wish that those children would suffer from Aids and burn in hell. Israeli children admitted to these feelings. What is even stranger is that they used very strong language, which cannot be published here.

The researcher asked each child to write a letter to a Palestinian. He also asked them to draw a picture of a Palestinian child. The results were amazing because of the quantity of hate these children under the age of eight manifest. There is a mixture of fear and anger in these children. To begin with, the children asked two questions. The first was whether to write the letter to a good or bad Palestinian and the second was if they could curse in the letter.

These are excerpts from some of the letters written by Israeli children to their Palestinian counterparts. A girl wrote, âoeI wish that you would die and be sick. I am looking forward for the day of your death.â Another child wrote, âoeI do not like what you are doing to us and I hope you die.â Another child wrote, âoeTo disgusting Muhammad, I want you to die. I want you to live a bad life. I do not like you. I hate you because you are terrorists. I hope you burn in hell.â Another child wrote, âoeTo ugly Yassir, do you think you will win? I think you are very wrong. Here is some advice for you â" take a knife and stick it in your fatherâ(TM)s and motherâ(TM)s hearts and then blow yourself up.â Another child wrote, âoeGreetings to a girl who lives with bad people. I want you to tell your father to stop attacking us and for peace to prevail. I hope you will grow old quickly and die fast.â Another one wrote, âoeI hope you are sick and will die quickly.â

An Israeli child drew a cartoon of a Palestinian child watching a suicide bomber on TV and saying as he laughed, âoeThis is exciting. Many people are killed.â Another child wrote, âoeTo me, you are nothing. You are stupid and dissolute. We are going to blow you up until you all die. You are happy because you blow us up and kill us. Wait until we blow you up.â Another child wrote, âoeI know it is difficult to live without a home. I do not like your people fighting my people. We want to live in peace.â Another child wrote, âoeI want to say you are a piece of garbage. I hope you die, amen. That is all what I wanted to say.â Another child said, âoeOh Killers! You are disgusting. Your bodies are rotten. I wish you sons of dogs would all die.â A young child wrote, âoeWhat do you want from us? You have taken everything. Stop.â Another one wrote, âoeThe only thing I want to know is why you look ugly and wear torn clothes. It is easy to distinguish one of you in a crowd. It only makes me sick.â

The researcher said that all Israeli children believe that Arabs are bad and Israelis are good, that Jews want peace and Arabs want war and that Jews are human and Arabs are not. The researcher assures us that such feelings are increasing in these children. The researcher wants to find why Jewish children bear so much hate for Arabs. He asked an Arab child to write a letter to an Israeli child. The researcher said, âoeThe letter came as a shock to me.â The Arab girl wrote, âoeTo the Israeli child that I saw at the Pyramids in Egypt. My father refused to allow me to talk to you. I told him I wanted you to be my friend so I could ask you why Israelis are killing Palestinians.â Now, let us look at the difference of vision between Israeli and Palestinian children.

In the future we may conduct a similar study of Arab childrenâ(TM)s feeling toward Israelis. The most important question is who â" or what â" is responsible for forming these beliefs in young children. Israel has achieved a huge success in molding the minds of children younger than ten. Thus does Zionist thought develop day by day. Hate and anger are being planted in children and this will make it impossible to reach a peace agreement between the two peoples.

Parent is way off topic (-1, Offtopic)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146482)

Parent is way off topic

Re:Parent is way off topic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146489)

Child is way offtopic. STFU zionist.

Re:Parent is way off topic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146531)

God Bless Isreal.

Re:Parent is way off topic (-1, Offtopic)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146514)

so are you fuck nuts. so am i. so is the whole damn system. seriously, you offtopic modders need to get a life

Re:Parent is way off topic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146563)

I'm the AC who post the crap. Sorry. I just opened a newspaper and learned that Palastien supports killing regular people at work or play, all the time. I retract what I said. I love the Jewish people and I thank them for not killing everyone of us as they easily could!!!

Slashdot Humor (5, Funny)

Scoria (264473) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146472)

internal KGB-style coups

In Soviet Russia... oh, forget it.

Re:Slashdot Humor (1)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146559)

The KGB is arrested by YOU!

remember folks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146473)

Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people.

Support citizens rights to use nuclear weapons for hunting and home defense!

Re:remember folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146584)

Can't you spell? Thats nukular. n-u-k-u-l-a-r.

Re:remember folks (2, Funny)

frankjr (591955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146678)

I'm not eating any of the deer you've "cooked."

my thoughts..... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146476)

is that TIA will be a good program for which researchers can get money to do work in data mining, data management, voice processsing technology, etc. Innovations will be made, etc. We all can mostly agree that these are good things.

But what the Pentagon expects to get out of the system will be of little use because of the sheer complexity of it all. I think we can all agree that getting everything together and working in a useful manner. note that I said useful, not correctly. It might work "right" but generate little useful info under all the incoming data.

Re:my thoughts..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146702)

is that TIA will be a good program for which researchers can get money to do work in data mining, data management, voice processsing technology, etc. Innovations will be made, etc. We all can mostly agree that these are good things.

... most of which will be used by employers, insurance companies and the like to further exclude anyone who might jeapordize profits.

And of course (5, Funny)

Nexzus (673421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146477)

What would Total Information Awareness run on?

Total Information Technology.
(with apologies to Robin Williams)

Re:And of course (0, Offtopic)

di0s (582680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146504)

I actually prefer Tits And Tushy myself.

Re:And of course (1)

biobogonics (513416) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146620)

oops. Perhaps TIA accurately describes the mental state of those who proposed this program. TIA = transient ischemic attack, otherwise known as a miniature stroke.

The USA is over as we knew it. (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146490)

We have emarked full tilt into the arena of socialism.

Its been slow in coming, but since 9/11 we have raced towards it as fast as we can, with the publics support. There is still a ways to go, but the momentum is there.. its a matter of ( short ) time.

Its sickening. Looks like the terrorists won, their goal was to elimate the way of life we had here here, and they sure as hell did.

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146511)

We, as a country, have been headed that way for years. 9/11 just accelerated the pace.

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (5, Funny)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146519)

We have emarked full tilt into the arena of socialism.

Oh? My health insurance is still as expensive as fuck, and my college tuitition is $36,000 a year and rising. Those are pretty bad indicators of a "socialist state" forming...

What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

What part of "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" do you not understand?

Read the constitution for your answer (1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146551)

A militia is constituted of *private citizens*, so *I* am part of the militia, as defined and intended by the founders of this country. It is the rights of the individual that the constitution is deigned to protect, not the 'professional military' or the 'government' in general. So yes, I do understand the *entire* amendment, and am curious of your point.

Related to your first comment, isn't that what I said.. that we re heading to the arena of socialism?

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (-1, Troll)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146575)

By "pretty bad indicators" I meant "they show exactly the opposite" - certainly wasn't agreeing with you.

As for the Second Amendment, it is contingent on the need for a private militia to defend the nation. At the time, militias were necessary. Now, with the strongest military in the world, militias are no longer necessary - thus, the right to bear arms is no longer Constitutionally guaranteed.

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (4, Insightful)

DASHSL0T (634167) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146592)

No, the second amendment is set up to guarantee the security and freedom of the state. Period. Full stop.

It makes no distinction between external threats and internal oppression (for a good reason).

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (1)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146594)

That is a swell opinion of yours. You know Hitler for some reason didn't like citizens being armed also....

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146627)

Ah, that fun arguement.

Most of the European democracies don't like their citizens being armed, yet they have no problems with governments being overthrown by dictators.

Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst others, had plenty of weapons and still fell under control of nasty dictatorships.

Debating Tip: If you're going to use something as an example, it's generally not good to have massive amounts of counterexamples.

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146703)

Most of the European democracies don't like their citizens being armed, yet they have no problems with governments being overthrown by dictators.

Well, except for most of Western Europe from 1939-45, and most of Eastern Europe from 1917-91, and Spain from 1938-1975, and Portugal from 1928-1968, and Italy from 1922-45, and Romania from 1948-1989, and the former Yugoslavia right up to the present, and....

What planet do you live on, chum? On mine, Hitler killed 20,000,000 people, and Stalin killed 30 to 50,000,000 (we'll probably never know the exact number). Franco, Ceausescu, Mussolini, and the other murdering thugs weren't in that league, but still accounted for quite a few corpses.

As for France, ever wonder why they're on their Fifth Republic? That's right, it's degenerated 4 times before, generally into some form of autocratic rule.

Debating tip: if you're going to make a claim, it's a good idea to not have your head several feet up your ass.

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (0, Troll)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146716)

I'm not worried about the counterexamples(which are poor because you don't think about fear. Iraq and Afghanistan had people ready to be controlled with fear. American's do not fear our government, as the people of other nations have had cause to fear their governments).

I was just thinking about what you and Hitler have in common. You should read more about him, I bet we have just scratched the surface!

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146747)

Troll.

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146760)

Countering that argument, Saddam didn't mind at all. One could buy all the AK-47s they possibly wanted in downtown Bagdad.

Of course, Hitler didn't have helicopters either.

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146767)

Mod parent down. Godwin's Law. BTW, Gandhi didn't like citizens being armed either.

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146610)

Maybe you should read the writings of the individuals who actually wrote the bill of rights. All 10 apply to the rights of individuals not the rights of government, or perhaps you think it is only the government that has a right to free speech?

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146653)

I'm failing to see the connection between my comment and your comment. There's not an AC post between the two, is there?

Where did I imply that only the government has the right to free speech?

"No longer a guaranteed right"? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146652)

Its attitudes and comments like that that made the constitution necessary in the first place.

I think you need to take a step back, put aside your personal biases, and read the documents for what they are at their most fundamental.. a foundation of a country based on INDIVIDUAL rights and freedoms. Not to be 'molded' over time due to 'feelings'. they are absolute and timeless.

Re:"No longer a guaranteed right"? (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146677)

The Constitution has been "molded" many times over.

In 1939, in the Miller case, the Supreme Court ruled that it was legal to restrict ownership of certain weapons (in this case, a sawed-off shotgun). That differs rather substantially with your interpretation of the Amendment.

their Interpretations are incorrect (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146788)

I never said it hasn't happened, I only speak of what the original intent was..

Lots of things happen that shouldn't in this world.

The destruction of our rights ( all of them.. I'm not just speaking of the 2nd amendment here ) is wrong. Though some are more on a personal level to me then others, they are all important, and should be fought for.

Doesn't mean its not going on, but its wrong..

( and we are getting WAY off topic here.. we should take this elsewhere )

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146664)

As for the Second Amendment, it is contingent on the need for a private militia to defend the nation. At the time, militias were necessary. Now, with the strongest military in the world, militias are no longer necessary - thus, the right to bear arms is no longer Constitutionally guaranteed.

lol

And when did Congress vote to repeal the Second Amendment?

Re:Read the constitution for your answer (2, Insightful)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146743)

a militia is an organized group of private citizens with training and ranks. You are some nut with a gun. Big difference.

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (2, Insightful)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146523)

I love conservative people but not the dumb ones.

TIA, would be fascism not socialism.

Ill give you a 'partial' (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146625)

Its a bit of both, ill give you that much since there are no true absolutes in this sort of thing

I personally believe our country is leaning towards socialism more so then fascism, thus my comments are directed towards that end....

*sigh* Taking the flame bait.... (0, Troll)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146768)

To all appearences, you're full of shit, and probably trolling.

A socialist country has state health care, our health care system is generally regarded as being the worst in the western world, mostly due to the LACK of government intervention and funding.

Ditto for education, wich the neoconservatives are trying to eradacate as fast as they can.

So, what are traits of a socialist country is it you beleive that we have? Point by point, if you would, starting with a CLEAR definition of what you consider socialist.

If you can think that much for yourself, that is [unless G Gordon Liddy is due to come on, in which case I can understand that you would bail out of the conversation].

Thank you for your time and prompt consideration of this matter.

Re:*sigh* Taking the flame bait.... (1)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146802)

RLeigh, you know nothing. "Our health care system is generally regarded as being the worst in the western world" Is as big a lie as "Our Military is generally regarded as being the worst in the western world."

Please Educate yourself. Just don't read the liberal handouts. Watch the BBC's cover of the House of Commons and learn about the trouble with state health care!

Oh yes we are trying to eradacate education, with terriable things like testing students and TEACHERS, giving parents money for private schools if the public fail. Oh what bad ideas for teachers unions and their hired dems, but good for EVERYONE else.

Re: The USA is over as we knew it. (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146567)


> We have emarked full tilt into the arena of socialism. Its been slow in coming, but since 9/11 we have raced towards it as fast as we can, with the publics support. There is still a ways to go, but the momentum is there.. its a matter of ( short ) time.

I'm curious what your definition of 'socialism' is. According to ordinary definitions we've had some (limited) socialist institutions at least since the Great Depression. If anything our present Administration and Congress are trying to roll them back rather than increase them.

What has greatly accelerated since 9/11 is the steady increase in police powers (but that going back at least to the beginning on the War on Drugs) and tendancy toward non-representative government (old as time, but very popular with our current regime even before 9/11).

Completely absurd (5, Insightful)

ccevans (669222) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146602)

Might I ask what a economic model has to do with TIA?

These things can be done in any type of government. In fascism, which you seem to be implying, the people wouldn't have a choice. In a democracy, with the right support from the media, it is also possible.

None of the indicators of socialism are present, by the way. On the contrary, we are moving further away from socialism. College costs are rising, health care costs are rising, companies (ie SCO) are very busy suing each other over IP violations, tax cuts are being made ...

Please don't use 'socialism' as term for any bad government. Socialism is something very specific, and not what you are talking about.

And why in the world are you saying that 'the terrorists' won? What the US is becoming is the opposite of what terrorists would want. How could a group of terrorists want us to invade their home countries?

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (1)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146683)

I believe the parent was referring to facism. The current administration is trying to remove socialist policies.

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146779)

I believe the grandparent doesn't know the difference between facism and socialism. I believe the grandparent posting was by a 15-year old pimply faced youth who knows about as much about economics and politics as he does about sex.

Totalitarianism not Socialism (2, Insightful)

AoT (107216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146687)

Go bad and reread 1984, the point was NOT that socialism is bad, the point is that totalitarianism is bad. Strict government control of the populace is not a defining feature of socialism, look at holland ffor gods sake; it does, however manifest in leninist, stalinist and maoist governments.

You're a moron. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146697)

We have emarked full tilt into the arena of socialism.

I read the article, I don't see anything about a changing economic model.

Its sickening. Looks like the terrorists won, their goal was to elimate the way of life we had here here, and they sure as hell did.

Yeah, because terrorists just want you to have better health care, right?

You're a moron. 90% of the world's democracies are socialist. And you know what? ALL of them have a higher standard of living than the USA.

Perhaps you should learn the real meanings of words before you start bandying them about.

Re:You're a moron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146800)

ALL of them have a higher standard of living than the USA.

Wrong. Just wrong.

http://www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/profiles/worl d. htm#GDP

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146705)

What scares me is that "intelligence reports" were the justification of armed invasion of another country to eliminate "weapons of mass destruction".

This was "intelligence". America's best. So we invaded. Where's the WMD????

Now, are we going to use much less detailed "intelligence" to determine if some citizen is going to be pestered?

Salem Witch Hunts all over again!!!!

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (2, Insightful)

Epistax (544591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146714)

which is loosely a left wing dictatorship, which embraces socialism.
Do remember that socialism is an economic system where most of the industries are monopolized by the government. This is certainly not occurring. One thing that is occurring that is an aspect of socialism is less attention is being paid to the individual, and more is to the group. This happens whenever there is a common goal. Take World War 2 and the 'greatest generation'. It's possible that this was the least selfish time in the US's history, both on an interpersonal social level, and international political level.

On another note I have been questioning this whole "eliminate way of life" argument, the same as was made for WW2. This seems to presume that there is no better social system than the one we have, and none will ever be developed. I cannot think of anything more naÃve, which is so prevalent everywhere: that things taken under a burden of false pride cannot be made better. Like believers of the phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", I find we stuck at a wall created by the public imagination, and if we don't pass it, we will fail.

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146729)

First line missing:
I believe you are thinking of 1984's big brother left-wing dictatorship

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (4, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146798)

this is a very well taken point and should be modded up.


I've noticed this on /. - when someone who isn't a continuous poster makes a short well written point they get a 1 because it is a positive number but the people who assign values are too lazy to give it the value it deserves.


Of course, this means I'll probably be modded down on this post.


To the point:


We are slowly evolving into a new form of government:


democratic fascism.


People get to vote, there are multiple parties, but fundamentally, it's a one party state - like a hydra - many heads that hate each other, but the body walks in one direction, and we're all trapped on its back.


When things get rough they throw the slaves some bread (social services) and circuses (TV). This shuts the proles up, and the ruling class stays put.


Same as it ever was.


RR

Re:The USA is over as we knew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146789)

We have emarked full tilt into the arena of socialism.

Wherein you should have said "totalitarianism".

Weeeee'll meet agaaain... (4, Funny)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146493)

I'm all for public involvement in the political process, but I guess the best we can hope for now is that this somehow leads to Slim Pickens riding a descending hydrogen bomb...

Easy way for Democrats to win in 2004 (-1, Offtopic)

afree87 (102803) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146497)

Not strictly off-topic...

There is a very easy way for the Democrats to win the presidential elections in 2004. I came up with it myself and I am not cut-and-pasting.

First, we have somebody high up in the Democratic party leak a rumour that Bush is going to fire John Ashcroft during his second term, because all of the insane terrorist witchhunts, covering up the breasts of the statue of Justice, singing "Let the Eagle Soar", and so on ad absurdum.

Next, of course, Bush will respond to the rumours by saying "Of COURSE I'm going to keep Ashcroft!"

Easy win!

intersting article (4, Insightful)

malocchio (678917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146499)

That was a very interesting article, however I do not like some of Bruce's answers. Whether or not I am allowed to approve, well...thats for someone else to decide. However, I want to give attention to one comment:

Just because it's the atom age, it doesn't mean we'll all have a private atom-powered helicopter. Just because it's the information age, it doesn't mean we're all going to profit or be made happier. It has secondary and tertiary effects that cannot be predicted. You don't envision a phone answering machine and predict the Lewinsky scandal--even though one is impossible without the other.

I personally believe that the efforts individuals make to better understand things, like computer technology, then living in the "information age" will leave that individual with a greater sense of security--And wouldnt that individual be in a greater position to lead the rest of society toward whatever might be better? Like a security expert speaking out against TIA with a solid argument?

Re:intersting article (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146676)

I personally believe that the efforts individuals make to better understand things, like computer technology, then living in the "information age" will leave that individual with a greater sense of security--And wouldnt that individual be in a greater position to lead the rest of society toward whatever might be better? Like a security expert speaking out against TIA with a solid argument?
The problem with that arguement is that the only people that are more secure are the people that are in the know. And since we as citizens don't ave access to the info ala TIA we aren't in the know. ie.

relieving (4, Funny)

falsification (644190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146501)

He predicts TIA will destabilize the government and lead to internal KGB-style coups. Boy, it's a good thing that Bruce Sterling is not paranoid or anything. Otherwise, he'd come up with some really whacky theories.

Re:relieving (5, Insightful)

Ellen Ripley (221395) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146582)

Boy, it's a good thing that Bruce Sterling is not paranoid or anything. Otherwise, he'd come up with some really whacky theories.

The attitude that "it can't happen here" is exactly what allows it to happen.

Re:relieving (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146695)

Thank God this came out. I'd been somewhat worried about TIA. Now that I know Bruce Sterling is against it, I feel ever so much better.

Always a problem... (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146524)

Gathering information on people before they have done anything wrong is always a problem, especially if these people know that it is being collected. It makes poisioning the data pool attractive, even if it's only something as stupid as magazine subscriptions, email account names, aliases (which are legal as long as they're not used to deceive for nefarious purposes), and credit transactions.

The government is most likely to be able to track transactions that occur digitally, or require storage of information on computers that are not under the control of the individual whose data is being collected. Do you think that it's likely that terrorists will use these means, now that it's been announced that the government is collecting it? I'd think that they're more likely to buy guns from someone who has switched from running drugs into the country to running guns, to contact their fellow agents through 'chance' encounters, and to transact whatever seemingly legitimate business they use either with cash or through legitimate electronic transactions, which will make them blend into the electronic noise just like everyone else. How is this going to help matters?

The government already knows when one buys a new handgun through legitimate channels, through the Brady Law. They already should know about most of those who have explosives experience, since that is usually military training based to begin with, and demolitions companies, mining companies, and anyone else legitimately using explosives has to get their employees licensed. "Cyberterrorism" is an absolute joke of a term as long as easily broken-into OSes like anything Microsoft has ever put out is still in the mainstream and is still being used as a server, and there are probably dozens, if not hundreds of other examples like these.

I don't see how collecting all of this data is going to help.

Re:Always a problem... (1)

malocchio (678917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146542)

I totally agree. But I ask you:

I don't see how collecting all of this data is going to help.

this is something that I've been trying to figure out myself, ever since I first read about TIA--What would help? Or is there even a problem?

Re:Always a problem... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146662)

"this is something that I've been trying to figure out myself, ever since I first read about TIA--What would help? Or is there even a problem?"

I don't believe that this will yield a solution to the 'problem' of terrorism. It's kind of like doorlocks on automobiles, it keeps the honest people honest. Does anyone think for a minute though, that this information will be given to local law enforcement for small-time crime? Does anyone think that it will ever be shown except maybe after an attack has occurred, and even then, will it prevent the wrong people from being suspected, like in the case of the bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996? Remember, the government was VERY sure that Richard Jewell did it, but he was later cleared, after a lengthy, real investigation. Will such a gumshoe investigation occur at the federal level now, or will they go back and start looking at files and convict without using a single bit of new information?

I don't want to trust the government that far. I don't want them to know when I've purchased a double-double at In'n'Out. I don't want them to know what kind of computer I use. I don't want them to know what kind of car I drive, or even how many speeding tickets I have. The latter is only the business of the state that I live in, since they are the ones who issued the license. If I step out of line, then they can come and look at me. I don't want them looking at the sum of the information that they've gathered on me to determine that I may commit a crime sometime, especially when I don't even know. I just don't like anyone or anything having information on me that I don't make available on purpose.

Re:Always a problem... (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146674)

In answer to your first question, "Nothing that would be countenanced by a truly free society". In answer to your second question "No."

I am much more worried about government intrusion into my life than terrorist intrusion. The government is way better funded.

More Information About People = KGB Style Coups (4, Insightful)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146525)

I don't think that Sterling is right when he argues that Total Information Awareness will bring on some new rash of "KGB style coups." Some of you might remember that the NSA has been evesdropping on Congressmen for years (even on the staunchly pro-Defense-Military congressmen) and the CIA regularly keeps full files on all Congressmen with all of their dirty little secrets. The reason that there hasn't been a series of coups yet (well, ignore the 9-11 coup for now...) is that its far easier to blackmail people into having them do _your_ dirty work than to rat them out entirely. The only thing TIA will do is increase the leverage of the executive branch over the rest of society.

TIA or NO TIA it will happen anyway (4, Interesting)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146532)

Lewinsky, Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich's book deal, David Dinkins lack of tax returns.

Data Mining is here. While the Republicans are more astute in the practical applications of tech and the Democrats tend toward the hip useless gadgets, Both sides are gearing up and will be using data mining against each other.

I have always said that KGB agents must have wept when they realised the information your typical marketing or credit card company have on the american citizen.

Poindexter may be a criminal and a boob American Express isnt.

Re:TIA or NO TIA it will happen anyway (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146550)

P.S. I can recomend Autotrack online and Euifax online to you. It was most enlightening to see that my autotrack report was not only able to estimate the contents of my bank account but the value of my car, my brothers car, and my mothers car.

Re:TIA or NO TIA it will happen anyway (1)

malocchio (678917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146585)

Autotrack works good, assuming that you're legit. I'm not impressed until it can predict the value of a drug dealers lear jet.

Re:TIA or NO TIA it will happen anyway (4, Insightful)

malocchio (678917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146574)

I have always said that KGB agents must have wept when they realised the information your typical marketing or credit card company have on the american citizen.

But credit card companies don't employ people with guns and badges that can kick in your door and take you to a holding cell without a reason--and thats the difference!

The biggest threat TIA offers the American public is, if you've read the Detailed report to congress [darpa.mil] , they decide who, when, and where to attack Americans-to protect you and me-Americans.

Information Excess (3, Interesting)

killfixx (148785) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146535)

Technology has a way of making the world feel smaller: Trains, Steamships, automobiles, airplanes and now googling (ridiculously easy and efficient datat-mining).

If you live in a small enough town, everyone knows everyone elses business...

When you remove the distance that geography or caste once maintained you are left with a very small planet where everyone may not know everyone else...but if they need to they can dig up any amount of dirt on you they want.

TIA is an initial step towards a decentralized type of always on information about anyone you could ever want...

And the only people who will be safe will be those without govt assigned ID (which means no CC's no ID's no Bank statements etc..) and the insanely wealthy...those who can afford to keep their sins a secret.

Much like it would be in a small town.

I hate small towns.

To quote the constitution... (4, Informative)

PS-SCUD (601089) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146565)

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonalbe searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

but that seems to have been forgotten, along with.."Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom of speech or of the press."
Campaing finance reform restrictions on commericals 60 days before elections.

and "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Every law restricting non-criminals from owning certain types of weapons.

Some times I wonder if legislatures even fscking read the constitution any more.

Re: To quote the constitution... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146589)


> but that seems to have been forgotten, along with [...] and "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Every law restricting non-criminals from owning certain types of weapons.


Where did you get the restriction to non-criminals from the Constitution? Are you saying that the Bill of Rights is open to interpretation based on common sense and the needs of society?

Re:To quote the constitution... (2, Interesting)

malocchio (678917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146611)

Some times I wonder if legislatures even fscking read the constitution any more.

We just have to wait for a new precedent to be set, overturning bad laws..like the Patriot Act.

butt sexx (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146578)

nigga whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat???????????

yo who knows f slashdot

TIA renamed yet again... (2, Funny)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146579)

...to Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Information [still?] wants to be free? (1)

Junkster Julian (672631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146583)

With breakthrough fields like Nanotechnology needing mind-boggling degrees of organization for the field to take root, how does anyone propose we take advantage of the breakthroughs the Internet offers us if we're constantly second-guessing ourselves as to the effectiveness of stuff like standards-based publishing and the simple availability of information?

I’m conflicted (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146591)

America may turn into a ruthless police state but TIA may bring down generation after generation of moralizing neocon hypocrites. Itâ(TM)s almost worth it.

And propose we call this effect Bill Bennettizing rather than Trent Lotting

I thought it was Neil Stephenson at CFP2000 (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146595)

He discussion of a "Community Watch" system, but with a pervasive internet cams and either cheap labour or trade offs (I'll watch your's if you watch mine).

ttyl
Farrell

Don't forget (3, Informative)

c64cryptoboy (310001) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146600)

Total Information Awareness underware is still available [cafeshops.com]

Renaming It Shows What They Think About us (5, Interesting)

SilentMajority (674573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146608)

It shows that they THINK we're gullable morons.

Just by renaming it to sound anti-terrorist, are we supposed to shut up and stop questioning it?

Instead of making our government BIGGER & MORE INTRUSIVE & STRIPPING AWAY OUR RIGHTS, why don't we investigate how 9/11 was allowed to happen when we had ALL THE INFO REQUIRED to prevent it?!?!?

Oh, I forgot--the investigation into that was quietly squashed without much media attention but we got color-coded alerts to make us feel that something "real" appropriate is being done.

"Hey, lets rename this unpopular law/project/war/etc. so people think it has to do with anti-terrorism, they'll shut up for sure especially if the media makes anyone speaking against it appear stupid, weak, liberal, unpatriotic, etc. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a bunch of unpopular shit done what would've caused riots/impeachments just a few year ago! Best of all, when people start to ask questions about the Pres or VP dealings with Enron or Halliburton again, we can just change the terror alert color so the media can refocus on that without resorting another murder case in California."

"And just in case we don't have any more terrorism in the USA, lets go piss off the Palestinians and make the Middle-eastern countries think we're gonna invade them--that'll stir up enough shit to make at least another group of crazies blow something up here--and we can milk that bombing to our advantage just like 9/11! We'll be silencing our critics and getting unpopular initiatives done for the next 50 years using this strategy!"

I'm obviously exaggerating to make a point but really, don't you think there's a grain of truth to associating unpopular initiatives with anti-terrorism just to get people to stop questioning it?

Re:Renaming It Shows What They Think About us (1)

Junkster Julian (672631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146648)

and we can milk that bombing to our advantage just like 9/11!

Let's not forget that what happened on September eleventh centered around what could easily be described as a date format. What if we did a census and found out that 50%+1 of America uses the yyyy-mm-dd date... wouldn't that possibly mean that there could be people who believe what happened should/could/might have happened on November 9th? And why chose Sept. 11th over Nov 9th if november is the colder month?

Re:Renaming It Shows What They Think About us (0)

Call it a n1ght (592691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146751)

You probably have a point with the manipulation of the people. But the best anti-terrorism plan is the one Bush has pursued thus far: you attack us, we invade your country.

I wouldn't have been opposed to a nuclear strike on Medina, with the one on Mecca held in the balance should there ever be another attack.

Sour Grapes (3, Insightful)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146632)

If it's anything like his columns for Wired, it will be filled with bitterness over the 2000 elections spilling over into everything he writes about. That detracts from my enjoyment of his writing. He's one of the best SF authors out there, but as of late everything he's done seems to reflect his dissapointment over the outcome of the election.

At some point, you realize you lost, pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and plan for the next one. It's done, there is no chance of the election being reversed or any other outcome. Get over it, and try to get Dubya out of office this upcoming election if you don't like what happened.

Re:Sour Grapes (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146692)

RTFA oh wait this is slashdot...never mind.

Re:Sour Grapes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146713)

Yes, just accept that the election was stolen. That the America you were raised to believe in doesn't really exist. Get over it, already.

Well (4, Interesting)

heli0 (659560) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146641)

It seems that they can not even perform basic background checks on their own employees: CIO of Department of Homeland Security Suspended [computerworld.com] . Seems she got her "doctorate in computer information systems" from a phony college.

Yeah, that is the type of thing that inspires confidence.

Re:Well (0)

Call it a n1ght (592691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146739)

The first clue should have been a Ph.D. in such a bullshit "discipline."

great, like Reality TV 24x7 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146704)

..but this time you and I get to be in front of the cameras, unasked, and everything will be archived and indexed on permanent storage, including (especially) a complete record of your online and telecommunication activity. Scott McNealy would say "get over it", but government will use this data to protect society against potential threats - and eventually, any kind of dissent may be considered the seed of a potential serious threat to society, as Orwell predicted.

Ministry of Silly Walks (5, Funny)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146728)

The aim is to collect information ranging from financial and medical records to data on the way individuals walk.

You heard it here first. Poindexter and TIA is the Ministry of Silly Walks.

(And I'm supposed to feel better because they changed "total" to "terrorist"? That's just insulting to everyone's intelligence... grrr.)

Re:Ministry of Silly Walks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6146804)

Funny thing is that noone noticed that it was originally the Office of Strategic Initiatives.

Total - Terrorist (1)

rabidcow (209019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146752)

Interesting how "total" became "terrorist." Foreshadowing anyone? ;)

Man, I suck at google :( (3, Interesting)

slashdot_commentator (444053) | more than 11 years ago | (#6146795)

Why not use pseudonyms?
That's baloney. I happen to do that myself. I do have two data identities. I have my name, Bruce Sterling, which is my public name under which I write novels. I also have my other name, which is my legal name under which I own property and vote.

So what's the name of your other identity? It would take you all of 10 seconds to figure it out on Google.

10 seconds my ass. I stick in the search terms "bruce sterling", "real name", & "fiction" (after all we need to separate BS the science fiction writer from BS the plumber), I get 390 hits. After glancing through likely pages, I get the real names to a half dozen different writers, but not Bruce! I even go to vivisimo, get some hits unique to google, but still no real name. Man, the New World Order better not depend on my lame ass skills.

Now I know I could track it down if I spent two hours going through search engines, varying search arguments, but what the hell am I doing wrong??? *sigh*

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