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Homeland Security Tracks Information of Travelers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-have-nothing-to-hide-right dept.

United States 338

feuerfalke writes "Homeland Security recently disclosed a plan regarding an Automated Targeting System, or ATS, that would generate a 'terrorist risk rating' based on information collected about the traveler. This information would include things such as where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and the meals they ordered in-flight. These ratings have now been assigned to millions of international travelers, including Americans, and the ATS is exempt from many provisions of the Privacy Act — one cannot view their rating or the information used to generate it."

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Sounds like.... (3, Funny)

justkarl (775856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071004)

...the makers of this system need to work on Netflix's reccomendation system.

Re:Sounds like.... (1)

DarthTator (937292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071232)

I was gonna in Seinfeldian fashion "Now only if they could track my bags!"

Re:Sounds like.... (4, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071256)

My guess is that it's more like the Slashdot moderation system. Mod +5 Safe or -1 Looks Like ann Arab to Me. Either way, I expect the courts will, at some point in the future, get their chance to meta moderate.

Re:Sounds like.... (2, Interesting)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071656)

I can expand on that.

From the Mod FAQ:
Also, if a single user is moderated down several times in a short time frame, a temporary ban will be imposed on that user... a cooling off period if you will. It lasts for 72 hours, or more for users who have posted a ton.
The same as being sent to GITMO. No meta mods (courts), just 'other peoples opinion' when the victim^H^H^H^H^H^H *cough* terrorist doesn't follow Slashdot groupthink.

Re:Sounds like.... (4, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071620)

Nah... Remember that the Homeland Security is a front for corporate interests. Marketing departments will pay good money to know what Joe Blow was doing if he wasn't blowing up the plane.

First post (0, Redundant)

technicalandsocial (940581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071024)

gains you a TRS/ATT level of... 6

Re:First post (0, Offtopic)

Gyppo (982168) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071056)

Ohhh so close!

It's True (2, Funny)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071032)

Terrorists looooove chicken with a side of fresh veggies. Good work, TSA.

Re:It's True (4, Insightful)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071266)

It just means that if you're an 18-25 year old male from any country that ends with -stan and you ordered your meal to be halal then you're flagged as potential terrorist. It's as simple as that.

Re:It's True (1)

moatra (1019690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071474)

Granted, it's been a while since I've flown anywhere, but since when did the airlines start offering a choice of meals that could *ever* reflect any tendencies of a person besides the airlines being cheap? ("Salad or chicken, sir?")

Re:It's True (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071830)

This system is used for international flights. All of the international flights I've been on with US carriers offered choices like Kosher, vegetarian, sometimes vegan, etc. Kosher is the way to go on an El Al flight, they put some serious effort into it.


If you think meal service is limited on US domestic flights, travel to sunny Africa and try the world's best named airline, 1Time [1time.aero] . More Nice, Less Price. Your plane might even have tires mounted on the wheels!

How can anyone think profiling works? (5, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071632)

First there's the games theory problem. Stop everyone from Saudi Arabia from boarding airplanes, and the killers will put locally recruited types like John Walker Lindh onto airplanes.

Second, nobody has a monopoly on killing innocent people. From Salon's Patrick Smith, via Bruce Schneier's blog:

        * In 1985, Air India Flight 182 was blown up over the Atlantic by:

            a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
            b. Bill O'Reilly
            c. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
            d. Indian Sikh extremists, in retaliation for the Indian Army's attack on the Golden Temple shrine in Amritsar

        * In 1986, who attempted to smuggle three pounds of explosives onto an El Al jetliner bound from London to Tel Aviv?

            a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
            b. Michael Smerconish
            c. Bob Mould
            d. A pregnant Irishwoman named Anne Murphy

        * In 1962, in the first-ever successful sabotage of a commercial jet, a Continental Airlines 707 was blown up with dynamite over Missouri by:

            a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
            b. Ann Coulter
            c. Henry Rollins
            d. Thomas Doty, a 34-year-old American passenger, as part of an insurance scam

        * In 1994, who nearly succeeding in skyjacking a DC-10 and crashing it into the Federal Express Corp. headquarters?

            a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
            b. Michelle Malkin
            c. Charlie Rose
            d. Auburn Calloway, an off-duty FedEx employee and resident of Memphis, Tenn.

        * In 1974, who stormed a Delta Air Lines DC-9 at Baltimore-Washington Airport, intending to crash it into the White House, and shot both pilots?

            a. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
            b. Joe Scarborough
            c. Spalding Gray
            d. Samuel Byck, an unemployed tire salesman from Philadelphia

Re:It's True (2, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071708)

Attendant: Pork sausages or Spaghetti and Meatballs?
Passenger1: Sausages

Attendant: Pork sausages or Spaghetti and Meatballs?
Passenger2: Sausages

Attendant: Pork sausages or Spaghetti and Meatballs?
Passenger3: Meatballs

....... Some time later.......

Attendant: Pork sausages or Spaghetti and Meatballs?
Passenger n : Sausages
Attendant: Oh, I'm sorry, we are all out, we only have Halal Chicken.
Passenger n: ah no problem, chicken it is.

CIA: Hey, some guy just ate the Halal Chicken. Flag him.

Staying within the law? you can still be punished. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071476)

How is it within a government's rights to do this? Can someone start their own airline where they dont follow this crap? Passengers will fly at their own risk.

Think about it, if a person can get put on a "no fly" list having never done a single crime in their life .. is that not a great injustice?

So basically, even if you have always fully complied with the laws of the land, you can still be prohibited from doing things that others can do .. even those with a felony criminal history. Furthermore, you are not told what behavior will result in your deprivation of these flying rights. That wreaks of secret laws. Government derives it's power from the consent of the governed, if the governed are not informed of what actions their rights get taken away for .. how is that legitimate?

No doubt, if you went up to the men who spoke of government's role as simply securing the already inherent god given rights of people (Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, or any of the foundeing fathers) with these ideas to "keep America secure" you'd win yourself a huge a punch across the face.

Re:It's True (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071728)

So they should just order the pork chops but not actually eat it, and they're in the clear. Great system.

Re:It's True (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071972)

"Terrorists looooove chicken with a side of fresh veggies. Good work, TSA."

Lower your score. Order the pork chops.

If you think Dems will stop this, think again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071078)

Because if the Dems, now that they control the House and Senate, will put a stop to this, guess who will get blamed for the next terrorist attack?

so mysterious.... (1)

drfrog (145882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071102)

its sexy :|

Lies my teacher told me (5, Insightful)

yourpusher (161612) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071126)

I spent a good part of my childhood just a few miles away from the lucky side of the Iron Curtain. One of the things that our teachers told us was so bad about East Germany was the fact that they "kept files on their citizens! Normal people, like you and me!"

So what do we tell the kids, today?

Re:Lies my teacher told me (4, Funny)

SydBarrett (65592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071236)

Just call them "freedom files".

Mod: Beverage of your choice thru-the-nose-worthy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071676)

That's the funniest one-line comeback I've read here in 6 months. Also the saddest but truest.

Re:Lies my teacher told me (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071288)

> I spent a good part of my childhood just a few miles away from the lucky side of the Iron Curtain. One of the things that our teachers told us was so bad about East Germany was the fact that they "kept files on their citizens! Normal people, like you and me!"
>
> So what do we tell the kids, today?

We point out that one in three East Germans was helping STASI with citizen surveillance, (no doubt with similar numbers for the USSR and KGB) but only a few thousand upper Party members were actually part of the actual

And that "in Soviet Russia, the people watched the government."

What we tell our kids is that we're better than they were, because we do things the other way around.

America. What a country.

Re:Lies my teacher told me (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071336)

Bah. Fingerslip before post that wastes a paragraph = teh suck. No doubt my terror rating just went up for that.

> I spent a good part of my childhood just a few miles away from the lucky side of the Iron Curtain. One of the things that our teachers told us was so bad about East Germany was the fact that they "kept files on their citizens! Normal people, like you and me!"
>
> So what do we tell the kids, today?

We point out that one in three East Germans was helping STASI with citizen surveillance, (no doubt with similar numbers for the USSR and KGB) but that only a few thousand upper Party members were actually part of the actual day-to-day government, and they were vastly outnumbered by the people who were actually doing the spying.

And therefore, we can say with straight face: "in Soviet Russia, the people watched the government."

What we tell our kids is that we're better than they were, because we do things the other way around.

America. What a country.

Re:Lies my teacher told me (1)

AVonGauss (1001486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071554)

Theoretically, there is one major difference, "the people" still elect officials in the United States. If people really don't like what's going on, they should be more active and find out about their elected officials and where they stand on issues that are important to them.

Lies ? (0, Offtopic)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071738)

We try to make better guesses on whether someone is a mass-murderer, based on past behavior
They ... well I really can't describe it any better than this : http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?idartic le=6845 [speroforum.com]

And we also tell them that newspapers lie for political correctness, then don't fix the mess they create :
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006452.htm [michellemalkin.com]

Or worse :
http://www.seconddraft.org/movies.php [seconddraft.org]

Or worse :
http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/corruptio n-of-media.html [blogspot.com]

And then you read your headline again ... then think 5 seconds on who is more honest
-> the policeman that can get fired when he steps a toe out of line and checks airline passengers
-> or the reporter who is not checked by anyone, a sensationalist, and has a political affiliation

Then you think another 5 seconds.

Re:Lies my teacher told me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071974)

Hmmmmm. That was a bad thing?

Guess she wasn't aware of the guard towers with armed guards with shoot to kill orders, the dog patrols, minefields, the razor sharp stamped steel border fence topped with concertina wire and the PM12 mines that were mounted on the fence if you tried to climb it. Plus the fact that the East Germans told their people all that stuff was there for their protection.

Hmmmmm. She's right. Having a government file on you is bad. Pffffft.

Re:Lies my teacher told me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071998)

Ahhhh! I love the smell of shameful moral equivalence in the morning...

I suppose it's to be expected from your part of the world, Schatz... What's really telling, in my experience, is that the people I meet who truly appreciate what a great place America is are usually from the unlucky side of the former Iron Curtain. You know...the ones who actually LIVED under the kind of evil that you and your ilk now attempt to project onto the USA. I trust their opinions far more than the blather of some socialist, Ami-hating Euroweenie.

Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago? (0)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071130)

Can't these regurgitated stories be presented as UPDATES? I KNOW I read somewhere about this. Probably even

http://www.visualanalytics.com/ [visualanalytics.com]

is a hidden awardee of the analysis aspects of things. I wonder if we'll have another story on what was it, Time Magazine, about the current cadge/cabal whining that the magazine egregiously tipped the hand to terrorists about how money exchange and such were monitored to locate terrorists. The thing is, VISUAL ANALYTICS had for maybe a YEAR posted on their website how capable their software was and how successfully their software was used by government agencies domestically and abroad.

So, it MIGHT be informative if we find out that Visual Analytics is combing the data to look for those who laundered money, started or operated shell companies, illegally diverted restricted materials or technology or got caught doing so, and so on.

Captch: "sleuth"

Re:Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago? (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071296)

Perhaps you think we are being too well informed about programs like these?

Re:Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071432)

They probably only just now finished the alpha testing.

Re:Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago? (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071580)

Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago?

Hell, about four years ago, I was flagged for a super-duper security check at the Denver airport because I was flying on a last-minute one-way flight (bought with a debit card!) as I rushed in to put out a fire at a hosting operation. So there's me, looking more than a little bedraggled, with nothing but the clothes on my back and a laptop bag stuffed with some mysterious-looking replacement parts. The very nice, but very thorough inspectors told me that I should completely expect every flight I take for the following several years to end up going exactly the same way, because the profiling has some real inertia to it. They were correct, as I've gotten the (polite/thorough) treatment every time since, even when traveling on more conventionally purchased tickets. Maybe it's my warm, fuzzy personality.

Not really. It's behavioral profiling - a lot more effective than skin-based profiling. Something that doesn't seem to get the coverage it's supposed to in recent flaps like the imam-fest the other day. (hint: loudly uttering "allah" and dispersing your group of six guys in pairs to the wrong parts of the airplane rather invites a look at your behavior). I may have the imam hair, and perhaps my shoes COULD explode after standing in them for 48 hours straight in front of a rack of servers, but I don't tend to send a lot of those other signals. On the other hand, I've met some very nice TSA people - they keep the best ones on the sidelines for the personal inspections, it seems.

Re:Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago? (2, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071946)

>loudly uttering "allah"

A religious obligation for over a billion people five times a day.

The other noteworthy point is that *after* they were dogsniffed, searched and cleared, US Airways refused to sell them replacement tickets. US Airways pointed them to other airlines, which proves it wasn't a safety issue.

Re:Wasn't this talked about at LEAST 2 years ago? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071582)

it MIGHT be informative if we find out that Visual Analytics is combing the data to look for those who laundered money, started or operated shell companies, illegally diverted restricted materials or technology or got caught doing so

Unlikely; too risky for those who control the governments (globally).

CC.

Meals Ordered on Flight?? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071140)

WTF? "Uh oh... Achmed over there ordered something weird. He might be a terrorist. Ban him from the plane". This reminds me of an episode of that classic chilrden's cartoon "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home". The main character had a red scare neighbor who was always looknig for "commies" everywhere. He was saying how he'd figured out a way to get all the commies and wanted to tell the CIA about it. His method? "Find all the names in the phonebook that end with 'ski' and you've got 'em"!

Re:Meals Ordered on Flight?? (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071184)

Obviously the best way to fly is to have lots of booze and pork....well...not necessarily related to being labeled a terrorist, really booze is the only thing that makes flying bearable.

Re:Meals Ordered on Flight?? (2, Funny)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071416)

Naw. Sex and chewing gum are better. The sex to kill the time and the chewing gum to prevent ear popping.

Not really... (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071508)

Actually, having sex (or looking like you're having sex) on a plane will send you straight to a federal prison by men with big guns pointed at your head. Welcome to the People's Republic of America!

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/11/14/sex.plane.ap/ind ex.html [cnn.com]

Re:Not really... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071630)

In the cabin!?!

Re:Not really... (1)

Brushfireb (635997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071730)

Hah. They werent having sex, they were being drunk assholes who happened to also be fooling around.

But you might be right..

Re:Meals Ordered on Flight?? (2, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071412)

Obviously, this method is a bit more sophisticated than yours as it uses a FEW more variables. I'm not following your logic, which seems to be that if creating a profile based on one factor is stupid then creating one based on many factors is no better.

Not trolling but.. (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071154)

I wonder if there going to check things like religious background or ethnicity. Part of me feels it's racial profiling, but then again I hate to say it but...Who is more likely to make the attacks?

Re:Not trolling but.. (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071520)

In the US? By number of attacks, white Christians males are responsible for the vast majority of terrorist attacks. White Christian females come in number 2. Everyone else is a distant 3rd. In yearly deathrate its the same two, but with a blip in 2001.

So if you're flagged ... (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071162)

So if you're flagged you're screwed? If "the ATS is exempt from many provisions of the Privacy Act -- one cannot view their rating or the information used to generate it", and if you get erroneously flagged, you're screwed???

This is like the no-fly list only worse then, isn't it? An algorithm kicks out the belief that you must be a terrorist, and anytime you go anywhere it's gonna beep and you get cold hands and lube once again.

I hope this gets shot down by a court, because way too many scary things are being passed that exempt themselves from any sort of oversight and transparency. I can envision a lot of people deciding they don't really wish to fly to the US anymore. It's impossible to do without having your privacy invaded or running the risk of ending up on some secret CIA flight or something.

Re:So if you're flagged ... (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071276)

"I can envision a lot of people deciding they don't really wish to fly to the US anymore."

Welcome to several years ago: a heck of lot of people have already decided they don't want to visit America anymore.

I used to travel to America regularly before 9/11, but I've only been there twice since and both of those were short stops between planes when flying to and from Canada. Why go to a country that will treat me like crap at immigration, then potentially kidnap me and ship me to Cuba if some computer tells them I might be a terrist?

Re:So if you're flagged ... (-1, Troll)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071462)

Why go to a country that will treat me like crap at immigration, then potentially kidnap me and ship me to Cuba if some computer tells them I might be a terrist?
That's okay. We don't want fools like you here.

Re:So if you're flagged ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071682)

Welcome to several years ago: a heck of lot of people have already decided they don't want to visit America anymore.

No worries, mate. We've got enough whining, paranoid little bitches in the USA already and your presence isn't missed at all. Besides, I'd rather not see you, your greasy "girlfriend" and your silly patch-covered backpack anyway. Might I suggest a visit to France instead?

Re:So if you're flagged ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071770)

Welcome to several years ago: a heck of lot of people have already decided they don't want to visit America anymore.

Well, it's definitely building over time, there's no denying that.

I used to travel to America regularly before 9/11, but I've only been there twice since and both of those were short stops between planes when flying to and from Canada.

But, even that is getting kind of scary. I seem to recall that some time last year, Gonzales issued a legal opinion that says that they can arrest and detain anyone they see fit, and short of torture (which they defined in terms or organ failure and death) they could do anything they wanted to you.

It sounds very much like just taking a connecting flight through the US could allow you to end up in custody, declared as an illegal combatant, and locked away. I just simply don't trust people who grant themselves that much power and remove all transparency. I realize it's unlikely, it's just eerie to know they believe that they can do anything they want. Especially if other countries did the same, the US would freak out that their citizens can't go around unfettered.

Cheers

Re:So if you're flagged ... forget rail passage, (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071402)

too. I was in a train station in San Jose a few months back and noticed the Amtrak ID requirement sign. It's not new, but in summary, one has to present ID to purchase tickets to ride the train between states. So, sounds almost like needing an internal visa or passport. "What, thought you could travel anonymously since we crimped your flying ease? Nyet Nyet..." I figure anyone who is savvy will just meticulously plan their routes to ride the Amtrak as long as they can, then switch to Greyhound or *USA, then back on another mode. BUT, then they ticket agent computer might be linked to a profile database and flag it to "delay or get more information from a traveler when said traveler has unusual breaks in transit not commensurate to any business events, registered funerals, or known relatives in the area to which said traveler might have reasonable cause to participated in." Don't forget: TIA: Total Information Awareness, boys and girls...

But, I wouldn't be surprised if later they ease up. Why ease up? Facial Recognition and other means might mean they can afford to relax the rules and just let us pay and board, so long as we don't carry on any dangerous items.

One day, we'll need a mag card to take a shit anywhere outside of home, and some processor/analizer, umm, analyzer will record our dietary, blood, cell irregularity, and other things. I suppose DNA is in the matter somewhere, tho...

Re:So if you're flagged ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071544)

I can envision a lot of people deciding they don't really wish to fly to the US anymore

Correct. I work for one of the larger well known companies in the world and it's not exactly a secret that I refuse to visit our US offices.

Re:So if you're flagged ... (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071668)

This is like the no-fly list only worse then, isn't it? An algorithm kicks out the belief that you must be a terrorist, and anytime you go anywhere it's gonna beep and you get cold hands and lube once again.

no, this is way better, it uses computers to racially profile. computers can't be racist... they're computers.

Take your pill and swallow it (2, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071166)

There has not been an al-queda attack on american soil since 9/11, this is absolute proof that these new policies of privacy invasion and loss of freedom are working to keep you safe.

Re:Take your pill and swallow it (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071304)

The scary thing is that half of the people in this country would seriously agree with you 100%.

Re:Take your pill and swallow it (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071404)

There has not been an al-queda attack on american soil since 9/11, this is absolute proof that these new policies of privacy invasion and loss of freedom are working to keep you safe.
Actually this stone I keep in my pocket is keeping everyone safe.

Re:Take your pill and swallow it (1)

Guido von Guido (548827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071408)

There has not been an al-queda attack on american soil since 9/11, this is absolute proof that these new policies of privacy invasion and loss of freedom are working to keep you safe.

Absolutely. And the fact that there were eight years between the first two Al Queda attacks on American soil means nothing.

Re:Take your pill and swallow it (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071512)

So 5 years?

How long was it before 9/11 that we had an attack from "al-qaeda" (which isn't even a real terrorist group, btw) 9 years I think (wtc in 93)?

Re:Take your pill and swallow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071566)

None of these safety methods is letting me be free.

About Time! (1)

johnnywheeze (792148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071176)

Great! There is absolutely nothing that can go wrong with this.

There was a time when a certain amount of distrust of the government was considered "healthy".

Now it gets you points on your "good american" list.

I thought my credit score was something to worry about, how long until your "Good American" score will be used as a factor in court proceedings, federal hiring practices, etc. etc.?

Re:About Time! (3, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071528)

>how long until your "Good American" score will be used as a factor in court proceedings, federal hiring practices, etc. etc.?

You mean like this?
The government notice says some or all of the ATS data about an individual may be shared with state, local and foreign governments for use in hiring decisions and in granting licenses, security clearances, contracts or other benefits. In some cases, the data may be shared with courts, Congress and even private contractors.

Meals = Racial Profiling (2, Insightful)

seriv (698799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071190)

Out of all the criteria used, meals ordered stood out to me. It seems so out of place, but I imagine that it is a bit of blatant racial profiling. I am guessing that anyone who orders a meal that conforms to an Islamic diet gets a higher rating on this system. I don't think the beef or chicken will make a difference. Perhaps "racial" profiling is not the best term, since this will hunt out people based on Religion, which would be a much greater privacy concern in my mind.

Re:Meals = Racial Profiling (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071428)

Perhaps "racial" profiling is not the best term, since this will hunt out people based on Religion, which would be a much greater privacy concern in my mind.


Especially considering that jews and muslims have similar dietary requirements.

Wonder if the TSA will flag the folks from AIPAC or the JDL?

Re:Meals = Racial Profiling (1)

AVonGauss (1001486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071628)

Calling it racial profiling is probably a little harsh, but it's probably not far from it either. I mean, really, wouldn't it be great and improve the system if we also knew what religion the person flying believed in? Now, come to think of it, shouldn't we also know about their parents, immediate family and close associates? I wouldn't say "the terrorists" have won, but it does sure seem like they scored a major victory in the US. What is that saying, freedom for me and you - as long as everyone agrees with me?

Re:Meals = Racial Profiling (1)

quick9vb (628271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071648)

I agree that collecting meal data can certainly be viewed as racial profiling. What does your chosen meal have to do with whether you are a potential terrorist or not? What about domestic terrorists who choose beef or chicken?

Re:Meals = Racial Profiling (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071858)

And would that be that bad ?

If muslims stopped blowing others up, it wouldn't take more than 1 or 2 years for them to start screening communists or just regular criminals again.

"oh but it isn't muslims that are terrorists"

Yes it is, it is not only muslims, it's muslims doing it for islam :
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ [thereligionofpeace.com]

Just read some of the statements these guys make before mass-murdering their fellow citizens.

Since we all know that you MUST be a terrorist if: (5, Insightful)

Avillia (871800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071234)

*You took a one-way trip to assist in disaster aid in New Orleans or Thailand in the last two years, not knowing when you would be comfortable with/forced to leave the area.
*You enjoy food from the Middle East (they probably have a Middle-Eastern mid-flight meal SOMEWHERE) after trying some at a small suburban restaraunt near your Pakistani coworker.
*You paid in cash, since you recently went bankrupt and are moving somewhere that has a lower cost of living.
*You refused to show your ID in the airport a few months ago because you packed your wallet in your checked bag by accident (Happened to me, it's tons of fun).
*You checked out a book on Islamic extremism for your Current Issues class, for a Debate on the issue, or other such academia.

It's good to know our previous Congress was too busy pissing themselves post-911 to have a clear enough mind to see how freaking WRONG the Patriot Act was, and then kept being embarassed by the stain enough to extend it's duration.

Re:Since we all know that you MUST be a terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071478)


*You enjoy food from the Middle East (they probably have a Middle-Eastern mid-flight meal SOMEWHERE) after trying some at a small suburban restaraunt near your Pakistani coworker.

I'd guess the categories involved in the "food" profiling were "not halal", "halal, but not specifically designed as such", and "specifically designed as halal", making that one nothing but a way of giving "terrorist points" to Muslims specifically under the guise of statistical objectivity.

What I want to know is... (1)

common middle name (657525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071244)

what mundane thing will set the government off next? Should I expect a visit from the FBI because I bought Rice Crispies this week instead of the oatmeal I usually buy? Will they want to know why I buy more computer equipment than my neighbors? What deep insight could they possibly glean from this information? Should we all just accept the fact that everyone in the world is now a potential threat to the United States, including its own citizens?

By what meals you ordered? (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071254)

So only terrorists or terrorist sympathizers would order the salisbury steak in-flight?

Code Red, he ordered desert! I say again, HE ORDERED THE DESERT!!! GO! GO! GO!

Terrorists as powergamers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071260)

You'd think they'd learn from all the mmorpg's that every game mechanic (except for Ony's deep breath) can be determined with sufficent amounts of data points? So the jihadis zerg the airlines, and see who makes it through, and who doesn't. It'd be fairly obvious that it'd be worth the cost to 'upgrade' to round trip tickets for one. Then the terrorists can happily powergame our system while actual travellers get trips to the special rooms to get searched by Ben Dover.

Re:Terrorists as powergamers... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071360)

"So the jihadis zerg the airlines, and see who makes it through, and who doesn't"

Indeed, as has been pointed out numerous times, this kind of thing is far more onerous on the law-abiding than the terrorists, as so long as they can collect together a few dozen aspiring suicide bombers they can then see which ones _aren't_ given the gloved finger when they get on a plane. It only works if it's nearly 100% accurate at identifying potential terrorists so they can't find anyone who passes through.

Meanwhile, the one single most accurate identifying characteristic -- i.e. that all recent terrorist attacks of this kind have been committed by Muslims -- can't be used because it would be 'racist'. Far better to strip-search Italian grandmothers so we can pretend we're not 'discriminating'.

Re:Terrorists as powergamers... (1)

Guido von Guido (548827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071644)

Meanwhile, the one single most accurate identifying characteristic -- i.e. that all recent terrorist attacks of this kind have been committed by Muslims -- can't be used because it would be 'racist'. Far better to strip-search Italian grandmothers so we can pretend we're not 'discriminating'.

What gives you the idea that terrorists can't game that "most accurate identifying characteristic?" Would this have caught Richard Reid? Would this catch a Chechen who looks Russian? Would this prevent the terrorists from recruiting people who aren't obviously Muslim? Would this have caught the bomb that a Palestinian attempted to smuggle onto a plane 15-20 years ago with his pregnant, Irish girlfiend? Would this have caught my Egyptian co-worker who everybody thought was Mexican? Would this have caught Timothy McVeigh? I won't even get into the fact that you're assuming that terrorists will remain Muslim, which is fine until the ETA or the Tamil Tigers or somebody new gets pissed at us.

I'll take a... (1, Troll)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071324)

...one way ticket to Dubai, aisle seat... with a Terrorist Meal. Oh, can I carry on this box cutter or do I need to check it with my Semtex filled laptop?

Here, my friends, is the code for this... (0, Troll)

sheepoo (814409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071362)

if user_food_type = 'halal' then
raise_alarm()
else if check_country_population_for_muslims > 50 then
raise_alarm()
else if seating_preference() close_to_cockpit and user_appearance like 'arab'
raise_alarm()
end if
print 'americans are scared and americans are morons'

Re:Here, my friends, is the code for this... (1)

fingon (114710) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071592)

You may consider that funny, but I am originally from Europe, typical nerdishly-pale white male, live in Japan, working for American company, and travel frequently to US on business. And every fucking time I get the SSSS mark on my boarding pass, which, I think, means Super Secret Secondary Screening or something equivalent, and ends up with pat-down and some moron fiddling with my carryon luggage for ages. Therefore, I have made a point of trying to avoid travelling to the 'land of the free', it's no longer even as fun as good old China, at least their random searches seem to be random.

So while I think your algorithm doesn't quite cover it, but it is probably fairly close, considering it seems to be crime to have brains in the administration of the good ol' US of A these days..

Where to begin? (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071370)

It's not a national security program:
>Government officials could not say whether ATS has apprehended any terrorists.

It can't work because of the base rate fallacy. At any false alarm rate known to man, the output will be statistically indistiguishable from 100% false alarms.

All these problems are aggravated by the fact that they won't correct errors:
>Nor can they see the records "for the purpose of contesting the content."

It's not to keep airplanes safe, it's a general control tool:
>ATS data about an individual may be shared with state, local and foreign governments for use in hiring decisions and in granting licenses, security clearances, contracts or other benefits.

this i5 goatsex (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071406)

turd-sucKingly

RIP USA (2, Insightful)

subl33t (739983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071414)

I just can't think of a anything good that will come of this.

Sorry Yanks, the USA is dead, you have one party with two faces to make you think you have a choice. Welcome to Soviet America.

(goodbye karma)

Re:RIP USA (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071766)

Almost all the Democrats voted against the Abu Ghraib Legalization and Magna Carta Repeal Act in October.

Re:RIP USA (1)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071792)

Not soviet America, Capitalist America. Where you are a pawn of a government controlled by Big Business. You will be told what you MUST buy, what you MUST fear, and what you MUST believe is the truth by the government. Where posts like this one raise a flag in some database because I am saying something bad about the direction this country is taking. I find it somewhat ironic that for the Iraq war effort the politicians were telling everyone to support our troops because they are defending your freedom while they slowly began stripping away those freedoms. America is in a downward spiral. However it can be corrected but not without hard work and large scale citizen participation.

Instant Translation (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071438)

Dave's instant translation from government-speak to English:

...'terrorist risk rating'...

Random number generator.

...where they are from,

If you're from California or one of those other blue states, you must be a terrorist.

how they paid for tickets

That child with the world's largest piggy bank is soooo gonna get it.

their motor vehicle records

Anybody who has ever driven to Florida is a suspect.

past one-way travel

This person seems to have a history of committing terrorist acts against aircraft.

seating preference

Only terrorists can't afford first class.

The meals they ordered in-flight

Halal is fine, but those vegetarians... man, you've gotta watch out for them. And the vegans... those are the worst.

These ratings have now been assigned to millions of international travelers, including Americans, and the ATS is exempt from many provisions of the Privacy Act -- one cannot view their rating or the information used to generate it."

All your base are belong to U.S.

This concludes this translation session.

Not new : we do it since years (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071450)

Just look at my post history :) just kidding. But in addition to what CNN says the compartement (busines/first) lower your score, as well as belonging to a frequent traveler program. I am jsut SURPRISED that the US citizen also are in the database (it used to be only us dirty foreigner).

So how much worth is this score ? The easiest way to avoid a high score is to pay with credit card (can't be that hard to obtain), always make 2 ways travel even if you do not go "back", get senator/gold frequent traveler card (cumualte miles), business class, always order a meal with pig (just pretend to be ill and do not eat it, or just plain sleep thru the meal). Et Voila ! I just defeated any trace of security provided by such a score. Do I get to be shipped to a nice comfy cuban prison ?

By the way those rules are knowns since year and I remmember commenting about it on slashdot 2 or 3 times.

TERRORISM! (1)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071452)

This information would include things such as where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and the meals they ordered in-flight.

Translation:

  1. Not from America? TERRORISM!
  2. Don't use American currency? TERRORISM!
  3. Speeding tickets? TERRORISM!
  4. Relocation? TERRORISM!
  5. Like window seats? TERRORISM!
  6. Kosher meal? TERRORISM!


Thanks you for watching our latest Homeland Security video [youtube.com] !

Re:TERRORISM! (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071514)

"Like window seats? TERRORISM!"

No, it's more complicated than that.

If you like window seats, it's because you're planning to blow yourself up and blow a hole in the side of the plane, so you're a terrorist.

If you like aisle seats, it's because you're planning to hijack the plane, so you're a terrorist.

If you like any other kind of seats you're obviously mentally unbalanced, so you're a terrorist.

Re:TERRORISM! (1)

adaminnj (712407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071768)

I'll take the rumble seat please.

Everyone knows that the Islamists hate the Jews... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071458)

So... in order to defeat this, all the terrorists have to do is order the Kosher meal?

Re:Everyone knows that the Islamists hate the Jews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071692)

you are a tard!
Haala and Kosher are the same thing. (well almost)

A "terrorists" would prefer a kosher meal over a pork bolonia sandwitch in a stail sub roll. (inflight meal)

did I say you are stupid? well you are. I'm glad that I know all Americans are not as stupid as you or I would want to kill them all too!

and I'm a American.

i have only one question (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071490)

slashdot management: how much money did you make selling the us govt your karma system?

they probably do this for domestic travels as well (4, Interesting)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071496)

I'm not saying this out of paranoia - I'm saying this from personal experiences. I took a trip about a year ago to attend my brother's wedding. As luck would have it, my birthday had passed while I was at my travel destination, and with all the wedding and family stuff going on, I failed to realize that my drivers license had expired while I was at my travel destination. When I went to go on my return flight, I was flagged for "special" scanning/treatment, and I've been "randomly selected" to be frisked every time I travel after that as well. They can look through my bags all they want, but I must admit I seriously dislike (though I tolerate it to avoid conflict with the TSA) being frisked like that by some stranger every time I travel.

I'm certain some good jokes will follow this, but at least learn from my mistake: make sure your drivers license (even though is technically valid 30 days after expiration) does not expire in the midst of your travels!

Re:they probably do this for domestic travels as w (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071940)

Your state is weird. Everywhere I've ever lived, they send out an updated license with a new expiration date several weeks ahead of time. Thus, you were almost certainly flagged on suspicion of having a fake driver's license, not because it was expired....

Question..... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071510)

.... What makes us think that DHS wasn't already doing this (and they told nobody about it)?

Tracking travel by car? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071516)

Are they tracking travel by car? I make road trips -- plane-distance road trips. I do this instead of flying -- mostly because it is cheaper, but also because of the convenience.

So on these road trips, there are quite a number of communications towers, as well as these interesting localized sensor packs, complete with wind sensors, some have a camera, and there are other prongs which stick out of their little mast. Sometimes they have solar power, too. I've been tempted to investigate, but I'd probably want to put the more interesting bits in my car, and I don't want a closeup of my face to be the last thing transmitted.

I can't imagine they'd record licenseplates, though that could be one of the purposes. Anyone else see these things on the highway?

Re:Tracking travel by car? (1)

DoktorTomoe (643004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071846)

If they look something like this http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:SES_Staumelder_A 5.JPG [wikipedia.org] , they might be simply sensors for detecting traffic jams (this particular model is quite common in Germany)...

If they look like http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:LKW_Maut_Deutsch land_Messbruecke_Detail.jpg [wikipedia.org] , they might be some toll road tracking devices, and yes, over here, they actually do track license plates...

Well you know how it goes. (1)

Micklewhite (1031232) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071530)

I imagine you would be able to figure out your rating pretty quick if you went to check into your flight, and the person behind the counter said 'Oh I'm sorry, but you've been banned from this flight. You're viewed as a potential threat'. Then you'd say 'WHAT?! What the hell did I ever do?!' then they'd say 'We're not allowed to disclose that information, though from the looks of it, it might have had something to do with the chicken'.

random preferences (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071662)

how they paid for tickets, ..., seating preference and the meals they ordered in-flight

Except I, for one, very rarely pay myself for the tickets, never choose explicitly any of the rest, I simply don't care. So, when should I expect them to come for me ? :|
 

peanuts (1)

netsfr (839855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071672)

I wonder if my meal choice of the little bag of 9 peanuts will put me on the list?

The reason for meal choices (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17071710)

Hey guys, just as a little PROTIP regarding the reason for meal choices, oh yeah and liquid bans.
The food someone orders in addition to seat choices and other information can be used in determining the most likely suspect if an aircraft explodes. If someone tries to order a cellulose of some sort such as coffee grinds, a lot of tea, etc, it can be mixed with hydroperoxide to form an explosive compound. It may seem like theres a lot of criterion which are extraneous, but that's only because you don't know what you're talking about. The liquids ban was to prevent similar situation probably based on some sort of intel tipoff. I agree we need to keep a muzzle on these black gloved operations, but please educate yourself first.

Now, in b4 the partyvan comes to take me away for 'providing means or instruction'.

Obvious joke pre-alert (1)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071764)

So I guess one should avoid ordering the snake shishkebab.

It's called data mining (1)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071896)

What the government is probably trying to do here is gather any data the airline captures and see if there are any trends.

After some time, there may be a trend that terrorists always get the $5 snack pack with orange soda. Hey, you don't know.

In all liklihood (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17071948)

They are applying them to domestic travelers as well and we just don't know about that yet.
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