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DHS Passenger Scoring Almost Certainly Illegal

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-feel-safter dept.

Security 181

Vicissidude writes "At the National Targeting Center, the Automated Targeting System program harvests up to 50 fields of passenger data from international flights, including names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and uses watchlists, criminal databases and other government systems to assign risk scores to every passenger. When passengers deplane, Customs and Border Protection personnel then target the high scorers for extra screening. Data and the scores can be kept for 40 years, shared widely, and be used in hiring decisions. Travelers may neither see nor contest their scores. The ATS program appears to fly in the face of legal requirements Congress has placed in the Homeland Security appropriations bills for the last three years." From the article: "Marc Rotenberg, the director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said he was unaware of the language but that it clearly applies to the Automated Targeting System, not just Secure Flight, the delayed successor to CAPPS II. 'Bingo, that's it -- the program is unlawful,' Rotenberg said. 'I think 514(e) stands apart logically (from the other provisions) and 514 says the restrictions apply to any 'other follow-on or successor passenger prescreening program'. It would be very hard to argue that ATS as applied to travelers is not of the kind contemplated (by the lawmakers).'"

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181 comments

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Not hard at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17151960)

514 says the restrictions apply to any 'other follow-on or successor passenger prescreening program'


When passengers deplane, Customs and Border Protection personnel then target the high scorers for extra screening

Done. Now give me my $50,000 lawyer fee.

Will congress simply legalize it? (2, Insightful)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151962)

I hope that the new Congress will put its foot down on yet another intrusion into American personal liberty. The old one -- even the Democratic members -- did not.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (2, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152010)

Not to worry. Even if congress does act all the president has to do is issue yet another signing statement.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152098)

While the new Democratic congress will most certainly NOT try to reverse the slide into police state, they WILL raise taxes! Whoo hooo! Go Democrats!

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152104)

Will congress simply legalize it?
It is a Democratic Congress, of course they'll legalize it, they're potheads.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (4, Insightful)

nels_tomlinson (106413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152114)

I hope that the new Congress will put its foot down on yet another intrusion into American personal liberty. The old one -- even the Democratic members -- did not.

Meet the new congress ... same as the old congress.

The last part of your complaint really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? I could have voted for a republican candidate if he had been willing to shrink the powers of our government. I could have voted for a democrat who was willing to do that. Sadly, I've never seen a serious candidate for national office (except Ron Paul) who could plausibly claim that he was willing to reduce federal power in any practical way.

I hope that over the next two years, we will all learn that, just as voting republican in 2000 didn't solve our problems with government, voting democrat in 2006 and 2008 won't either. I wish that we had a viable alternative, but I'm afraid that we won't see one until after we all see that we need one.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154866)

The powers of your government have been shrunk to one man - The Decider, remember - he decides whether you are allowed to continue your true function as Consumer or whether you will be Disappeared.

Screen This DHS: +1, Patriotic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152226)


F The President [whitehouse.org] .

and while your at it, screw President-VICE Richard B. Cheney.

Thanks for nothing,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152260)

While I'm sure that this particular set of power hungry control freak millionaires will prefer a type of intrusion different from that of the previous set of power hungry control freak millionaires, why look a gift horse in the mouth?

The previous set did most of the dirty work, all that talk about frogmen plotting to poison our water supplies or how some guy somewhere might be thinking about trying to blow up or otherwise damage or hijack an aircraft using maybe a gel or liquid possibly concealed in some everyday container like a toothpaste tube or shaving cream or water bottle. Continuously thinking up increasingly frightening scenarios of how terrorists could bring us harm is tough work, especially if you have to do it one handed because your other hand is busying stuffing cash in your pockets as fast as possible before someone else gets it.

So these guys will probably be content to just pile on yet more intrusion into our lives wihtout pruning any of the old, because you never know when some little tidbit of information you've collected might prove useful.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152696)

Yes. After all, only terrorists brush their teeth or drink H2O.

Don't fly. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152282)

I haven't set foot in an airport since this insanity began, and I refuse to do so until this insanity ends.

Traveling by bus, train, or car is not as fast or comfortable, but at least you can do it with some of your privacy intact.

Just say no.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153112)

They need to stop all this security nonsense and just let people be. It would probably only cost us 1 or 2 hijackings and maybe a couple planes into a couple buildings every 6 months or a year or so. We can live with that, eh?

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (4, Insightful)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153520)

They need to stop all this security nonsense and just let people be. It would probably only cost us 1 or 2 hijackings and maybe a couple planes into a couple buildings every 6 months or a year or so. We can live with that, eh?

Dripping sarcasm notwithstanding, there's a fundamental point here. Can the intrusions in liberty be justified by reduced risk of hijackings or whatever? Or, perhaps, do they increase the risk? Some evidence would be apropos.

Suppose that the numbers above were true. The toll in deaths and ruined lives would still be lower than, say, the carnage on the highways. An orthogonal issue? I don't think so. Just think of what you could do with the billions of dollars wasted on building the police state. Highway safety is not even the most effective use to which these dollars could be put, but its orders of magnitude better than whatever DHS does with it.

But don't let my digression distract you from the fundamental point: there is not one iota of evidence that wiretaps, no-fly lists, torture, profiling, etc. make us safer. There is plenty of evidence that they directly diminish our quality of life, and indirectly divert our resources from more worthy pursuits.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (2, Insightful)

CaffeinieBaby (133815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154674)

> They need to stop all this security nonsense and just let people be. It would probably only cost us
> 1 or 2 hijackings and maybe a couple planes into a couple buildings every 6 months or a year or so.
> We can live with that, eh?

Free. Safe. Choose one.

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154738)

Google for "false dichotomy."

Re:Will congress simply legalize it? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154484)

As long as you can reduce the public embarrassment of people in these [wbir.com] cases. I'll go for it.

Probably the ultimate solution will be, drug or sedate travelers so they are not allowed to do anything while in the plane (flatulence included).

Denies rights based on secret laws (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17151966)

This passenger scoring thing denies rights based on a secret law. Making it impossible for a citizen to know what actions may result in the loss of these rights. A perfectly law abiding citizen who happens to dress a certain way and prefer a certain food (all in compliance with law) can get denied the ability to fly, whereas as people who have served time for multiple felonies are allowed on planes (not that they shouldn't be allowed either).

WTF.

Re:Denies rights based on secret laws (1, Interesting)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154040)

So? Where do you think you live, America? This is The Homeland, buddy--the place that just repealed habeas corpus by an overwhelming majority vote comprised of both political parties. Stop your whining and show me your papers, Mr Anonymous. Now!

Re:Denies rights based on secret laws (3, Insightful)

B.D.Mills (18626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154364)

This passenger scoring thing denies rights based on a secret law.
This bit scares me the most. It is a common principle in law that ignorance of the law is not a defense against breaking that law. However, such a principle is founded on the assumption that the people can find out what the law is. When a state has secret laws, this is no longer possible. So we have a situation where citizens may break a secret law and have no plausible way to determine for themselves what they need to do to stay on the right side of the law, yet citizens who are charged with breaking such laws may not be able to use ignorance of the law as a defense in a court of law.

Somehow I find that rather scary.

Okay... How can this be used (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151972)

For Hireing?
It is publicly available or is it only available to the government?

Re:Okay... How can this be used (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152286)

> Okay... How can this be used
>
>For Hiring?
> Is it publicly available or is it only available to the government?

It's a government database, much like the databases that hold criminal records, etc. Access to it is sold to data brokers such as Choicepoint.

When Company X wants to hire you, they ask Choicepoint if you're "a good risk".

Choicepoint crunches the numbers by means of a proprietary formula, one of the ingredients of which your credit rating (for sale by other data brokers), another of which is your criminal record and/or arrest history (for sale by other arms of the government), and another of which is now your Terrorist Score.

Neither you (nor Company X!) ever finds out what your Terrorist Score is. Company X takes a look at Choicepoint's evaluation and combines it, with your resume, and how well you did on the job interview, and whatever else it wants... and decides whether or not to hire you.

So if your Terrorist Score is too high, you might not get the job, because Choicepoint or the other background-checking firms have decided that it's important enough to make you a risk... or maybe not. You'll never know. That's both a feature (everyone has plausible deniability, so nobody can get sued), and a bug (you may be denied a job because of a bogus data point in your Terrorist Score, just as you can be denied a job due to bogus data on your credit history -- but you can at least fix the errors in your credit history.)

Now that that's out of the way, can we stop calling it a Terrorist Score? If I keep using that term, your score goes up. Probably the only way to fix a bad Terrorist Score is to start calling it a Freedom Score. At the rate I'm going, I'm gonna have to donate at least $1000 to both the RNC and the DNC before I can get hired again, let alone fly anywhere.

Re:Okay... How can this be used (1)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153436)

Add to this the fact that the "terrorist" score is only a rating and doesn't include any of the reasons for the score, even to the databroker. The score could just mean you follow the wrong religion (establishment clause? what establishment clause?), dontate to a charitible organization that got on the wrong side of Bush & Co., and read the wrong books, or it could mean that you were witnessed in a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan smoking opium with OBL. Noone will ever know.

Basically, the perfect recipe for brilliant WTFery.

Re:Okay... How can this be used (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153688)

It's hilarious that you would say you need to donate money to the RNC and DNC to be able to fly and then use $1000 as a value that would do anything. Absolutely hilarious.

Re:Okay... How can this be used (1)

Christopher_Edwardz (1036954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153840)

I'm not a lawyer, but I sue and have been sued and am familiar (I believe) with the process.

One could and should be able to sue Choicepoint if one is denied a job because of this data if it is inaccurate or if they provided my information to someone that didn't need to have it and didn't have my authorization. (Barring government of course.)

I'd just have someone I knew that was a Choicepoint subscriber, with a duly signed form from me allowing such a thing, to submit a query. It seems like tenancy would be the way to go, as they pull everything (with no reason to do so in my opinion) and have dirt-level security. (I've worked in over a hundred complexes in the big city where I live. I assure you they have NO security.)

When the data is returned, I'd review it. If it were wrong, I'd file suit on Choicepoint and start discovery on every place at which I've rented and every job at which I had applied for years. All I care about is if they had used Choicepoint or not. I'd match the records retrieved from Choicepoint.

Then I would argue in court that Choicepoint had damaged me by providing false information that effected my life and damaged me substantially. I would argue that this is particularly flagrant given that Choicepoint will neither let me see nor correct this false information and is damaging me to this very day. Nor would they stop when asked. I'd ask for an injunction against them releasing this data to anyone. (Not that this would stop them from releasing it to the government.)

One of the problems with this approach is convincing the court that a) you have been damaged by not renting or not getting a job and b) that the Choicepoint data had something to do with it.

If the data was obtained without my consent, say a slimy bill collector company, I could sue them for providing sensitive information without my approval. That'd probably be an easier burden to show injury.

(Note: I would make an attempt (in fact, I'm writing the letter right now and send it registered mail, return receipt required) to contact them and review my records. Anything more than a full disclosure (*sigh* exempting my double-naught super-secret terrorist score) wouldn't fly with the court in all probability. If they coughed it up, my cause would be ended. If not, so much for the transparency they flaunt on their website's privacy policy. http://www.privacyatchoicepoint.com/ [privacyatchoicepoint.com] )

Additionally, I imagine I would obtain ALL the people to which this information was provided for at least 10 years. If something popped up for which I did not authorize, I'd add that to the pile, stating that they are assisting data theft and I have no idea if my data had been compromised, nor had I authorized Choicepoint to release this data.

I would be interested to understand how Choicepoint can release this information without my express permission when other companies must obtain it. (They may be requesting signed forms, and if so, ok. If I signed and they can produce the signed forms.)

I would be interested to understand how they obtained all this data. Most of it is probably public record, so that'd be fine, but my credit reports probably are not. Did I sign something someplace that allowed this?

More speculation would be pointless without additional information, but I guess my point is... they are definitely not immune to being sued.

Finally, am I the only one bothered by the idea that: You (reader) might be, to a lesser or greater degree, a terrorist than I am, but you, nor I, may not be not a terrorist under this system? So it follows that everyone under this system is a terrorist by implication.

Since they refuse all data, I have to for safety's sake assume this is true, and the only real benefit this has (since it cannot be a deterrent as it cannot be known) is to provoke fear and control in the population?

Eheieh, Eheieh! Where has our country gone?

Won't be too long (4, Insightful)

balsy2001 (941953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17151992)

Until they start sending people with a score that is too high to secret prisons without the right to know why they are being charged or the evidence that is being used to convict them. All of this crap is getting way out of control.

Re:Won't be too long (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152146)

All of this crap is getting way out of control.

Getting? Please. It's been more than "way out of control" for longer than I can remember. There shouldn't even be any fucking discussion about this sort of shit. People who "may" be locked up currently shouldn't have to wait for the lopsided Supreme Court to overturn this.

It's a sad time for our nation.

Re:Won't be too long (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152300)

Wow, you must really hate freedom.

Why don't you shut the fuck up and go to North Korea with your liberal FUD. America isn't safe yet and we will do whatever it takes to protect and defend our people from the threats that exist.

You should trust your government more. They are probably smarter than you and in a time of war we need to show unity and not question every single important policy. In these times dissent is unpatriotic and unamerican.

Re:Won't be too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152354)

In these times dissent is unpatriotic and unamerican.

Sorry, did I forget to mention that because I don't have an American Flag stapled to my roof in Christmas lights (yes, I said "Christmas" and not holiday!) I fucking hate America?

God (yes, it's capitalized and not because it's the first word in the sentence) I fucking hate America.

Long live Jong-Il and down with the freedom fighters in the White House!

Re:Won't be too long (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153080)

"Long live Jong-Il and down with the freedom fighters in the White House!"

If crime-fighters fight crime, and fire-fighters fight fire, what do freedom-fighters fight?

Re:Won't be too long (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152410)

dissent is unpatriotic and unamerican.

Dissent is what founded our country.

Re:Won't be too long (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152826)

Dissent is what founded our country.

Yeah, but "no taxation without representation" has a better ring to it than the current brouhaha. It's hard to come up with a catchy slogan about a passenger point scoring profile.

Re:Won't be too long (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152884)

So is humor. You must not be from the US. :roll:

Re:Won't be too long (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154668)

Dissent is what founded our country.

You are not correct. Revolution is what founded this country.

Re:Won't be too long (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152400)

If you're waiting for "liberal" judges to restore rights, I wouldn't hold your breath. Remember, it was the "liberal" justices that decided private property rights didn't matter if a town wanted to take your land to give it to another private party in Kelo vs Connecticut.

Re:Won't be too long (2, Interesting)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153554)

Judges only count as activists if they decide for civil rights and any constitutional amendment that isn't the second amendment... They are good, upstanding judges when they side with corporations and big government.

Re:Won't be too long (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153106)

Well, you said it much better than I did.

Re:Won't be too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152170)

1984 called, it wants its paranoia back.

Does this system still function.... (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152028)

if you use a fake boarding pass :-)

Dupe...? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152044)

Would it be illegal to mention that this article appears to be a dupe from a few days ago? Or would that affect my terrorist (karma) score? :P

Re:Dupe...? (3, Interesting)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152370)

Although similar this is not a dupe. The previous article announced the program. This article espouses the opinions of the EFF, specifically Mark Rotenberg.

It's things like this that I like about slashdot. Posting multiple articles from different sources about the same subject allows for both a healthy debate by us and tends to provide more then one side to a story. Instead of just getting the bias of one publication we get to see the subtle shades of bias and decide for ourselves who makes sense, who we want to agree with or believe.

Re:Dupe...? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154120)

It's things like this that I like about slashdot. Posting multiple articles from different sources about the same subject allows for both a healthy debate by us and tends to provide more then one side to a story. Instead of just getting the bias of one publication we get to see the subtle shades of bias and decide for ourselves who makes sense, who we want to agree with or believe.
A single link to Google News with the appropriate keywords appended would accomplish the same thing.

This is mostly a dig @ reporters and not at /. editors, but some of the articles that get put up on the frontpage have so little information that they're almost useless. Whenever I see those types of stories, I take a trip to Google News to see what was left out.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Nobody! (3, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152092)

Illegal?

Where is it that you guys are getting the idea that the rule of law applies to this administration? That wouldn't be in their interests at all. And since they're in charge of enforcing the laws they break...

And if you think that Congress, aside from a couple of freaks like Feingold and Leahy, are going to do anything about this at all... well, I hope you're right, but I'd bet against it.

PS: I like those freaks. I wish they weren't the exception.

Re:Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Nobody! (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153792)

Good point. Where do folks get the idea that blame applies only to the Administration? Last I checked, the "Other Branch" that was supposed to balance (Congress) rolled over.

"Hey, all of this monitoring stuff the bureaucracy's lusted for for years sounds like a great idea".

Now supposedly Congress is going to grow a set? I'll believe it when I see it. They won't give a damn until this is used against one of them as a political tactic (not if, when).

Are Libertarians tired of Republicans yet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152150)

How much bigger must Big Brother government become?

How much more money must be squandered?

Will they wait until after the Bush regime crosses the Rubicon in desperation before they speak up?

I've seen this before (2, Interesting)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152162)

It sounds like a slightly modified spam-assassin with baysian filtering.

positive matches (5, Insightful)

DreamerFi (78710) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152174)

From the article:
 
  Paul Rosenzweig, a high-level Homeland Security official, told Congress in September that the system had "encountered 4801 positive matches for known or suspected terrorists." However, it is unclear how many of those were correct matches.
 
No, it's very clear. Zero. Zilch, none, nada. If there were any correct matches, they would trot them out and use them to demonstrate the "success" of the program.

Re:positive matches (1)

adsl (595429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153972)

Yes it's troubling that the DHS official cannot even tell anyone how many of the matches were correct. If the system can't answer that it must surely be junk. I can't imagine sitting in front of a Congressional Committee and having to admit that lack of accountability. The other way such stats are meaningless is that there are "criminals" who try to enter the USA everyday (and are turned back) and there is an already existing database to identisy them. So these SAME matches would also be made in this new database, but because they are already covered by legacy systems they are not NEW matches. Apart from the obvious legality issues DHS officials need to be honest and upfront about how well this new database is really working..or NOT. I've also heard that this database cannot be accessed by individuals wanting to check their own status. But DHS says you can complain! But how do you know to complain? Also the database can and WILL be given to foreign governments and sold to oustide firms (for MONEY). YIKES! This new sytem seems full of holes. I thought that DHS was created to have a more competent structure?

Re:positive matches (1)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154642)

Congress can fix this problem by not funding the National Targeting Center, the TSA, or any other agency that does this kind of shit.

switching to Stephen Colbert mode:
When are the senators and representatives going to grow some balls? (That includes you, Nancy Pelosi.)

e-mails? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152184)

Unreliable, I usually use email address hosted other countries.

We should all book our tickets using emails from country comains that they consider in their axis of evil :)

Make a mockary of their system, jam it with so much noise it is useless.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (4, Insightful)

Wee (17189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152188)

And if the law is changed (again) and this is made illegal (again?), how will we know the scores aren't being used for some other purpose? How will we know the databases have been purged? Says the gov't: "Ok, ok... our bad. We won't do it anymore, honest!" How exactly will we know they've stopped? All manner of rights can be swept under the table when it's "potential terrorists" who are involved. And what politician will vote against something that is ostensibly in place to prevent harm to the citizens of the US? One small bomb goes off and it's political murder for everyone in the "Nay" column on that vote.

I think some sort of new check and balance needs to be put in place against the executive branch. We're supposed to have the Congress and the Supreme Court to protect us from potential abuses, but they haven't obviously served us very well in the past 6 years...

What we need, I'm not sure. But we need something.

-B

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17153042)

Every time congress wants to pass a bill that requires invalidating any portion of a constitutional rights, all of the people that vote for it must put their name in a lottery. 10% of them will be randomly chosen, put up on a firing line, and shot.

If it's worth taking my rights away, then it must be worth risking dying for, right? Besides, there's a 90% chance you'll live. What could go wrong? We'll even make sure the lottery machine is provided by Diebold, so you'll know you can trust it... so long as you've scratched their back enough. Right?

The Land of the free (1)

madsen (17668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152196)

When will you see that was used to be the land of the free suddenly has become what Orwell predicted, although he was off by some 20 years.
I'd say that at this point Osama is getting what he was after in the first case, to destroy the westerners "paradise".

Re:The Land of the free (1)

traveller604 (961720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152376)

There is a westerners "paradise" but it's on the other side of the Atlantic ocean..

Re:The Land of the free (4, Insightful)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152650)

George Bush is doing everything that he can do at the last moment to try and salvage his legacy. His presidency has been marked by the worst disasters ever to affect America; 9/11, the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the Broncos losing their home opener.

Next thing you know, he'll have NASA purposely direct meteors at America so he can show how prepared for any disaster he is. Enormous clouds of dust will rise up out of the craters of midwest cities and George Bush will be flying over head in a helicopter touting his emergency preparedness plan and at the same time having congress sign over more power to him. He'll have congress give him an emergency 3rd term so that he can save America.

I'm seriously done with the hype and the fear that controls this country. Ever since 9/11 our country has not rested in the fight against terrorism. That means, that we are fighting the fear of terror. So, we are afraid. We're afraid of the terrorists. The terrorists don't have to do one damned thing ever again and we'll remain afraid as long as we're fighting this war. What do the terrorists want? They want us to be afraid. Fear will keep us from doing anything. Fear is an inhibitor. As long as this country remains afraid then it will not accomplish anything great.

Why were the Feds so slow to respond to the pain and suffering in New Orleans? Because we were paralyzed with fear. Why have gas prices gone through the roof? Because we're fear has robbed us of our ability to react. I am not afraid of the next disaster that will strike this country because there is a new one each day. Friends are dying in Iraq, friends died in New Orleans, and friends will be dying close to home as long as we live in fear.

George Bush... give me my country back you bastard! I'm not afraid of you, of Osama bin Laden, IEDs, cancer, hurricanes, snow flakes, bunny rabbits, muslims, christians, Hummers, or anything elses for that matter. You have taught me what fear is and fear is evil! I will not be afraid. I will act. I will do what I have to do as a human, as an American and as a fighter. I AM NOT AFRAID AND I WILL NOT BE CONTROLLED BY FEAR!!!!!

All the more reason... (1)

justkarl (775856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152210)

it should be used for Netflix or Slashdot instead [slashdot.org] .

Moo (-1, Offtopic)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152256)

deplane

deplane, deplane!

I keep having this fantasy where i land on a midget heralding my visit with a roar kind of.

The one bright spot to all of this (4, Funny)

cje (33931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152358)

The one bright spot to all of this is that starting next year, you'll be able to log into www.FreeTerrorReport.com and get a free copy of your score from all three of the main terror bureaus.

Re:The one bright spot to all of this (2, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152478)

FreeTerrorReport.com isn't taken - who wants it?

Re:The one bright spot to all of this (1)

cje (33931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152562)

Somebody really should take it -- it has the makings for a great satire site (not to mention a thinly-veiled backhand slap at the intelligence folks who think that things like this are a good idea).

Re:The one bright spot to all of this (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152920)

...from all three of the main terror bureaus.
Legislative, Executive, and Judicial?

Re:The one bright spot to all of this (1)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153678)

No, CIA, FBI, and DOD. They are the bureaus actually tracking this information. The legislative and judicial will just help make it legal.

Sure, the REPORT is free... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154586)

...but your terror score will cost $9.95.

Almost certainly illegal (1)

aevans (933829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152386)

translates into definitely legal. "Might" and "possible" placed together encompasses everything that everything that is not.

pet peeve (2, Funny)

Secret Rabbit (914973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152394)

One of my pet peeves is the word "deplane". It is NOT deplane, it is DISEMBARK!!!

Jesus, when did the airlines have such a low opinion of their passengers that they think that they don't know what disembark means?

Seriously, deplane? Sound more like delouse. AAAAAHHHHH, get these planes off me!!!

Re:pet peeve (2, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152640)

They get their vocabulary from Herve Villechaize. "It's deplane, boss, deplane!"

Chris Mattern

Re:pet peeve (1)

mojodamm (1021501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152682)

But 'deplane' sounds so much better when you're already living on whatever Fantasy Island these 'lawmakers' are...

Re:pet peeve (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152702)

"Boss! Boss! Deplane! Deplane!"

Re:pet peeve (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152958)

One of my pet peeves is the word "deplane". It is NOT deplane, it is DISEMBARK!!!
Preposterous! They were not in a craft propelled by sails or oars, but in a plane!

Next they'll be attempting a sea landing... oh. Wait.

Re:pet peeve (3, Funny)

B.D.Mills (18626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154030)

We don't need a word for entering and leaving different kinds of vehicles. "Disembark" should cover all forms of mass transit - ships, planes, trains, buses. We don't have words like "deship", "detrain" or "debus", so why must we have such nonsense as "deplane"?

Deplane sounds like what I do to a piece of paper when I make it into a ball and throw it in the rubbish, or deform any other planar surface so it is no longer a plane.

Or, as the parent poster suggested, it sounds like we are being cleansed of an infestation of tiny parasitic planes. Deice - remove ice, degauss - remove gauss, delouse - remove lice, deplane - remove planes. Makes more sense to me.

can't see it? (2, Insightful)

rolyatknarf (973068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152434)

Data and the scores can be kept for 40 years, shared widely, and be used in hiring decisions but the traveler is not allowed to see it? Why would a prospective employer have access to this info but the prospective employee can't? They can say "we can't hire you because something showed up in your file but we can't tell you what it is". This has got to be bullshit if anything is.

Re:can't see it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152674)

Do you think that residents of the USSR or GDR could look in their secret service records to see why they could not get a job?

So, why would a resident of the so-called "free" USA have that right?

Re:can't see it? (2, Insightful)

durdur (252098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154088)

Welcome to the new USA, where "rights" are things that the government and corporations have.

"he was unaware of the language but ..." (1)

DBett (241601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152602)

otherwise fully willing to render his purported expert opinion on the legality of something he admits he was unaware of.

Not that such ignorance prevented the reporter from quoting him, or prevented Slashdot from posting this.

Of Course, We Could Just Round Up all the Muslims (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152648)

. . . and send them to internment camps for the duration of the "War on Terror," like we did to Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Then we could drop ridiculous security programs like this one for domestic flights and international flights originating within the U.S.

Because, no matter how much we don't want to come out and say it, it's only Muslims that are a risk. Okay, a very small subset of the group, but Muslims none the less.

And until the greater Muslim community unites and denounces the aim of their radical bretheren, the whole group will remain suspect.

But why should they unite? We are falling over ourselves and tying ourselves in knots in our herculean efforts not to offend them.

No wonder their radicals think we're weak and ripe for the picking.

Re:Of Course, We Could Just Round Up all the Musli (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153312)

I really hate to admit it, but I think you're quite right. And if they are actually good people, and not evil destroyers, then they should also agree to wearing a big yellow crescent moon badge on their outer garments so that everyone knows that they are not to be mistaken for the "bad muslims." It's for their own good you know... else they might get shot by mistake or something.

But then, you know, there are Americans out there, not me and not you of course, that can't tell the difference between a good muslim and a bad muslim, badge or no badge. So in the interests of their safety, we should ask them to move to an enclosed, all-muslim collective zone until we can get this war on terror sorted out. It's really the only way to prevent tragedy from befalling the good muslims after all.

I think the whole nation has lost its mind. The two paragaphs above this are complete bull-crap. I think the parallels to history are pretty obvious and it should be obvious to all why it's wrong. I think our society would be far better off if we kept ALL of our freedoms in-tact and let the "terrorists" do their worst. I think our freedom is worth it. And yes, even if it means there would be increased possibility of my own children being killed. (Because as far as I can see, there would STILL be a higher probablility of death on the freeway or death by rampaging teenager in school than death by terrorist attack.) Let's take a clue from other nations that have been dealing with radical violence for decades or longer. Let's just go on about our lives and let the police do their jobs with the tools they already have. It's good enough if they aren't lazy worthles pigs.

Re:Of Course, We Could Just Round Up all the Musli (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154026)

the first two paragraphs may be with tongue firmly in cheek, but there are way too many people who not only fail to spot the historical parallel, but will think it is a Good Idea.

On the bright side, my amulet protecting me from terrorists seems to work - since I bought it, I haven't been killed by a terrorist. Maybe I should sell it to the president, so that he can save billions by dissolving the TSA and DHS

Re:Of Course, We Could Just Round Up all the Musli (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154166)

The first two paragraphs actually describe how Iran currently operates but just substitute Muslim for Christian.

Profiling is a good thing... (1, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152722)

It seems to me that we all want to be kept safe from terrorist attacks but are unwilling to allow profiling. I can't help but believe that if you use profiling you will be getting better results with the limited resources you have. The fact is that ALL of the 9/11 terrorists were radical Muslims. How does it help to pretend that this isn't so? I'm not being prejudice just realistic. If there were a militant hristian movement complete with suicide bombers I would hope that for my safety Christians would be profiled.

Yes, but... (4, Insightful)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152832)

Yes, but how many of the Oklahoma City terrorists were Muslims? How many of the abortion clinic bombing terrorists were Muslims? How many of the Columbine terrorists were Muslims?

Re:Yes, but... (2, Funny)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153760)

...how many of the Oklahoma City terrorists were Muslims?


All of them - just check the database.

How many of the abortion clinic bombing terrorists were Muslims?


All of them - just check the database. And don't tell me you can't!

How many of the Columbine terrorists were Muslims?


All of them - just check the database. And don't whine about it being exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests. After all, we're protecting our country... or at least all except for the statistically insignificant number who are Muslims... oops, sorry, I meant "potential terrorists."

<IRONY=0%>

Oh, dammit, I forgot the <IRONY=100%> tag again!

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (1)

faedle (114018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152856)

While all the 9/11 terrorists were "radical Muslims", not all terrorists in general are.

Timothy McVeigh was not a "radical Muslim". Plus, as has been pointed out repeatedly, once you start profiling, the terrorists will just start to pick people that don't "fit" the profile.

Profiling also potentially violates the rights of people who may fit the profile but not be involved. Just because most people who commit violent crimes are black males doesn't mean we start jailing all black male men in the US. People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law in the US: that, tied with the ideal that race should not be a factor in deciding "guilt" or "innocence" makes the whole idea of "profiling" repugnant to many who still believe in the ideals this country was supposed to be founded on.

Profiling simply doesn't work, and can't work in a society that claims to be "free."

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (1)

aalegado (168251) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154018)

Commenting on just the "People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law in the US" statement...

That only applies during the trial.

If the law presumed you were innocent then most arrests wouldn't happen (you're innocent after all, aren't you?). For the few arrests that did occur, it would then be rare for the DA to indict you (you're innocent after all, aren't you?). No, our system assumes guilt for the purpose of arrest and bringing charges and only presumes innocence during the trial.

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (2, Funny)

aalegado (168251) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154398)

Osama's won. Our society's changed for the worst and the current Administration has helped keep us in fear of ourselves. All Al Queda has to do now is threaten to hack the server of the kid selling lemonade on the corner and the TSA puts us on Orange alert and we all have to be on the look out for strange people doing strange things while holding 3.1oz. of fluid in hard to see-through bags. God help us if a TSA agent drives through North Hollywood, CA on his way to work one night. He'd lose his mind and we'd go to Red alert and DEFCON 1.

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17152970)

And in the previous terrorist attack in the US (Oklahoma City) none of the terrorists were Muslim so profiling Muslims doesn't hold.

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153144)

Yes, but it would offend some people.

Just the word "profiling" is offensive to African-Americans because of their extensive history in being "profiled" in the past. For example, the Florida State Police were prevented from such "profiling" back in the 1980's. They had identified a trend that expensive cars being driven at high speeds by African-Americans had a strong correlation to there being significant quantities of drugs in the car. This was viewed as completely unethical and such profiling was ended.

Regardless of the practicalities of the situation, profiling isn't going to fly in the US.

And, as an aside to the folks saying not all terrorists are Muslims, the problem is today that the overwhelming number of people that have a religious duty to kill Westerners happen to be Muslim. And, the Muslim folks are the ones pushing the envelope, as proven by the imam's little ritual going to Phoenix.

And, if we didn't have to worry about Muslim and their religious duty, we might actually be able to focus on keeping the small number of other wackos off airplanes.

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153788)

You can make a perfectly safe car, but it's really cost prohibitive as well as limiting to what the driver can do. Same with a perfectly safe America. The government and its systems can't protect Americans from everything. Americans should do their part as well: keep aware. If you're on a long flight, be a little anxious. Don't freak out, but be aware and consider your options if something did happen. You do it for crash landings, you may as well add:

"In the event some lunatic stands up in the aisle screaming "Death to all infidels!" please allow your airline staff direct access to said person while making staff aware of any other suspicious activities during the incident. And for choosing our bankrupt airline, we say thank you and have a nice flight."

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153790)

Woot! Woot! You've identified a very specific group of people after they've announced themselves as being part of that group. Congratulations.

Now tell me - how do you tell a radical Muslim from a just somewhat nutty muslim? How do you tell a radical Muslim from a radical nut? How do you tell a radical Muslim who is planning on bombing you from Joe Zaki down the street?

Profiling is a great idea. However, profiling based on racial characteristics or common choices like meal selection and prayer habits is fucking retarded. There are far too many false positives. And if false positives don't worry you... sorry, I can't help you. You're then just part of the problem. If you want to do it right, do it the hard way: human intelligence, infiltration, psychological profiling and very meticulous bag searches. There is no easy way to be safe. Get over it.

Re:Profiling is a good thing... (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154412)

So, if we use profiling and pull all the Muslims out of line and inspect them, what's to stop the evil doers from hiring a white guy to do their work for them? I imagine there are plenty out there willing to do so.

Domestic versus International Flights (2, Interesting)

DBett (241601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17152740)

The purported expert quoted in the article appears unaware that CAPPS and SecureFlight applied to domestic US flights. Those programs are accordingly more restricted - and subject to things like the "Section 514" mentioned. This program relates only to International Flights and thus has a whole different set of rules (unless I missed the imposition of Customs checks on domestic flights).

Once again ignorance is no bar to blanket assertions of illegal acts.

DHS preserved the Constitution? (2, Funny)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153150)

Wait, so let me get this straight...

The Department of Homeland Security actually wrote something that would PRESERVE our Constitutional rights?!?!

Who are you and what have you done with our fascist overlords?

link to comments and text of law (3, Informative)

ehasbrouck (539420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153188)

The link in the Wired New story is broken -- Regulations.gov doesn't use static URL's for individual documents.

The Identity Project comments, including as an appendix the text of the relevant law, are at:

http://hasbrouck.org/IDP/IDP-ATS-comments.pdf [hasbrouck.org]

Those comments also expain how the "Automated Targeting System" would include information on domestic flights and travelers, in addition to international travel records.

There's more background on my blog, and the Identity Project blog:

http://hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/001184.html [hasbrouck.org]

http://papersplease.org/wp/2006/12/05/every-travel er-is-a-target/ [papersplease.org]

I'll say this again (1, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153250)

Call me a racist, I could care less..... When 80 year old grandmas start blowing up buildings by flying airplanes into them, I'll start looking at 80 year old grandmas. Until then, the PATTERN has been since the 70's, 20-40 year old MUSLIM males causing all the problems, so you LOOK at those causing the problem. It isn't "profiling", it's called common sense!

Re:I'll say this again (0, Troll)

Boronx (228853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153642)

And 20-40 years old RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN males. Don't leave them out.

Don't Like It? Tell them! (1)

cybermage (112274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153580)

DHS has received a whopping 59 comments about the system before the December 4th deadline and so they extended the deadline for comments to Dec 29th. Details are in this WIRED article [wired.com]

Re:Don't Like It? Tell them! (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154852)

Yeah good idea, we KNOW for a fact that they use the no fly list to harass people they don't like, I am sure anyone who responds negatively gets a couple points added against them on the score. I mean really, why not? There is no oversight, no way to view or attempt to correct it. Why on earth WOULDN'T they use it on a whim to punish those who disagree with them. Look at it from their perspective, they feel they are protecting the country and everyone who disagrees with them wishes them to be out of a job and wants us all to be less safe. It probably is not much of a logical leap in their minds to think dissenters could be dangerous an deserve a few more Terror Points (tm).

Finkployd

6 Imans (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154032)

I know 6 Imans who ought to be scoring pretty high on this list right about now.

Lost in translation (2, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154278)

Not knowing what DHS is (I'm not an oppressed American), the headline read like:
a) DHS is an airline (or similar),
b) one of their passengers got lucky, but
c) they got busted.

Re:Lost in translation (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154812)

DHS = Department of Homeland Surveillance^WSecurity

Hopefully, they do get busted.

Something everyone is forgetting here: (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154482)

Every amendment in the Constitution deals with what Congress shall or Congress shall not do. Like it or not, but flying is not a right and the Constitution does not apply to airlines. Every citizen if free to vote with their pocket books and take the bus, boat or rail.

Re:Something everyone is forgetting here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17154890)

Using teh intarweb isn't a right either and the constitution doesn't apply to ISPs, it doesn't make it OK for the government to have access to all the logs of everything you do and use it to generate a terrorist-score and then give you the rubber glove treatment if your number is too high. You sound like a closet fascist.
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