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US Shuts Down Controversial Anti-Terror Database

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the one-less-affront dept.

Privacy 238

coondoggie writes "The massive anti-terror database established by the US government has been criticized for keeping track of regular everyday citizens. Computerworld reports that as of September 17th, the database will be shut down. 'The Threat and Local Observation Notices or TALON, was established in 2002 by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as a way to collect and evaluate information about possible threats to U.S. service members and defense civilians all over the world. Congress and others protested its apparent use as an unauthorized citizen tracking database. The TALON system came under fire in 2005 for improperly storing information about some civilian individuals and non-government-affiliated groups on its database. The Air Force developed TALON... in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to gather data on possible terrorist threats. Anti-war groups and other organizations, protested after it was revealed last year that the military had monitored anti-war activities, organizations and individuals who attended peace rallies.'"

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238 comments

And they are waiting for another month because??? (1, Interesting)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309607)

(eom)

Re:And they are waiting for another month because? (4, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310743)

... to maximize the publicity.

We are going into an election cycle and everyone is going to need to trot out their sound-bytes on this subject. I have no doubt this move will be spun as a blow for freedom, a blow against the war on terror, an example of liberal spinelessness in the pursuit of justice, an example of the American people calling the govt out and winning, and on and on and on and on...

On another note, how likely is it that the military is simply giving up an effective tool? My bet is that this particular system has either been surpassed by another, was shown to be completely ineffective in the first place, or has been thrown to the wolves in exchange for concessions of another type.

Regards.

Re:And they are waiting for another month because? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310759)

To make sure all the data is backed up and they have a new name for the program, duh.

Re:And they are waiting for another month because? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310781)

Donald Rumsfeld uses a USB 1.0 pendrive.

homes (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309609)

WE RIDE TOGETHER WE DIE TOGETHER send this GUN to everyone you care about including me if you care. Count how many times you get this, if you get a 13 your A TRUE HOMIE

I bet they save the backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309619)

Why Sep 17th? Why not shut it down now?

Re:I bet they save the backups (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309883)

Why Sep 17th? Why not shut it down now?
They have to have the protocols in place to keep gathering data so that when the database is moved around and renamed, they can quickly bring it up to date and carry on.

Maybe I can fly now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309625)

Wow, maybe I can fly again now! I wonder if I'll still have to bring ID...

Re:Maybe I can fly now. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310435)

Wow, maybe I can fly again now! I wonder if I'll still have to bring ID...

AFAIK, courts have ruled that you DON'T need ID for domestic flights. However, airlines and the TSA can make the security screening pretty darn unpleasant for those without ID.

Wink Wink Nod Nod... (5, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309665)

Didn't they claim they shut it down before?

I could swear this program has been "killed" twice, and by "killed" i mean the government's definition: proclaiming a project discontinued while continuing it under a new name. (note: definition also adopted by microsoft regarding the trusted computing project)

Re:Wink Wink Nod Nod... (-1, Offtopic)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309743)

TIA lives, obviously. A real regime change might help.

a project discontinued while continuing it under a new name. (note: definition also adopted by microsoft regarding the trusted computing project)

You should see what they did to parts of BSD. If they have their way with patents, Win8 will be another version of Debian. If you like your liberty, this also requires regime change.

Re:Wink Wink Nod Nod... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309929)

Yep, it was killed right after Wal-Mart sold out of tinfoil hats.

No (4, Informative)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310625)

No, you are thinking of the Total Information Awareness [wikipedia.org] program, which was very different. That (and its associated programs) were/are datamining everybody's credit reports, public records, etc to find "terrorist patterns".

This program is unrelated. It's not datamining anything. All this is is a centralized database of threats to DoD installations and personnel. Sure, it has its potential for abuse, but its a very different animal from TIA, and confusing the two does't help anyone.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

jafac (1449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310761)

The non-sensationalist version of this story?

TALON is really just used to schedule when bases need to ramp up security to accommodate peace protester groups. It's actually there to benefit the protesters. Not some scary conspiracy to track them. If a protest is staged at a base, and there isn't enough security, there can be traffic issues, counter-protest issues, saboteurs can use genuine peaceful protests as cover for distraction, there are a lot of legitimate reasons for the operators of a secure facility to have a way to coordinate and even cooperate with protest groups. The army has to do their job; protect the country - but protesters are often "the country" they're trying to protect.

The mainstream media doesn't report this angle of the story. I don't know why - maybe it's bias, or maybe it's just not controversial (profitable) when told this way.

Nothing up their sleeves... (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310787)

plasmacutter, I think it goes something like this:

"We're "shutting down" the database (fingers crossed behind our backs) but that doesn't mean we're going to delete all that data. See, we're just turning off the Microsoft Access front end that the administrative assistant in D-ring made back in June. We don't have anybody available who can actually "delete" any data, so we'll just leave it alone, but we promise (both hands behind their backs now) that we won't really use it."

I'm really pretty shocked that with all that's gone on, that no media outlet has reported on the fact that the latest wire-tapping law that was passed the last day before congress went on vacation was signed by Bush, but...he actually added a signing statement that says, uh, he really doesn't have to follow the law because hey, he's the president and terrorists are trying to kill us after all..

So, even though the law that was passed was EXACTLY the law the President wanted, because it was actually written by Al Gonzales and his assistants, he STILL doesn't have to obey it because... HEY LOOK OVER THERE! A TERRORIST!! BEHIND THAT TREE!1!!

The most disturbing part of this whole mess is that the media, the Democrats, nobody will say shit about this unprecedented power grab because at heart they are all authoritarians who want to forget all about this "Constitution" nonsense so MONEY CAN BE MADE.

People can say that this is nothing new, that when the Civil War was on Abe Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, and Roosevelt limited rights during WWII, but that's just a crock. In both those cases, Lincoln included, the presidents went to congress and got their permission to limit freedoms and for a limited amount of time. Bush is going solo on this one and since the Global War on Islamonaziliberalism is The Forever War, we'll never again have to bother with civil liberties, rights or privacy. Freedom has become obsolete in just the term of one president.

Amazing.

Fortunately, I've got faith in the belief in liberty held by many of the bright folks here at Slashdot, and I'm expecting a civil uprising against the surveillance culture to come in the form of hackers and other whitehat miscreants who will fight to put fat monkey wrenches into the efforts of the guys over at NSA. Hell, I'm not surprised if there are still a few patriots over in the NSA who might be building some backdoors into this machinery. Well, one can hope.

The fight isn't over, but it's important for us to start recognizing the enemy. And guess what: he's not wearing a towel on his head.

Shut down (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309667)

And replaced by..?

And TALON will be replaced by? (4, Insightful)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309669)

This database will just be replaced by a more secretive version under another name that we will never hear about.

Quo't they might be giants... (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309867)

"where your eyes don't go a part of you is hovering. It's a nightmare that you'll never be discovering"

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (3, Insightful)

Starcom8826 (888459) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309921)

How on earth does something like this get "Insightful" ? If it will get replaced, then you can just say "see, I told you so" despite apparently not being more secretive. If it doesn't, then you can say "well, they're more secretive." There's absolutely no way you can disprove such a statement.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310071)

There's absolutely no way you can disprove such a statement.

That doesn't mean it's not true. Experience suggests it is.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (3, Interesting)

Starcom8826 (888459) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310433)

Not exactly, I'd say experience suggests that it may be replaced by something that is supposed to be secretive but we find out about it anyways.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310645)

but we find out about it anyways.

Sometimes. Eventually. After the damage was done.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310149)

Allow us to simplify it for you. Regardless of what "news" you read or what the various levels of government tell you, if you don't assume you are being watched and tracked to one degree or another all the time, then you are an idiot.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (1)

Starcom8826 (888459) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310391)

Oh I know I'm going to be watched to some degree whether it be by government or private institutions. However, allow me to simply for you. Regardless of what "spin" you try to put on it, the comment was essentially meaningless, and as such, how can it be insightful? Its interesting how you add all that drivel about news I read and slip in that about the government besides me not having said anything about whether or not I actually believe that it will be replaced or not. But if you indeed really can't cope with someone saying something against a comment that you sympathize with, then you are an idiot.

TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310269)

The department is working to develop a new reporting system to replace TALON, but in the interim, all information concerning force protection threats will go to the FBI's Guardian reporting system.
Not only will it be replaced, it is probably already redundant.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310289)

There's absolutely no way you can disprove such a statement.

I can't say you're wrong about that.

Re:And TALON will be replaced by? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309939)

And that's also the reason why they need to run it until September 17th. They probably had to oder and install new hardware to copy all the data over. Well, that and some extra time to come up with a new, even cooler retronym.

I found the Al-Qaeda Database. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310093)


You can read the main message from Al-Qaeda here [whitehouse.org].

And Bush says we have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here.

If THEY are here, WHERE are the troops?

Shut down (4, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309671)

The data will be archived, then a year or two down the road will resurface as some new system. Now that they've collected all this data, don't think for a second they will let it go quietly into the night.

Obligatory new spam from this "data" (3, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309985)

"Cialis, because you never know when the time you test your bomb at university will become the right time"

To be shutdown... (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309675)

Then turned on back again only when it is needed... It is not about privacy it is about running green. Using less power by turning off the database when you don't need it.

Re:To be shutdown... (1, Insightful)

griffjon (14945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310065)

You people are such cynics! I for one believe that the government has learned its lesson and this project will never return. I'm sure however that there was some public/private partnerships to pull the data together, and that the govt will soon be able to contract out for the same data it used to just have internally. I wonder how attending a peace rally affects your credit rating?

Re:To be shutdown... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310471)

I wonder how attending a peace rally affects your credit rating?

AFAIK, credit reports are itemized; they're not a number that's pulled out of someone's bumhole. And items that are patently false are contestable (not to mention probably likely to be actionable in court as slander if they're deliberately put there).

-b.

Re:To be shutdown... (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310615)

Credit reports and credit scores are two distinct things. Credit reports are indeed itemized lists of various items. "Credit score" usually refers to the Fair-Isaac Company (FICO) [myfico.com] score, which is used as a proxy for the content of your credit report in a variety of transactions, the most important of which is borrowing money.

What this all has to do with peace rallies, I don't have the foggiest.

Re:To be shutdown... (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310723)

I for one believe that the government has learned its lesson and this project will never return.

There's one of you born every minute.

Open and Honest is the only way to go (5, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309677)

The problem with these closed systems, any closed system really, is the inability to find and locate not only the errors, but the correct data either. The more erroneous data there is, the less likely one will find and retrieve the needed data. If anything, you get a "security through obfuscation" situation, but you're giving the security for the folk you need to target!

Keep your lists pruned and accurate. And the best method for this is with open and honest auditing in the public light. Not necessarily by the public themselves, but with public employees such as in the judicial system. Trained, skilled and non-biased eyes are always the best tools to not only perform oversight, but to keep this country or any country safe and secure.

Plain old Dishonest. New Laws Needed. (4, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309855)

The problem with these closed systems, any closed system really, is the inability to find and locate not only the errors, but the correct data either.

The real problem is that people are collecting the data in the first place. People have no idea how much information is being stored about them by companies like ChoicePoint and how that data is just a request away from anyone. This is collected without their knowledge, permission or benefit. It is always used against them. At the very least, vendors and service providers should have to disclose what they are collecting and who they sell it to. At the best, most of it would be against the law to collect. Technology has created new threats and new laws need to be made to counter these threats that economic advantage alone won't eliminate.

Re:Plain old Dishonest. New Laws Needed. (1, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310213)

While avocate strongly for the right to privacy, to complain that there are groups out there collecting information on people is the height of trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

We are in the INFORMATION AGE. Your information is going to be collected whether you like it or not. What you should be agitating for is more responsible use of that information by the collectors and consumers and more education on what information being collected and how for the 'targets'.

What you should be agitating for is for companies and governments to stop basing their security/identification on now publicly avaliable information (Dates of Birth, SSN, "mother's madien name").

Don't waste your time on trying to 'control' what is being collected, the bad guys won't pay any heed and the good guys already have enough problems on their plate. Instead, spend your time on pushing for this information to be handled responsibly and INTELLIGENTLY, and not just as an afterthough.

Re:Plain old Dishonest. New Laws Needed. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310477)

While avocate strongly for the right to privacy, to complain that there are groups out there collecting information on people is the height of trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

Oh please. This is, at best, a non-sequitor, at worst a strawman argument. This isn't about "putting the genie back in the bottle". This is about setting regulations and guidelines for how this data can be used. Canada has already passed laws to this effect, which seem to be working fairly well. The only reason the US doesn't do the same is a lack of political will ('course, things like corporate lobbyists don't help).

Re:Plain old Dishonest. New Laws Needed. (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310669)

Which brings up an interesting philosophical question: Should data about you necessarily belong to you? What if the data is about more than one party? The useful example here is a transaction between a consumer and a company. Would you require consent of both parties before this data could be transferred or sold? What about third party observations of events? There are some clear lines, and some very fuzzy ones here.

Re:Plain old Dishonest. New Laws Needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310809)

"It is always used against them."

Please support this statement or admit you're lying.

People throw around words like "never" and "always" are not insightful, and are usually full of shit.

You're a perfect example.

Sure they will (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309685)

Computerworld reports that as of September 17th, the database will be shut down.

You can trust me - I'm from the government. Would I lie to you?

On a more serious note, how in the world could anyone actually verify this?

Where will the data go. (2, Insightful)

Irvu (248207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309717)

By "shutting it down" do they mean that they will simply stop adding new data to it? Or stop using it? Or will they locate every copy of every bit related to them and erase them? This would include all bits stored in backup tapes, offsite, etc.

In any case what happens to the data? Will this be magically "forgotten" Will all records that came from the database and got copied to other departments (e.g. FBI files) be deleted as well?

That's the trouble with data collection. Once it is collected it may never disappear.

SSDD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309725)

And no-one will be charged with a crime, even though they used the program to break the law.

No-one will be prosecuted for any of it.

It will be buried, the backup tapes will sit on a dusty shelf, and seven years from now, someone else will blow the whistle on this program's replacement database, lather, rinse, repeat.

What does TALON stand for? (4, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309731)

I'm sorry, but the summary only explains the acronym twice, when I require a minimum of 3 times before I can be certain of its meaning.

Re:What does TALON stand for? (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310823)

<pedantic> The acronym TALON means Threat and Local Observation Notice. So when you read about the TALON database , you will know it is the Threat and Local Observation Notice database. Now just in case you missed it, Threat and Local Observation Notice can be shortened to TALON. </pedantic>

slashdotliberalwhining? (3, Interesting)

saforrest (184929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309801)

Can whomever applied the "slashdotliberalwhining" tag to this article, presumably a self-described conservative or libertarian, please explain how a government that engages in surveillance of provably nonviolent political activism is exactly "small"?

The cognitive dissonance here is just staggering.

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (1, Informative)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310033)

libertarians would not complain about the closure of a government anything.

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (3, Funny)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310201)

libertarians would not complain about the closure of a government anything.

Yeah, but lose one book, and you'll never hear the end of it!

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (-1, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310059)

Can whomever applied the "slashdotliberalwhining" tag to this article, presumably a self-described conservative or libertarian, please explain how a government that engages in surveillance of provably nonviolent political activism is exactly "small"?

First put yourself in the government's shoes on 9/12/01. They are looking at who was on the planes and trying to figure out why they didn't catch 19 terrorists purchasing tickets and boarding planes on the same day at roughly the same time from the same part of the country. A few months later, they failed to catch that many of these same known terrorists were enrolled in flight school. Oh, and many had also overstayed their visas. Further investigation shows that each intelligence department had a piece of the puzzle. The CIA knew that something was about to happen. The FBI knew that these guys were not interested in learning to take off and land the planes, just wanted to know how to fly straight and do some basic navigation. The Department of Immigration and Nationalization knew that many of these guys had overstayed their visas. Unfortunately, none of these departments were speaking to eachother. While the government had all the pieces, each of the pieces were kept separate from eachother.

Now, pretend you are in charge, with Congress the media and the public wanting to know how this happened and what are you doing to prevent it from happening again. What would you do? Well, for starters, I think I would set up some sort of tracking database system that notifies me of various alerts. I don't know, something like 19 known Mid Eastern men who attended terrorist training camps have all purchased one-way plane tickets for the same day at the same time departing from the same part of the country, just before they sent a whole bunch of money back to the Middle East.

Don't you think that tool would have been useful on 9-10-01? Don't you think you'd put such a database in place to prevent the next attack like that from happening again?

But let's be honest, is the knowledge that the government no longer has a database that you would never see, that wouldn't affect you life at all, but it might, although probably wouldn't, be tracking your movements worth another 3000 innocent lives?

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310133)

Yes, freedom is worth the sacrifice.

"We are land of the free because we are home of the brave."

Its time for someone to grow a backbone and stick to traditional American values like bravery instead of blatant cowardice.

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310725)

Yes, freedom is worth the sacrifice.

"We are land of the free because we are home of the brave."

Its time for someone to grow a backbone and stick to traditional American values like bravery instead of blatant cowardice.


OK. If 3000 dead is not enough for the Department of Homeland Security to have a file on you, is 30,000? How about 300,000? 3,000,000? How about all of us, that's 300 million? Do you doubt for a second that the guys that pulled of 9-11 wouldn't kill us all if they had the chance?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'll gladly die for my freedoms as well as yours. These freedoms include a freedom of the press, free speech, religion and so on. Some database that will not stop me from leaving my house, or saying what I will, or going where I want, or stop me from doing any of the things provided to me by the Constitution, is worth dying for. It's not worth seeing my daughter die. It's not worth seeing my mother, wife, father, brother, sister, you or any of yours die. Because here is the kicker

It does not affect my life at all!!!


Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310297)

Thanks for conveniently omitting the part about the FBI agent alerting the FBI and Gov't. about the flight classes and an imminent attack [truthout.org] ahead of 9/11.

Too bad the FBI discarded threats in July 2001 about Bin Laden sending terrorists to the U.S.

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310349)

You must be joking. Seriously. The CIA, and probably the FBI as well, knew that Al Qaeda terrorists were planning to fly planes into buildings on 9/11. But, according to various folks, they never took the threat seriously. What in the gods' names would they need with this database, when there were intelligence reports stating clearly that Al Qaeda terrorists were going to fly planes into building on September 11, 2001?

Look, the implications of this are either A) those reading the intelligence reports were too stupid to take them seriously or B) something far more sinister. Given the government's ability (or lack thereof) to deliver the mail, probably A), but B) is possible if anyone could offer any real proof (I have yet to see anything but speculation). Either way you look at it, the database would have made no difference on September 10, 2001.

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310577)

At the risk of being a fringe conspiracy theorist, and no this is not factual evidence. I would like someone, anyone, to explain to me how an extremely large passenger jet (757) can leave only a 16 foot diameter hole in the side a building, no damage from wings and very little (if any) debris at the site. It seems every time I ask this question I am told that I am insane and airplanes did fly into the trade towers. Well if I was asking about the trade towers would I have asked about a 757?

They can take our lives, but not our freedom (0, Flamebait)

sethawoolley (1005201) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310421)

No, it's not worth 3000 lives to live in a surveillance state.

Is it worth 10000 lives to live in a Fascist dictatorship?

When does it end? How much is 300 million people's freedom worth? Scratch that -- you've said, somewhere between 0 and 3000 lives, but not more than that, otherwise we'd need to wait for a second 9/11.

But ... how many soldier's lives were lost and innocent Iraqi civilians murdered by shock and awe? I'm sure neither of them count, but it's a lot more than 3000.

Another thing you do is lead the question -- "wouldn't affect you, probably". It always affects people. There isn't a surveilled citizen that hasn't had their life altered by monitoring. The people with the data _always_ find a way to put it to use you never intended or authorized, eventually. Don't forget the fact that the data is often wrong or misinterpreted, and we'll reap those consequences, too.

Personally, I'd rather live in a free state where I feared terrorists bombing symbols of their own exploitation (that I could easily avoid) than under a surveillance state, where I lived in constant fear of government reprisal, intimidation, mis-monitoring, and misinterpretation, no matter where I was.

I guess that's the difference between Bush supporters (trolls) and Bush haters (insightfuls).

You Mean An Activist Like This One? (0, Troll)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310079)

I'm sure Ms. Stewart [wikipedia.org] was a big fan of non-violent political activism.

I don't care if you're non-violent or not, if you're communicating with the enemy, we (the American public as represented by our government) want to know why.

And we have every right to that knowledge.

Re:You Mean An Activist Like This One? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310153)

Don't you get it? America doesn't have enemies. 9/11 didn't happen. New York doesn't even exist, man!

Re:You Mean An Activist Like This One? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310385)

I'm sure Ms. Stewart was a big fan of non-violent political activism.


I'm sure she was a big fan of a lot of things. What's your point? No reasonable person would presume that participation in anti-war demonstrations also implies material aid to terrorists.

Run that argument by me again (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310599)

Are you suggesting that because some people are put on the list legitimately (ignoring whether or not she was legitimately put on the list), no one is put on the list illegitimately? If not, I've got to tell you, that's sure what it sounds like you're saying.

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310205)

Slashdot tags: Serious Business!

Has anyone noticed whenever a story is tagged slashdotliberalwhining, some Slashdot liberal whines about it?

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (1)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310571)

It's almost as if they're trying to cover up the fact that nearly every front page politics story is against something in the Bush administration. It's a vast left-wing conspiracy!

Re:slashdotliberalwhining? (1)

moogle001 (563970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310539)

Can whomever applied the "slashdotliberalwhining" tag to this article, presumably a self-described conservative or libertarian, please explain how a government that engages in surveillance of provably nonviolent political activism is exactly "small"?
It's not. Being liberal has apparently come to mean resisting Big Brother's efforts to protect us from the uberterrorists. Who knew?

Press release, not real action (5, Insightful)

achbed (97139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309831)

I'll believe it when (a) an indpendent agency - not a government one, but someone like the ACLU - verifies that they watched the procedure of wiping the drives per DoD standards of data erasure, and (b) pigs fly. Even if they invite an independent auditor in to watch the erasing and decommissioning of the database, you know for a fact there's a second (or third, or fourth) copy out there, simply for redundancy and disaster recovery. And I really doubt that the Bush administration will allow anyone into their secret data lairs. This is more PR to get the monkey to shift shoulders for a while.

Re:Press release, not real action (1)

achbed (97139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309901)

Oh, and they specifically stated in the article that the data gathered would be moved to the FBI database tracking the same info. So yeah, they're shutting it down, but keeping the data. Yay us.

They fail to mention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309837)

They didn't mention the database that is replaceing it....

Tor like oatmeals! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309843)

Tor like oatmeals!

Oatmeals like Tor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309903)

Oatmeals like Tor!

Monitoring never decried by the liberals. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20309923)

"Anti-war groups and other organizations, protested after it was revealed last year that the military had monitored anti-war activities, organizations and individuals who attended peace rallies.'"

Try to make a pro-war group, a "Conservative institute", or a movement for gun liberalisation, opposing unquotaed immigration, or against the teaching of evolution. Enjoy being photographed through your home windows, having false members and reporters infiltrate your group, and 'activist networks' collate information on your members and organisation in private databases.

A liberal government that did those things would never be sought to be stopped or protested against by the same individuals either - since the protests aren't against monitoring in general, just against monitoring of the specific targets that are peace groups and antiglobalisation protesters.

5 years (1)

o1dm0n (648449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309937)

That would make the system 5 years old! Of course they don't have a problem getting rid of it. It's very likely been replaced with it that old! Have you heard of TIA? (run by the NSA)

All this sounds like to me is a consulting engagement to scrub the data, insert it into a new system and announce to the public that they are shutting down the system as a PR move.

Remember talon news? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20309965)

Anybody else remember the hoo-hah that came up regarding the bogus reporter that gained white house press access under "Talon News"?

Their chief correspondent, "Jeff Gannon", turned out later to be a complete fake (and a male prostitute at that). I find it interesting that the bogus news agency has a similar name to the overbearing government database.

I'll take off my tinfoil hat now and shut up.

When again are elections? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310017)

I am a cynic, but could it be that we are supposed to forget 'til then that something like this existed and continue to be good citizens and vote 'em in again?

But most likely it's just going to be replaced by a less public version, so we don't question our leader's intentions.

liberal whining? (4, Insightful)

dR.fuZZo (187666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310147)

This is tagged as slashdotliberalwhining? I thought limited government used to be a conservative ideal. Everything the current administation does isn't automatically "conservative" just because the President is a Republican.

Re:liberal whining? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310207)

This is tagged as slashdotliberalwhining? I thought limited government used to be a conservative ideal. Everything the current administation does isn't automatically "conservative" just because the President is a Republican.


please do get with the times, the words "conservative" and "liberal" are now newspeak terms with the respective definitions of "patriot" and "slithering traitor".

on that note I believe in socialized medicine, but i would settle for republican if they actually WERE conservative.. as in "get the government out of my face".

no welfare, but also:
no dmca
no drug laws
no government sponsored religion.

Being on a list is scary. (0, Flamebait)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310193)

Wait, so the problem was that people who attended anti-war rallies found that they were in a database indicating that they were....at an anti-war rally!? The devil you say! So the DoD wants to keep track of who is at what rally? In what way does that infringe on civil rights anymore than video monitoring of street corners in Baltimore, for instance? Or red light cameras? Attending a rally is by definition not an act of someone desiring privacy.

Seriously, anyone who believes in vast government conspiracies has obviously never worked for the government or been around government employees. Or watched C-SPAN. Monitoring anti-war activists in order to sabotage their lives I just don't buy. Too complex. Kicking the door in to an old lady's apartment and hucking a flashbang at her because someone typed "Apartment B" instead of "Apartment D" on the warrant, that I believe. Bureaucracy isn't sneaky and pervasive like, well, like a sneaky and pervasive thing, it's more like a bull: big, dumb, and hard to stop once it get's going.

Re:Being on a list is scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310373)

It may be big, dumb, and hard to stop when it gets going, but that doesn't mean it isn't also pervasive. Did you mean that it's not sneaky and invasive? Read about the difficulties Maher Arar faced because he was placed on a watch list because of "his personal associations and travel history.":

Despite the inquiry's exoneration of Arar, the United States has also refused to remove Arar from its watchlist. Stockwell Day was invited to look at the evidence in the United States' possession in January 2007. In his opinion, the administration is unjustified in continuing to bar Arar from entering the United States. Reportedly, the United States continues to refuse to remove Arar from their watchlist because of "his personal associations and travel history."[27]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maher_Arar#Watchlist_ issue [wikipedia.org]

Maybe the government employees you've been around haven't been a representative sample. Or maybe the people behind sneaky, invasive schemes like TALON are different from most people in government.

Re:Being on a list is scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310791)

Bureaucracy isn't sneaky and pervasive like, well, like a sneaky and pervasive thing, it's more like a bull: big, dumb, and hard to stop once it get's going.

You must not be from Texas. Down here, we have clowns who specialise in distracting the big, dumb bull and making it go where they want, when they want - usually to save the rider from the consequences of riding a bull.

And we have rodeo clowns, too.

Liberal tinfoil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310263)

Yawn

Why Sept 17th? (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310271)

So that gives them what... 27 days to copy all of that data to another database? If they're going to shut down a database, why do they need to wait all that time? Just shut it down now. It's not like it needs a cooldown period or something. Delete it before some last-minute tool can get in there and mess with it.

Slamming down the wrong door (-1, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310299)

There is nothing illegal about government operating a list — of anything...

There is hardly even anything particularly wrong about it.

So much noise about a few anti-government activists being listed by the government as such — what's next, every slashdotter's list of foes to become subject of controversy and grounds for evoking gloomy "1989" comparisions?

Yes, some activists could be a threat against both property and persons — the lunatics rallying against WTO and similar forums have demonstrated that much. But even if listing them is a mistake, well, then so be it — not the first time the Executive branch has demonstrated stupidity and ineffectiveness...

The only legitimate reason to protest here is that the list may be (or, indeed, was) used to deny access to essential services (like airports) and otherwise limit essential freedoms over something so unrelated.

But, surprisingly, a very similar set of restrictions applied to people seeking so much as a passport [state.gov] (your State's government may blacklist you) raises nary a whisper of protest...

Re:Slamming down the wrong door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310549)

If they weren't planning on using it for anything, why do they need the information?

Using Monster.com instead (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310301)

It's more secure.

I, for one, welcome our new corporate-governmental Orwellian database overlords.

With things like this.... (1)

8127972 (73495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310327)

.... Soviet Russia seems better all the time. At least they're honest about stuff like this.

Re:With things like this.... (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310721)

If you think the Soviets were honest about that, you haven't looked at any Soviet-era propaganda, the stuff that the proles were meant to see.

And they report data stolen or lost in 3 - 2 - 1 (2, Interesting)

geekwithsoul (860466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310383)

So any guesses on how long it will take for some report to surface that the hard disks or printouts from this were stolen or lost after the close it down?

slashdotliberalwhining (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310501)

This story is tagged "slashdotliberalwhining".

Because to the fake "Conservative" fascists who support an unlimited government spying on us, tracking our every move, and leaving the info unprotected for anyone to use against us however they wish (if their campaign or other bribe is high enough), privacy and its 4th Amendment guarantee is for "liberals".

Because to those fake "Conservatives", the duly-elected Congress that got an 11.6 point majority vote margin last November shutting down that tyrannical spying operation is just "whining".

Fake "Conservatives" are exactly the slaves our founders fought to free this country from in our Revolution. There were plenty of British monarchy loyalists [wikipedia.org] back then, and even enough of them left today to form their own "Loyalist Party" [loyalistparty.com] that is completely consistent with all the other idiocy we expect from fake "Conservatives". A party dedicated to conservativewhining, and to destroying the Consitution.

The real reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20310545)

The most important sentence of the article is the last one: The department is working to develop a new reporting system to replace TALON, but in the interim, all information concerning force protection threats will go to the FBI's Guardian reporting system. Its only being shut down because they are working on a "better" system to track citizens!

They must have something better. (2, Insightful)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310651)

The only reason they would come out and say, "Ohh you all were right and we are going to end this project." Is because they must have something better. Otherwise they would defend it, and tell us we needed it.. also why wait 2 months? Because the new system must be in testing..

May I ask who is being held accountable for implementing this citizen tracking system? Wait, let me guess.. nobody as usual, right?

Did anyone authorize Proctor & Gamble? (1, Insightful)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20310815)

..or the thousands of private databases across this world tracking everything from purchases made with Visa to issuance of a visa? In effect, we did...we all 'clicked through' something long ago, but for some reason, the government, on a mission to find the terrorists among us, are not permitted?

To think this is the only one...to think the government is the only agent-of-study...it's all kinda naive, isn't it?
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