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U.S. Airport Screeners Are Watching What You Read

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-forget-about-rights dept.

Privacy 484

boarder8925 writes "Be careful what you read when you fly in the United States. What you read is being monitored by airport screeners and stored in a government database for years. 'Privacy advocates obtained database records showing that the government routinely records the race of people pulled aside for extra screening as they enter the country, along with cursory answers given to U.S. border inspectors about their purpose in traveling. In one case, the records note Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Gilmore's choice of reading material, and worry over the number of small flashlights he'd packed for the trip. The breadth of the information obtained by the Gilmore-funded Identity Project (using a Privacy Act request) shows the government's screening program at the border is actually a survelliance dragnet."

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You've Got the Wrong Guy! (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685379)

I swear those books on kitten huffing & freedom hating are purely for research on my next acting part in a play!

Re:You've Got the Wrong Guy! (2, Insightful)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685605)

Unless you're carrying something like the Anarchist Cookbook [wikipedia.org] , it seems unlikely that additional suspicion should be warranted. Given this time of year [ala.org] , it seems ironic that security would be judging others by the cover (and content) of their books rather than their actual threat, if any existed at all.

Re:You've Got the Wrong Guy! (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685809)

If you're carrying the Anarchist Cookbook, why the hell would you be carrying it in hard copy? The obvious way around this, with the idiocy of the TSA, is e-books; easier to carry on your flight and it looks like just another fancy cell phone or PDA to them. My MDA even has a special flight mode that turns off all the radios.

You've Got the Wrong Book! (2, Insightful)

Neo_piper (798916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686103)

If you believe half the things in the Anarchist Cookbook then you are probably just a teenager looking for trouble anyway and having the T.S.A. confiscate your book before you try and make "fire fudge" or whatever and end up blowing your thumbs off, is the best possible ending anyway.

That's why I always carry an extra copy ... (4, Funny)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685823)

... of Ann Coulter's latest book and Atlas Shrugged.

Come on. What kind of bullshit is this? Wouldn't it be easier to be "classified" as "safe" just by carrying the right book?

Radical Muslim extremists could just walk through security with a copy of the Torah while wearing a kippah/yarmelke.

Re:That's why I always carry an extra copy ... (3, Funny)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685867)

Actrually anyone who buys anything by Ann Coulter should be immediately flogged and thrown in jail.

It's the best cover available. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685999)

Remember, this isn't about liking her. This is about poisoning their databases. For the best effect, purchase it on your credit card with the highest balance.

When they start cross-referencing those databases, the poison will just confirm itself and become "fact".

No problem for me. (4, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685385)

I only read Catcher in the Rye.

Re:No problem for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685449)

Great. I was reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac on my recent trip to Italy. I'm totally screwed.

Re:No problem for me. (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685533)

I bought this 2600 in the news stand at the airport HONEST!!

Re:No problem for me. (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686057)

Crap, don't remind me. I just flew with a dozen of those in my carry on, and I read most of then during the flight.

Re:No problem for me. (0, Redundant)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685669)

You mean despite the many times it has been challenged or banned [teachnet-lab.org] ?

Re:No problem for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685969)

You mean despite the many times it has been challenged or banned [teachnet-lab.org] ?
Woosh.

Re:No problem for me. (2, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685711)

Be sure to get an Arabic translation of it while you're at it.

One Fine Day at ORD (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685389)

"Chuck, have a look at this one."
"So he's reading something on a laptop, is it a document or the internet?"
"Use the higher magnification, it's a website."
"Ok, I see it now. Something about Patenting a knife and fork... he's typing something."
"Looks harmless enough."
"Oh, my god, he's making some reference to life in Soviet Russia! Security security move on I-424, Victor section!"
"Code yellow! He's obviously some kind of subversive."
"Wait! There's something about a Beowulf Cluster, sounds like a cell!!!"
"Code Orange, Code Orange!"
"Holy sweet mother of Jesus! He's welcoming his new overlords!"
"CODE RED!! CODE RED!! Take that m**********r down!"

[NO CARRIER]

Re:One Fine Day at ORD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685453)

"But does it run Linux? He's trying to hack into our network by determining the operating system!"
"Also take down that kdawson guy... looks like he's the source of all their terroristic drivel!"

 

Re:One Fine Day at ORD (5, Funny)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685923)

Don't tase me, bro!!!

Re:One Fine Day at ORD (1, Troll)

corbettw (214229) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685949)

Well, that's one way to get rid of trolls, I guess. There's always a silver lining!

Re:One Fine Day at ORD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20686001)

Here, sir, is a shiny new Internet. You've won.

That's why I always carry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685413)

A copy of the Anarchist's cookbook, poor man's james bond, 1984, and the catcher in the rye.

Flying is a pain for me though, no idea why!

So they know that I'm a fan of Alan Dean Foster, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685417)

Dresden Files, Harry Potter, Arthur C Clarke, and Bob Mayer

whoop-de-fucking-do.

Re:So they know that I'm a fan of Alan Dean Foster (4, Insightful)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685495)

Dresden Files, Harry Potter, Arthur C Clarke, and Bob Mayer

whoop-de-fucking-do.
..... And You don't care if they look, 'cause you've done nothing wrong......

Re:So they know that I'm a fan of Alan Dean Foster (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685687)

Obviously, no one reading anything in an airport cares if anyone looks, because they're reading it IN AN AIRPORT. The security guard walking past you probably has a better view than the camera. Unless you use custom book covers to obscure what you're reading - which, if you're paranoid, go ahead, I'll only get worried when they start disallowing that - then you obviously have no problem broadcasting your reading preferences to the world.

Re:So they know that I'm a fan of Alan Dean Foster (3, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686067)

There's a big difference between sharing your choice of reading material with a couple hundred strangers in an airport you'll probably never see again, and having your choice of reading material noted by authority figures who then log it along with their impressions of you in a permanent database of questionable merit for the Department of Homeland Security.

Additionally, it seems this procedure also applies to books in your luggage, which you may have deliberately chosen not to read in public.

Good. (5, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685435)

It might expose some government employees to some good books.

Re:Good. (4, Interesting)

markbt73 (1032962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685531)

And here's a list [upenn.edu] to get you started.

Re:Good. (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685643)

> It might expose some government employees to some good books.

*TWEET!*

Flag on the play! You're presuming TSA goons can read.

Re:Good. (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685761)

Point conceded. =)

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685877)

TSA must be a typo, they are private contractors aren't they?

Maybe he meant FBI/CIA? If that's the case, he should just sit and wait, and ignore all the black vehicles with men in black suits that are surrounding his house...

Steal the text, but leave out the hyperlink. (4, Informative)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685451)

Go Go Gadget editors!

Someone steals the text of the actual article (not unusual, I know), instead of providing an actual summary... but leaves out the hyperlink that's actually IN the stolen text for the Identity Project [papersplease.org] referenced in the article.

Why bother with editors?

The End of the Republic (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685457)

America will never recover from the past 7 years' descent into police state. Those records, and the system that extracts them from us, will last indefinitely, regardless of any trumped up "counterterrorism" needs.

But at least we can slow the descent into an evil empire. Go out and vote on November 4, 2008. And if you voted for a Republican sometime in the past dozen or so years, but haven't learned to change your ways, stay home.

Re:The End of the Republic (3, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685545)

ATS was started in the late 1990s, but was little known until the government issued a notice about the system last fall.
FTFA...late 90's, that would be...Clinton.

Re:The End of the Republic (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685685)

Right about the time that the Republican Congress was impeaching Clinton, and writing laws like ATS.

Re:The End of the Republic (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685833)

Where was Clinton with his veto pen...or was he too busy getting blown?

Re:The End of the Republic (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685893)

and a veto has what effect vs. a 2/3s majority in congress?

Re:The End of the Republic (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685993)

Well he could of vetoed the bill and then all of the fault would have been on the congress. Did Clinton veto the bill? Do you know the exact numbers on who voted for or against the bill? For all you know every democrat voted for this bill and only half of the republicans voted for it. You do not have the numbers. But what I DO KNOW is Clinton COULD have vetoed this bill if he was doing his job.

Re:The End of the Republic (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685563)

Georgie says if I stay home, the terrorist win. What am I to do?

Re:The End of the Republic (0, Troll)

mmeister (862972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686043)

The terrorists have already won. Look at the police state we have today (all in the name of "security"). We've already lost.

Re:The End of the Republic (3, Insightful)

gregoryb (306233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685631)

And if you voted for a Republican sometime in the past dozen or so years, but haven't learned to change your ways, stay home.

And the democrats are better how? Both parties are working for the same ends. The only way we'll have any hope of a shift away from the coming police state is if a couple/few third parties rise up and kill off the current bi-factional ruling party.

Re:The End of the Republic (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686055)

Here's one very good example, just from today.

Democrats are trying to restore Habeas Corpus [senate.gov] , to protect the Constitution, as they swore to do. At least they're doing the minimum to sustain the republic.

Republicans voted to suspend Habeas Corpus, violating the Constitution, and just voted again to keep it suspended.

Perfectly demonstrating Republican attacks on the republic: every Democrat voted to restore it, every Republican voted to keep it suspended.

FWIW, note that I didn't say to vote for Democrats. But voting for Republicans is suicide by politics.

Re:The End of the Republic (1, Offtopic)

Embrionic (152953) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685701)

I think that's the real issue here. If you're a Democrat, if you're a Republican.. there's little difference, it's still leading to the same global agenda.

Consider Ron Paul 2008.

Re:The End of the Republic (4, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685705)

But voting does not work anymore.

At the state level (both state and Congressional elections), the districts have been so gerrymandered, you get extremist after extremist. Do you live in California by chance? The extremism is destroying this state.

At the presidential level, any sane people get culled out even before the primaries. It's the media's fault here. Any sane person will occasionally suggest a solution that is diametrically opposed to the status quo, and the media will make that person out to be a lunatic when the exact opposite is true. What were left with is a choice between a small number of sociopathic megalomaniacs.

And I'm no Republican, but you don't *really* think the Dems have any solutions, do you? I go to their web pages, and it's the same old broken crap.

Go look at Edwards statement on energy. The first half of it is "No nuclear power! It's scary! Don't care about technological advancements. No nukes! Naaa naa naaa! I'm not listening!"

Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. Dems are just as close-minded as Rep, but on different things.

And, no, I don't have any answers, hence the frustration. :( Retire overseas, I suppose.

Re:The End of the Republic (4, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685891)

But voting does not work anymore.

You know when it stopped working? WHEN PEOPLE STOPPED PARTICIPATING!!!

I know political agenda is a bad word, but damn it all to hell how else is a representative democracy supposed to work if you don't have a political agenda and make an effort to see that agenda through?

Rings hollow... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685715)

...on the day that the Senate just voted against restoring habeas corpus.

Re:The End of the Republic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685767)

Even those who voted for Ron Paul [ronpaul2008.com] ?

Re:The End of the Republic (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685869)

Because habeas corpus wasn't suspended under Clinton, and there was never a massacre of American citizens in the 90's, and there certainly wasn't a heavily funded war on drugs resulting in questionable actions in South America, no three strikes policies or zero tolerance rules. Right?

Democrats aren't much better in the grand scheme of things. I'm all but convinced we'll get the same end one way or the other, the means will just shift around a bit.

Re:The End of the Republic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685977)

America will never recover from the past 7 years' descent into police state.
Yep, the taser happy Police are rounding up all the dissenters to silence them. They must be keeping them in Club Gitmo with Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa.

And if you voted for a Republican sometime in the past dozen or so years, but haven't learned to change your ways, stay home.
Yes, People are stupid for not voting John Kerry into office.

HillaryCare ought to scare the shit out of you, if not I guess you want your mental meds to be paid for by the governemnt.

Re:The End of the Republic (1, Interesting)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685981)

Christ, who cares. All political parties have their own agenda that can be construed as the ultimate evil in some fashion or another. Everyone is a little wrong, no one is ever right. Cue the opinions that the voting system doesn't work, the government is corrupt, the nation is coming to an end, and the terrorists have won.

I say, screw it all. Join the Apathy Party today.

Re:The End of the Republic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20686027)

I'd say, if you voted for a Republican or a Democrat in the last dozen or so years, and haven't learned your lesson, stay home.

I say, vote Republican... (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686035)

and speed the collapse of our society. The quicker we piss off everyone, the quicker we can purge the system. In market terms, we are long overdue for a "correction" in our political system.

Statanic Verses is always an airline favorite.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685469)

I had to fly commercial on the day they reopened the skies after 9/11/2001 (I think it was the next Monday, can't remember the exact date).

The events of the past week made me decide it was time to re-read "The Satanic Verses." I took it on the plane with me and made sure to hold it prominently in the waiting/boarding areas, etc.

Nobody hassled me. Too bad, I wanted to make a big "Don't Taze Me, Bro" scene.

Have a nice day (4, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685477)

In other news, be careful what you post on the internet. Whoops, I mean our beloved Government is there to protect you from yourself. Amen.

Perfect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685483)

I'm going to start carrying stuff by Greg Palast, Noam Chomsky, and Thomas Homer-Dixon when I fly from now on!

there is a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685485)

alternative book covers [pointlesswasteoftime.com]

I print and read.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685487)

..Slashdot so I guess I'm on the watch list.

Don't worry (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685491)

Soon this will all be a faded memory as the government will require everyone to board planes like this [google.com]

Tag this as (0, Offtopic)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685493)

Tinfoilhatbait and overlordbait

Re:Tag this as (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685793)

Certainly, officer. Please tell your superiors that I did well.

I thought what I'd do was... (2, Funny)

Admiral Justin (628358) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685505)

I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes.

Book covers are easy to print (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685507)

I travel a LOT, sometimes internationally, and I've always been paranoid enough to print my own book covers. I own a print shop, but I'm sure anyone can crank out their own book covers for under $1.00 at work or at home.

My typical book cover usually says "Word of the Day" with other harmless jargon under it, and on the spine. When those morons/monkeys (not ad hominem attack, the employees really are morons) go through my bags, they only look at the fake cover.

Re:Book covers are easy to print (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685673)

Your own book covers? What the hell are you reading? The international printing syndicate sounds pretty intense, man.

Re:Book covers are easy to print (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685829)

I'd prefer to get some old tech manuals from the 1960s and cover them with custom covers. "Guide to Underage Bestial Homosexual Sodomy and Sadomasochistic Technology. Vol. XLII"

-b.

Re:Book covers are easy to print (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685951)

My typical book cover usually says "Word of the Day" with other harmless jargon under it,


You could always try the other way by using known titles and changing them. For instance:

How to kill a mockingbird
Blowing up the bridges of Madison County
Putting bullets through the looking glass
Attack the rear window
The Stand and shoot method

better than normal... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685529)

Better than what they do normally - just take books, etc. from your luggage and keep 'em....

what would happen to (3, Funny)

darthfracas (1144839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685535)

...an economics student reading both Adam Smith and Karl Marx? divide by zero error?

I know what will really bother them... (5, Funny)

lone bear (67361) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685539)

A copy of The Constitution and The Bill of Rights

Does not bother them (1)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685799)

Why would that bother them? Not even the President cares about them any more, they are just a goddamned piece of paper after all.

Re:I know what will really bother them... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685803)

It's been done [securityedition.com] .
"When Security Is Number One - You Are Number Two"

Re:I know what will really bother them... (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686109)

It's like carrying holy water and a crucifix to Transylvania.

Phillip K.Dick (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685541)

I would like to share a very uncomfortable moment I had related to this....

I was returning from a trip abroad to England and Sweden. On the way back I was reading a copy of the Phillip K. Dick story "The Man in the High Castle". For those who aren't familiar with it, it's a story set in an alternate world where the Axis won WWII, and American is evenly divided between the Germans and Japanese, along the center of the country.

The cover art on this particular printing was an American flag where the start had been replaced with Swastikas. As I went through customs I was pulled aside for a little of the ole' extra screenin'. (Damn you again, full beard and being under 30!)

Things were going smoothly until he came across the book, at which point things became extremely hostile and many questions were repeated until I started to explain that the book was sci-fi, and about a postulated alternate universe. I think as soon as I said 'alternate universe' his eyes glazed over, and he began to loose interest in me and I was let go. So based on this article, I guess the government knows I'm a PKD fan. I hope Space Nixon doesn't get word of this, or I'm in real trouble. I'll probably just end up informing on myself to the government anyways. :)

Re:Phillip K.Dick (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685693)

The Government knows you're a damn dirty islamo-fascist who would love nothing more than to abort babies, show obscenities to children, and place lite-brites all over the wonder city of boston.

We need to start stoning these people. It's the only way to protect our way of life.

Don't take that to Germany (1)

georgeha (43752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685975)

things with swastika's on them are illegal.

It's worth noting that... (0)

Aheinz1 (532062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685597)

The flashlights were decorated with images of marijuana leaves and the book was about drug rights. It's entirely possible that they only recorded it as possible grounds for a second search. Were they routinely recording people's reading material, or was it just this case because both the flashlights and the book were enough to reasonably raise a few eyebrows?

Things the article didn't mention... (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685609)

It would be nice to know what the feds are looking to find based on what people are reading.

It I'm completely against all of this "to save your freedoms BS". So I would like to know why they even think this is necessary.

This sounds like another solution looking for a problem much like putting RFID chips in passports.

Other agencies want TSA's data? (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685615)

So how long until the TSA is collecting so much data at airports that other law-enforcement agencies start looking through their database? When TSA screeners rifle through your luggage, is any of that admissible in court? If they're secretly watching what you're reading, even outside of checkpoints, is that admissible too?

Is it worth all this invasion of privacy, for events that happen exceedingly rarely? And if terrorists target a bus in the U.S., will we start having these checkpoints everywhere?

is it time for americans to stop lecturing... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685625)

the rest of us about 'freedom' and 'democracy' as your country clearer has neither.
Cheers.

Fake book covers (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685645)

Thanks for the tip.

Next time I fly, if I want to read The Audacity of Hope I'll be sure to enclose it in a dust jacket from We Will Prevail.

Privilege not a Right (-1, Flamebait)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685651)

Just remember it is a PRIVILEGE to fly not a RIGHT. You choose to fly, you are not forced. Also you are not the only person on that plane in most cases 200 other people are on the plane with you so while you may feel your rights are being violated, the other 199 people are glad you got checked.

Re:Privilege not a Right (2, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685769)

So they can check whatever the FUCK they want, but they shouldn't keep records of stuff that doesn't pertain to terrorism. It's the keeping of records that bothers people, not checking for weapons or explosives.

-b.

Re:Privilege not a Right (-1, Troll)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685811)

Well they can check whatever they want AND keep records on it because it is a PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT. It is all or nothing man. If you don't like it, take the bus. John Madden does :)

That's not what I was taught in the fifties. (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685795)

Actually, I thought the ability to travel freely within one's own country without passports or border check was a very fundamental right of a free people.

At least that's what they taught me during the fifties... when Soviet citizens did not have that right but U. S. citizens still did.

Re:That's not what I was taught in the fifties. (0, Troll)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685873)

We have other modes of travel other then by air. You could, Drive, Take a train, Bus, Walk, take a boat etc. So yes you have other options.

Right of business (0)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685815)

Correction: flying is a contractural business arrangement between the airline and the passengers.

That 199 other people like the fact that my 4th Amendment rights have just been violated doesn't diminish the fact that my 4th Amendment rights have been violated.

If the airline wants to hire screeners and make screening part of the contract to be a passenger, fine.
The feds muscling their way in to allegedly do so is in no way an enumerated power granted them.

The illusion of security makes security worse.

Re:Privilege not a Right (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685917)

Isn't there something about not impeding the ability to move freely about the country? While yes you're NOT forced to fly a drive from Cleveland to L.A. is quite impractical especially if you must do it every week.

Sorry, you're wrong. (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685963)

"Amendment IX:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

So, as far as the government is concerned, it is a right. Just like the Constitution does not specifically enumerate a right to breathe, or think, or take a shit.

Now as for the relationship between you and the airlines, you do pay for the privilege to fly. I think that is pretty clear.

Re:Privilege not a Right (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685973)

Bullshit. You can trout that nonsense out when it comes to driving because driving actually requires some form of responsibility to keep you from slaughtering everyone else on the road.

Flying, unless you are the PILOT, doesn't.

Along the same lines, it's a privilege to live in the US. After all, you could flip out and kill everyone around you any minute now. Maybe we should just commit you now and skip the whole surveillance.

Re:Privilege not a Right (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686073)

Just remember it is a PRIVILEGE to fly not a RIGHT.

Not entirely true (think: job responsibilities), but we'll let that slide.

What I cannot overlook is the assumption that the other 199 are going to be glad that your civil liberties got violated. After all, next time it may be them, and one thing I've seen a lot of is that people who were once quick to claim these kinds of ridiculous abuses are necessary for the "war on terror" got pretty damn irate when they were the one being singled out for further evaluation.

Now, give me one good reason why tracking the books someone reads is a good thing. So what if its a book on explosives? I can think of many non-terrorist people who have very good reasons to read such titles. Same with chemistry texts, religious histories, country histories, biographies of subversives, etc. The only way to understand a subject is to learn about it. You can't honestly be suggesting that government start dictating acceptable knowledge. Intellectual monitoring = thought police, and that is not something the founders of this country ever wanted to see.

Contrary to what this administration would have us believe, disagreement does not equal terrorist.

P.S. Before the red staters get up in arms - I'd be equally pissed if a democrat did this.

A Little Culture Jamming? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685661)

Posted over in the BoingBoing comments [boingboing.net] :

"...perhaps a selection of DIY PDF pamphlets which you print out yourself and carry through security, with titles like 'These Security Measures Aren't Doing Much For Your Public Relations, You Know' and 'Could You Work Harder At Making This Screening Process More Efficient And Effective Please?'

Sort of like a bug report."

And then:

"Here's a selection of DIY pamphlets:

[Link] [filefront.com]

Why not make your own, print out some open source book you've been wanting to read? A flight, and the necessary long wait in a security line, is the perfect opportunity."

Doesn't look like they're specifying books (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685667)

They just report on what is notable. If I had a pair of rainbow coloured shoes, no doubt that would be reported as well. It's just a mess of pointless beaurocracy. The morons on the ground are following orders to report what they find. The paper pushers store it because that's what they do with paper once the finish storing it.

It's not that sinister. It's just the government being its usual inefficient self.

Oh the Irony (4, Funny)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685677)

The last time I flew I took with me my copy of 1984...

A subversive document you shouldn't read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685853)

Don't get caught with the Bill of Rights, Security Edition [gizmodo.com] .

A Book For Everyone At The Airport (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20685857)


I highly recommend this inspirational book [wikipedia.org] .

P.S.: Fuck Bush

Well we know what ./ ers will be reading: (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685881)

"Female IIS edition of Playboy"

You know... (3, Funny)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685903)

...sometimes I get real pissed off about this stuff. But other times I just say "fuck it!" I mean really, what do I care really about if some government peon wants to jot down in the big brother database that I'm reading Muscle & Fitness on my flight? I mean compared to the C4 bomb hidden in my MacBook, it's really of little consequence. ;)

[Note to all federal eavesdroppers: THE ABOVE IS A JOKE! CHILL OUT! I'VE NEVER EVEN BEEN ON AN AIRPLANE BEFORE!]

Nothing New (5, Interesting)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685965)

"Dear Bookseller, it begins. Last week, President Bush signed into law an antiterrorism bill that gives the federal government expanded authority to search your business records, including the titles of the books purchased by your customers...There is no opportunity for you or your lawyer to object in court. You cannot object publicly either. The new law includes a gag order that prevents you from disclosing 'to any person' the fact that you have received an order to produce documents...because of the gag order...you should not tell ABFFE that you have received a court order... you can simply tell us that you need to contact ABFFE's legal counsel."

That is a letter from the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) sent to its members shortly after the PATRIOT Act was signed into law. The PATRIOT Act gave the federal government powers to search records of any business selling books and any library. Then they slap a gag order which makes it illegal to tell anyone for up to a year.

It just sickens me to have to be paranoid about the things I read, or having to avoid using a credit card when paying for a book.

Any terrorist who reads on an airplane isn't going to be reading a book on bombs, explosives or how to be a terrorist. If a terrorist were dumb enough to do that, it sure as hell wouldn't be in english. This is just another example of the government amassing data on ordinary citizens all in the name of national security.

Love the smell of FUD in the morning... (1)

WesternTreefrog (1159569) | more than 6 years ago | (#20685995)

Good grief, Government recording what people read on planes? Blatant lie. It looks like they just have a generic comment section the border agents can use to put in whatever the heck they feel like mentioning. And, being human, you end up with some odd random comments mixed in. What's next, some dingbat agent puts in some comments on some attractive woman's posterior and we'll have a Slashdot article proclaiming the government is profiling women on their attractiveness? This is the kind of thing that gives privacy advocates a bad name.

Everyone has everything (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686019)

Here's the silly thing. Everyone looking all of these nickel and dime privacy issues always forgets that the Dept. of Treasury has everything. I knew a guy whose son worked at the IRS, and he would never fail to pull his Dad's VISA transactions and comment on where he was at in the store. So, the IRS knows everything you've bought, how much you make, how much you are worth, AND, the Dept. of Treasury also knows if you have any dangerous things, due to gun checks, etc.

If that were not bad enough, every major corporation has similar information, if they want it. Those little convenience cards at supermarkets, for example, allow the likes of Joe's Market to sell the knowledge that middle age men who buy a certain kind of beef on fridays also prefer a particular magazine.

The privacy thing is so out of hand, one has to wonder if we would wind up being an overall better society if we just made all this information public. That way, no one could have a monopoly.

Significance (4, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686031)

The problem is nobody really knows what is significant. So, they are scooping up whatever information they can find with the hope that someday there will be an important correlation.

Could this be used for other purposes? Probably not, because of the volume of the information and what it is going to take to really get down and start mining it.

The biggest single problem in the US today is there are indeed terrorists and we have had some incidents blocked. But almost no information about what has been blocked has leaked out. So everyone thinks it is all nonsense. As some people have mentioned, it would be the best thing all around if 3 or 4 indicidents were not blocked and successfully killed hundreds of people. Better yet, if a bunch of foreign nationals got blown up at the same time. Perhaps people would realize there is a problem and we're not anywhere near as isolated as we were in 1850.

So when would all this collected information be of value? After something big happens. What if it doesn't? What if everything is successfully (and secretly) blocked in the planning stages as it has been so far? Any program like this would be considered foolish and pointless, and invasion of everyone's privacy for no gain whatsoever.

But let one incident happen and the newsmedia will be all over the government for "not doing something." Today the criticism is for doing seemingly pointless things when still nobody can figure out what would be (a) acceptable and (b) useful. Would El Al style interrogations before boarding a plane produce useful results? Probably not - we're not looking for hijackers now. What we are certainly going to see is some kind of different attack vector. What would be useful to know about the (dead) perpetrators of that event? I don't think anybody knows.

The other approach that doesn't have much favor in the US government right now is to treat terrorism-related attacks like a tornado. It just happens and messes up a lot of stuff but there isn't anything that can be done about it. As far as I know, no government is taking that attitude - certainly not UK, Germany or Israel where attacks have ocurred. Would this work in the US? Sure - until the first attack. It is difficult to play the role of standing up and saying "it just happens" to a crying mother/father/brother/sister on TV. So incredibly difficult that no elected or unelected member of the government is ever going to do it.

Yeah... (1)

kinocho (978177) | more than 6 years ago | (#20686037)

Because everyone knows that terrorists read "How to make a bomb explode for dummies" just before entering a plane...

Could someone please explain to me the logic after this ?

Will this mean that they will stop selling Tom Clancy's books in the airports shops?

Gonna have to start carrying around... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20686101)

A copy of the U.S. Constitution. Makes good reading on any flight, domestic or foreign.
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