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All US Border Crossings Now Require A 'Terrorist Risk Profile'

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-wow dept.

United States 710

conlaw writes with a somewhat intimidating Washington Post article. "The federal government disclosed details yesterday of a border-security program to screen all people who enter and leave the United States, create a terrorism risk profile of each individual and retain that information for up to 40 years ... The risk assessment is created by analysts at the National Targeting Center, a high-tech facility opened in November 2001 and now run by Customs and Border Protection. In a round-the-clock operation, targeters match names against terrorist watch lists and a host of other data to determine whether a person's background or behavior indicates a terrorist threat, a risk to border security or the potential for illegal activity. They also assess cargo."

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plenty of people come in that way, too (2, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555955)

All US Border Crossings Now Require A 'Terrorist Risk Profile'

Not if you leave the right way. If you know what I mean.

Re:plenty of people come in that way, too (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21555967)

Agreed, I mean we have how many hundreds of thousands who make it across the mexican border every year? The Canadian border is even worse security wise too.

This really only hurts the law abiding.

Re:plenty of people come in that way, too (1, Insightful)

wasted (94866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556035)

Agreed, I mean we have how many hundreds of thousands who make it across the mexican border every year? The Canadian border is even worse security wise too.

This really only hurts the law abiding. (my emphasis)


Sort of like U.S. gun control laws.

Re:plenty of people come in that way, too (5, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556059)

Sort of like most laws designed to prevent people from doing things that might allow them to commit a crime.

I'm a bit of a fan of punishing those who have been duly convicted and leaving everyone else to go about their business.

Re:plenty of people come in that way, too (5, Insightful)

wasted (94866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556177)

Sort of like most laws designed to prevent people from doing things that might allow them to commit a crime.

I'm a bit of a fan of punishing those who have been duly convicted and leaving everyone else to go about their business.


You'll never get elected to office with that platform - those wishing to control everyone's life for the good of everyone will be upset that you don't agree, the "bleeding hearts" will be upset that you actually punish (vice rehabilitate) those that have been convicted, and the "if you don't have anything to hide, you wouldn't mind us violating the fourth and fifth amendments" crowd will be upset that you don't support Big Brother.

I agree with you, though.

Soviet Vespucciland (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556269)

Can you say it?
I know you can!

We make the DDR look like Sweden!

Re:plenty of people come in that way, too (4, Interesting)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556121)

This really only hurts the law abiding.

Not only that, but we now have some sort of government-manufactured rule-based system that assigns risk to 'potential terrorists'. Just wait for the inevitable leak of their methodology (via stolen laptops, incompetence, etc.) and you just gave real terrorists a way to evade suspicion. That's the problem with any "model" for suspicious behavior -- once its known, it's easily exploited.

Re:plenty of people come in that way, too (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556211)

That sounds vaguely like the whole 'DRM doesn't work' (once known, easily exploited) thing. Hrm.. DRM crackers to be eventually considered terrorists?

Leave Right Now (1)

SponjWorthy (963115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556337)

You and I both know the number of people migrating illegally south to north is at least 1000% greater than north to south across rio bravo. I mean who wakes up in the morning (other than a convicted felon) and thinks to themselves, I think I'm going to swim south today?

I do think that they only intend to create a terror profile for the legal crossings, which seem kind a basakward to me. I don't know... I guess I'm just a north swimming wetback.

Only terrorists need fear (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556393)

Only terrorists need fear the man in change. Have you seen the reports coming out of France? True it deserves all it gets, but it needs to stop there.

So (5, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555969)

Obviously this only applies to people crossing the border LEGALLY. People who for whatever reason cross the border illegally will never get a "terrorist profile". Well done, America, well done. Who advised you on this, the RIAA/MPAA/copy protection industry?

Re:So (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556089)

Obviously this only applies to people crossing the border LEGALLY. People who for whatever reason cross the border illegally will never get a "terrorist profile".

This has got to be the dumbest allocation of resources ever. A more logical solution is to spend more on reducing illegal crossings rather than bulking up on background check cubicles (especially the leave-the-country ones).
   

Re:So (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556091)

You are aware that all the terrorists on the 9/11 attacks had valid visas right? And if there was an article about stopping illegal border crossings someone would quickly point out that fact. While I think the US is going overboard, it's fairly clear that:

1. What you don't know you can't assess
2. If nobody collects data there's no data to analyze
3. Unless it's analyzed you can't connect the dots

Now, this does not mean you have to build a new Berlin wall, resurrect the inquisition and make KGB/Gestapo's archives look like child's play. But quite frankly it's not entirely outragous if a country would like to regulate who's permitted to enter the country. Making everyone go through the door if the door is wide open and unattended wouldn't help anything.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556251)

Kjella! Stop being calm and reasonable!

We don't tolerate that around here. Your UID is low enough you should know that by now.

Re:So (4, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556263)

You are aware that all the terrorists on the 9/11 attacks had valid visas right?

I'm pretty sure they didn't enter via the Canadian or Mexican borders...a fact which nobody ever seems to mention when discussing the security of our borders...

Re:So (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556353)

Now, this does not mean you have to build a new Berlin wall, resurrect the inquisition and make KGB/Gestapo's archives look like child's play.

Of course not, that would be counterproductive to the goals of the administration that's pushing for all of this. People of today equate physical barriers to the Cold War and that's exactly what this administration doesn't want -- transparency about what's going on. What they would much prefer, is a veil of secrecy that is as impenetrable as the walls of years passed.

What they can accomplish now is far more evil and devastating to our way of life, Constitution and national identity because the majority of people will blindly continue their daily routines by choosing to ignore the random media news stories and pointless discussions in Congress while their favorite TV shows are playing.

Re:So (1)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556125)

Right, why doesn't the government profile the people it doesn't know are coming? Also, why doesn't it arrest people before they commit crimes? Why didn't they ground the planes on 9/11 before they took off? Why didn't they kill Hitler before the Holocaust? Seriously, I don't understand your objection. Are you saying that because we can't know about everyone crossing the border, we shouldn't investigate those we do know about?

Re:So (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556145)

Is there really a danger of a Mexican terrorist? The only terrorists in my lifetime in the US have all been here legally. A couple of white Americans and some Middle Eastern fellows, IIRC. I suppose a Mexican could be behind the Anthrax scare, but I'll take that bet and give you odds.

Re:So (5, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556173)

No, it was the public. The public is scared of terrorists, so those in power have responded.

The problem, of course, is those in power are democrats and republicans. The republicans aren't going to do anything to tighten down the border because they want cheap labor. The democrats aren't going to do it because they need the hispanic vote.

Without a tightened down border the most they can do about terrorism is attack it elsewhere. So they have devised a simple strategy:

1. Appear to be attacking terrorism elsewhere (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc)

2. Appear to be securing the country here (terrorist watch lists, terrorist risk profiles, etc)

As usual, its about power, and as usual the two parties are in collusion to maintain control.

Re:So (0)

cybermage (112274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556215)

People who for whatever reason cross the border illegally will never get a "terrorist profile."

I hate to ruin a wonderfully smarmy comment with a reality check, but here goes:

The so-called "terrorist profile" is also a screening for people possibly involved in illegal activity. Since crossing the border illegally is prima facie evidence of illegal activity, such people really don't need to be screened.

Re:So (2, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556217)

People who for whatever reason cross the border illegally will never get a "terrorist profile".
How do you know those people don't automatically get a ridiculously high rating when they're discovered in the country. This could all be a ploy to get rid of illegal immigrants in the name of terrorism. Let's say on the way back from Mexico some guy gets +10 points for failing to show a vehicle registration, the next guy behind him gets +30 for being arabic, and I get +50 for having a 50 pound barrel of potassium nitrate in the back of the truck. But if someone is discovered to have snuck in they get +100 which is over the limit and can be immediately arrested or deported or something. It's all speculation but it's possible.

This story is a month old (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555973)

Good job, slashdot.

Also, one would presume there is SOME level of checking at the borders, else there isn't really any need for borders or the concept of a nation-state, is there?

Thirteen months, actually. (5, Informative)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555997)

This was posted by the Washington, er, Post on November 3, 2006. Whoops.

Re:Thirteen months, actually. (2, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556037)

It must have just gotten declassified.

Fear not, Citizen, our beloved government will rectify this by reclassifying it momentarily.

Old News for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556045)

Wow, I wonder if even Zonk read the article, or does he really think posting a month old story without qualifications is ok.

In any event, I'm not sure what the big deal is. Do people really expect that no check of any kind wouldn't be run on people coming into the country? I'm not sure what century some people live in, but its not the world we live in today.

It's sad how slashdot has degenerated into a indymedia, rabid anti-authority site. This used to be news for nerds. Now it's left-wing rabble rousing for like-minded wackjobs.

Re:This story is a month old (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556049)

Also, one would presume there is SOME level of checking at the borders, else there isn't really any need for borders or the concept of a nation-state, is there?

Certainly checking of people exiting the country should be at a minimum, otherwise things get uncomfortably close to the situation in e.g. Warsaw Pact countries where when quality of life tanked, people were stuck lest their emigration embarass those in charge.

Of course some checking is necessary, as when people awaiting trial try to skip the country, though even this minimum could inconvenience innocent people. A child molester who unfortunately shares my name was thinking of fleeing to Colombia [timesunion.com] recently, and I wonder what complications I might have experienced had I been traveling to or from the U.S. at the same time.

Re:This story is a month old (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556275)

I wonder what complications I might have experienced had I been traveling to or from the U.S. at the same time

You'd only need to prove on the spot (beyond any doubt in minds of our brave border guards) that you are not *that* person, never was him, and never will be. While coming up with faultless explanations that your audience can obviously comprehend, you will of course understand that the officials will face severe punishment if they let a wrong man go, but no punishment whatsoever if they detain you for a small period of time (a few days, or weeks - who counts among friends?) While being duly incarcerated, you will be expected to come up with even better evidence of your peaceful nature (unfortunately luxuries like a telephone may be limited, down to being not allowed at all - what if you are a terr'ist?)

Re:This story is a month old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556085)

Why is this such a big deal? Some of us might not have caught it the first time around and appreciate the article. I certainly did.

Oh I so want to visit the US for a holiday (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21555979)

NOT! Seriously. You want to go on a vacation. They say Disneyland is nice, or Hawaii. So you go on the trip, and some nutter having a bad day (and armed with guns) decides to give you their bad day. Gee, wouldn't that just make your vacation? It could actually end it (and if the nutter should have been committed years ago, it could end your life too). So lets see. I want to visit the US for a vacation. NOT! If going to the US is more dangerous to life and limb than going to Iraq, find (just about any other vacation spot in the world) to visit.

Re:Oh I so want to visit the US for a holiday (0, Flamebait)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556017)

Uh, what? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? No? I thought not.

Still, it's an anti-American post so I'm going to guess it'll end up +5 Insightful in spite of its incoherence.

Awesome! (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555983)

In a round-the-clock operation, targeters match names against terrorist watch lists and a host of other data to determine whether a person's background or behavior indicates a terrorist threat, a risk to border security or the potential for illegal activity.

So what they're saying is that they are going to use a high-tech facility to match names to a list of people known to cause false positives and is based on poor information at best so that a list of names can be created for the next half century for the government to track the travel habits of its citizens.

Now, the vast majority of people coming in and out of this country are legitimate and yet our freedoms are being restricted for a handful of people worldwide that would most likely not appear on that list as there are new "freedom haters" popping up every second -- especially when news, like this, keep coming to light.

I'm ashamed that my future tax dollars and my children's future tax contributions will be going to pay for this fucking horseshit and no one is doing anything to stop it. Hey, politicians listen up... Want my vote? Put a fucking stop to this waste of time, energy and money. Thanks.

Re:Awesome! (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555993)

Want my vote?

      The problem is there is no one else to give your vote to anymore. It's all the same bullshit.

Re:Awesome! (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556301)

The problem is there is no one else to give your vote to anymore. It's all the same bullshit.
Well, yes there is- Libertarians. But that is like throwing your vote away. Guess I will be throwing mine away again...

Re:Awesome! (3, Informative)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556311)

The primaries haven't even started yet. And there is a certain candidate from Ohio [dennis4president.com] that may try to roll it back. He is the ONLY candidate to have voted against the Patriot Act. In theory there's still hope. In practice? Well, that's different. Most people will vote to keep things the way they are out of fear, greed, or some other self interest. Here's hoping for an epiphany.

Where's the damn reset button?

Re:Awesome! (1)

kayditty (641006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556385)

He is the ONLY candidate to have voted against the Patriot Act. In theory there's still hope.

You're being a little dishonest. Ron Paul wasn't present to vote on it, but he voted against extending it, and I think it's pretty obvious that he would not have voted on it if he were voting.

Dennis is a little Marxist, too. If that's your thing, fine, but his health care plan alone is going to cost us trillions. Not that I'm particularly against the guy. I'd vote for him, for sure, if Ron weren't around.

Re:Awesome! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556345)

That's true for the most part, but some of it is that you adopt that defeatist attitude, and you basically let them stay in power.

In the 2008 Presidential election, there are a few candidates who are mostly sane: Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. Most people seem to actually prefer these rather than the lunatics promoted by mainstream media -- but what answer do people give whenever you ask them about it? "I don't want to waste my vote on someone with no chance of winning."

Well, of course, idiots. If you don't vote for them, then they can't get elected.

Re:Awesome! (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556395)

The problem is, people can put Ron Paul's name on everything, but at the end of the day, people are too lazy to get out and vote for these people it doesn't much matter. (partially because people are lazy, and partially because it's a design flaw in the system)

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556373)

Ron Paul is not the same bullshit. Really.

Re:Awesome! (3, Interesting)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556071)

Now, the vast majority of people coming in and out of this country are legitimate and yet our freedoms are being restricted for a handful of people worldwide that would most likely not appear on that list as there are new "freedom haters" popping up every second -- especially when news, like this, keep coming to light.

I have come to the conclusion that the current plan is to make visiting the US such a privacy-invading, presumption-of-innocence-reversing, bureaucratic ordeal that the number of legitimate visitors gradually diminishes towards zero. At that point it will be safe to assume that anyone who actually wants to come to the country despite all of the above is a freedom hater with murder on his/her mind, and should be 'processed' accordingly.

Seriously though, to a non-American there is such a phenomenal... arrogance to all of this. It's not quite the right word. But there's a presumption that the US is fabulous and sacred and utterly superior and different to all other nations, and that people will accept whatever probing and scanning and recording Washington decides to impose simply for the honour and privilege of visiting.

It might be the case now, but let's see how things stand in 20-30 years.

Re:Awesome! (3, Interesting)

thirdrock68 (538466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556289)

I have come to the conclusion that the current plan is to make visiting the US such a privacy-invading, presumption-of-innocence-reversing, bureaucratic ordeal that the number of legitimate visitors gradually diminishes towards zero. I must disagree. The US Government does not give a flying fuck about terrorism. No, the USG is concerned about tax evasion and drug importation. This is not a plan to annoy 'foreigners', this is a plan to watch citizens who have the gall to leave the glorious and wonderful United States, presumably to evade taxes and import drugs, because why else would an American citizen ever leave? Go to Europe - you must be a pinko UN sympathiser. Go to Central America - you must be a pinko anti-American or a drug runner. Go to Canada - you must be mentally ill. Go to the Middle East - you must be a towel-head sympathising terrorist. Go to Asia - you must be a pervert/drug runner/pinko China lover.

Re:Awesome! (1)

DigitalWallaby (853269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556339)

How about Australia?

Re:Awesome! (2, Informative)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556075)

Hey, politicians listen up... Want my vote? Put a fucking stop to this waste of time, energy and money. Thanks.

They don't want your vote, they want the votes of the ignorant masses that think knee-jerk idiocy like this will actually achieve something, because there's more of them than there are of you.

Your (and our) only option is to educate people, tell the general public what's going on, because the longer the masses stay ignorant, the longer the politicians will keep getting away with things like this, because - as sad as this sounds - people will genuinely think this is a good idea.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556105)

Your (and our) only option is to educate people, tell the general public what's going on, because the longer the masses stay ignorant, the longer the politicians will keep getting away with things like this, because - as sad as this sounds - people will genuinely think this is a good idea.

The douchebag politicians have coerced the public into believing that people, like us, who are trying to educate them on the reality they have created are nothing more than crackpot terrorist sympathizers who belong disappeared and tucked away from the prying eyes of any oversight groups and proper legal advice.

Someone needs to shut down TV networks so that the reality TV drugs for the masses end and the riots against the mind-numbing political machine can commence.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556351)

From what I've studied of early american history, getting rid of the radio and tv isn't going to give you any better quality of either leader or citizen.

Re:Awesome! (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556153)

I'm ashamed that my future tax dollars and my children's future tax contributions will be going to pay for this fucking horseshit and no one is doing anything to stop it. Hey, politicians listen up... Want my vote? Put a fucking stop to this waste of time, energy and money. Thanks.


You may want to support Ron Paul. He apparently has this slightly bat-shit-insane theory about a secret multinational conspiracy to build a road, but he does support a tiny federal government, so his crazyness would likely do very little damage.

I wouldn't say I'm a 100% fan of his, but his "do no harm" idea for the Federal Government seems like it would be a good "national reset."

Re:Awesome! (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556181)

Hey, politicians listen up... Want my vote? Put a fucking stop to this waste of time, energy and money. Thanks.
I think you're confusing being right with being in majority. I think that's why everyone has a little mini-dictator inside them that says "If only I could decide, I would..." not seeing all the issues where we'd probably be wrong. But sometimes, just sometimes you can swear you'd at least do less things wrong. Unfortunately, so do many who should not be put in a position of power even if hell froze over.

Re:Awesome! (0, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556261)

Unfortunately, so do many who should not be put in a position of power even if hell froze over.

Hell apparently froze over back in 2001.

...Well. (4, Insightful)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555985)

I was trying to think up some kind of response to this but, honestly, it's so infuriating and, more importantly, so stupid that I simply can't.

Re:...Well. (2, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556015)

I was trying to think up some kind of response to this but, honestly, it's so infuriating and, more importantly, so stupid that I simply can't.

Given pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?

Re:...Well. (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556041)

Given pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?
If only it were that simple. The truth of the matter is that all three branches are responsible for the current state of affairs, though it could be argued that the judicial branch is somewhat less culpable.

Re:...Well. (0, Flamebait)

Acrimonymous (1164185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556157)

What, exactly, is the problem here? Are you entering the country? Do you have some sort of "problems" you don't want law-abiding people to know about?

Then don't complain. Why liberals feel this compulsion to oppose things that make the U.S. more secure is beyond me. Maybe if you people had spent less time "freaking out" over little things like this and more time volunteering to defend the country we wouldn't even have to do this.

Re:...Well. (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556199)

Do you have some sort of "problems" you don't want law-abiding people to know about?
You have no idea how much I hate this argument. In any event, though, you're right. I don't want the law-abiding public to know about my addiction to crystal meth, the many murders I have committed, or the extensive library of child pornography I have filmed.

Personally, I don't keep much private. You can find out pretty much anything about me on the internet, if you really want to. I have voluntarily given up much of my privacy.
This does not mean, however, that I do not support the right to privacy. I support it very much, just as I support the right to willingly forfeit it. This takes that right away.
Oh, and you may notice that this also applies to people who leave the country. So if I go to, say, Canada to visit some relatives, I get a 40-year record about me somewhere. Fun times.

Re:...Well. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556061)

And that's why this sort of bullshit keeps going on in America. Because those people who can speak up and make a fuss, such as yourself, sit there silently.

Since you seem so incapacitated by rage, let me try and help you out here. Just follow the steps below, one after the other:
  1. Email that article to everyone in your email address book.
  2. Call up other people you know, and tell them about this.
  3. Write a letter to your congressman, indicating your displeasure with this plan.
  4. Write a letter to your senator, indicating your displeasure with this plan.
  5. Write a letter to the mayor and councilors of your town or city, indicating your displeasure with this plan.
  6. In the next election, do not vote Republican or Democrat. Vote for a third-party candidate, an independent, etc.
  7. Encourage everyone you know to do the same during the next election.
  8. Look into moving out of the United States. Europe and Canada are possible destinations.


I'd like to hear how you eventually do respond to this situation. I'd hope you follow at least some of the suggestions above. Of course, you may think up more on your own, and by all means, go for them!

Re:...Well. (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556111)

Look into moving out of the United States. Europe and Canada are possible destinations.
This is the one item with which I strongly disagree. It is, quite frankly, irresponsible to just pack up and leave rather than actually try to get something done. To do so is to declare, "Not my problem", and leave the mess for the poor souls who don't see what's going on or can't escape.

Re:...Well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556143)

Note that it was the last point, and that the exact text was "Look into moving out of the United States."

That is, don't actually move. But consider it. Learn more about the other nations of the world, and what they offer. That knowledge will no doubt help you when it comes to arguing against stupid initiatives and programs like this one.

Re:...Well. (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556159)

Fair. Incidentally, if you're truly interested in what I end up doing about this, toss me an email and I'll let you know, as I honestly doubt I'll post it here.

Re:...Well. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556343)

It's defeatism, though I read other comments that an action only needs to be prepared and not yet executed ... but consider fates of many of the escapees from the USSR (1917 - 1990). They could only leave, even if that (leaving was a super-privileged option, not everyone could.) Do you think any of them could, say, pick up some placards and march on the Red Square, in 1980? They'd be instantly put into a psychiatric clinic, and in this case - for a good reason of being patently insane.

The USSR had to hide their dissidents because the Party built up the image of a country free of discontent. Any single protest would be highly visible. So it had to follow up, and remove anyone who was not conforming. The USA is in a different, smarter position - the country is proud of letting anyone (especially idiots) to march, speak and otherwise protest anything at all - then protests about things that matter are diluted in a sea of protests that are totally irrelevant, and nobody pays attention to any of them.

Great plan... (3, Interesting)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555987)

They will keep records of the fact that some collage kids took a trip up to Montreal to go drinking for 40 years... But they will do nothing about the drug smugglers and millions of illegals pouring over the southern boarders.
If some terrorist wants to do harm here he isnt going to give a crap that he is being logged in some database. Heck he will just cross over from mexico with out being checked at all.

Delusional (4, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21555999)

"We gather, collect information that is needed to protect the borders," Agen said. "We store the information we see as pertinent to keeping Americans safe."

It's sad but there are people that think this will result in tangible safety. They don't stop to think that just maybe people coming into the US through the proper means aren't the major threats. I've talked about this is in other posts, but this takes the cake. Every one is to be viewed as a threat. The government is forcing a paranoid world of survivalism on us. I hate being alarmist, and I hate ragging on the government for nothing, but this is serious. This a fundamental challenge to the idea of personal liberty, innocence until proven guilty, and pretty much every other tenet of the philosophical basis for our nation. This is a gross, paranoid, unrealistic power grab. After reading the article I don't have a whole lot of hope. It was a calm rational piece, which is normally what I would want, but this needs to be shown for what it is.

So to all newcomers... welcome to America where we aim to alienate and tread over any and everyone!

Re:Delusional (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556019)

Don't worry, I have been purposefully avoiding the US whenever I can for the last 5 years or so. Makes travelling to Canada a bitch (I have to stop in Mexico City), but it satisfies me. My understanding is that I am not the only one, either. One day the US will realize how much its irrational behavior has cost it.

Re:Delusional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556197)

Dude, no one gives a fuck about your self-righteous avoidance of the US. All in all it's bad, but America is following a trend that seems to be pretty global, unless you're from Scandinavia. There are no evil conspiracies or boogeymen, just a lot of apathetics that are being ruled by career politicians who are pushing their agendas. There is nothing going on that a couple good elections couldn't decimate. Alas, there is the rub though. A "couple" good elections. We're having some trouble getting one good one.

So instead of being a generic idiot saying "I avoid the US" contribute in some way to change the problem. The stupid motherfuckers that say "I'm moving to Canada" are just as much a problem as any politician.

Re:Delusional (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556397)

You're not the only one. Canadian here, and even with the greatly improved shopping opportunities in the US I still don't go there. I could buy lots of stuff cheap now as a result of our drastically shifted currency values over the past couple years, but it'll need to improve even more before I consider it.

I just don't like the idea of subjecting myself to the whims of the US goverment(made of people), and the US people(who tacitly support the government).

So they've lost your money while travelling to Canada, and my money in shopping and tourism. Anyone care to check how much the US has gotten each year from foreigners visiting, say, over the past 8 years? I don't think that the two of us are alone in our habits, and it'd be interesting to see how big and effect if any such behaviour has caused. Evaluating in USD and in some other currecy like the Euro or CAD would be fun too. Covarying out the change in currency value might show a different story.

It's not what it seems (1)

Stephen Ma (163056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556231)

I doubt that anybody, even the instigators of this program, believes that it will work as purported. It will fail its official mission, but will succeed in its unofficial and true purpose, which is to feed and grow a vast new security industry -- and slowly accustom Americans to being maltreated. One day you will wake up and notice that uniformed thugs demanding "Papers, please" are almost everywhere -- and that will be the day you will realize that you have become the Nazis that you used to despise.

Only a matter of time (0, Flamebait)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556005)

It's only a matter of time until the number of people leaving the US exceeds those who enter, legally or otherwise. Oops, guess I just upped my terrorist profile index threat level color orange whatever.

Great... (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556021)

They also assess cargo.

Great, I can see it now:

Agent: It says here you have a truck full of... "baklava"?

Trucker: That's right.

Agent: Hold on, let me just run it through the ole' computer here...

(interminable wait)

Agent (to the crate of deserts): OK Mr. Bahklever, lay on the ground or we'll shoot!

Trucker: Dude... you're yelling at a pastry...

Agent: ON THE GROUND!!!

Trucker: I don't think it can hear you, man.

Agent: (incinerates truck)

Re:Great... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556147)

Actually it's Bunty Soap [spikedhumor.com] all over again...

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556315)

I suppose this will happen on the border between the U.S. and Turkey. :)

Dumb struck. (1, Flamebait)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556025)

Taken individually all the measures that are being enacted in the USA over the last few years are almost laughable. But together, I just can't believe that more organizations like the ACLU or even the EFF aren't screaming from the rooftops about the encroachment on liberties! I mean really, it's the USA not the USSA: what happened to the land of the free? It seems to be going down the proverbial tubes, when will the madness stop? Will the US go fully down the road to facism?? Just buy guns, lots of them. Just in case.

Re:Dumb struck. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556161)

Franklin D. Roosevelt said on fascism in 1942:
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power."
Um, Corporatism [wikipedia.org] anyone? The problem with history is that those who don't remember it drag the rest of us through it again and again. Corporate power is on the rise in the US and that very definately diminishes individual ability to effect change in the course of government.

1984? (2, Insightful)

jonr (1130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556029)

Jesus Christ on a moped. What is wrong with you people? The emperor truly has no clothes and nobody dares to point it out.

Re:1984? (4, Insightful)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556097)

No, plenty of people point it out, but the emperor has no shame, either.

Re:1984? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556233)

On top of which the Emperor's putative heirs don't want to make too much of a fuss, because they are quite looking forward to this ruling lark.

Also the Grand Vizier is pretty much getting a free pass, despite running the show. After all, where's the sense of glamour and daring in pointing out a naked Grand Vizier?

Re:1984? (1)

DigitalWallaby (853269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556391)

On top of which the Emperor's putative heirs don't want to make too much of a fuss

Don't you mean the Emperor's pubic hairs?

He is after all, naked.

Re:1984? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556127)

The emperor truly has no clothes and nobody dares to point it out.

That's why we want Ahhnold to be our next emperor. Nobody will care to point it out.

Yet another reason... (2, Informative)

HungSoLow (809760) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556053)

.. to not step foot in the US.

Re:Yet another reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556203)

At least in America you can name a Teddy Bear "Muhammad" without being put to death... http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59000 [wnd.com]

Re:Yet another reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556259)

Yeah, but just try to name your teddy bear Oussama and see what they'll do your teddy bear...

Brilliant. (2, Insightful)

etnu (957152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556055)

Lets make legal immigration more time consuming and difficult (wouldn't want smart people entering the country, now would we?) and continue ignoring the illegal variety. I'm sure that terrorists who want to destroy america will go out of their way to obey laws.

Re:Brilliant. (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556291)

I'm sure that terrorists who want to destroy america will go out of their way to obey laws.

Are you kidding? Those guys will keep a low profile and obey every immigration rule, speed limit and traffic sign ... right up until they trip the detonator.

Profile? (4, Insightful)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556063)

In a case like this, with so many people and so few terrorists, a profile is not going to accomplish much. If as many as one in ten thousand people crossing the borders were terrorists, it would make a bit more sense.

Of course, if this program were worthwhile in the first place, it wouldn't be if Canada didn't do something similar. There is absolutely no way to stop anybody from crossing the northern border. It's thousands of miles long, unpatrolled, unfenced, and passes through some pretty wild territory.

So, it's another pointless exercise. All it will do is hassle assorted people, many of them innocent, and do nothing to prevent terrorism.

How it's working today (2, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556319)

My profile? (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556069)

I ship out as a reservist next year. /Would love to see my profile......

Ok; but where's my luggage? (5, Funny)

topham (32406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556083)


Ok, if they track so much information could they inform the airline what happened to my luggage? I was flying from Winnipeg, Canada to Chicago, Il; and on to Norfolk.

Somewhere in here United lost my luggage. They don't have a clue what they did with it.

Rendition (2, Interesting)

RobinH (124750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556087)

...and if you happen to show up as a high terrorist risk because your name matches someone else's or you recently received a phone call from a business acquaintance in the middle east, then they whisk you off to a foreign country, remove all trace that you even attempted to enter, and you get tortured until you tell them what they want to hear.

Sounds like the collapse of the US to me.

Holy False Positives, Batman! (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556099)

And even with the stupid fence being built on the southern border, it'll be a sieve. Are we prepared to shoot on sight? That is what it takes to truly tighten up the border (refer to Berlin wall).

And any idiot terrorist could cross the northern border.

Re:Holy False Positives, Batman! (2, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556255)

I am pretty sure that the Berlin wall was working the other way around. The Berlin wall wasn't to keep people out, it was to keep people in.

My concern isn't that they are running people's ID through a database. That is fine. A government probably should be checking who is coming in and out of the country and doing a quick computer check to see if a person throws up any red flags.

My problem is that database they are using. The "watch list" is a piece of shit, as has been shown with the nightmare it has created for some airline passengers. The real crime is the database in question, not the fact that a government checks your ID and checks to see if you are a criminal.

Travel statistics (2, Informative)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556113)

It will be interesting to see how the figures change in the coming years, as border security gets worse (ie, more restrictive), whilst the yankee dinar gets lower and lower, thus making it more appealing to holiday makers.
There's already some revealing figures for 2006 [doc.gov] and 2007 [doc.gov] . Something to keep an eye on for sure.

Re:Travel statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556221)

I know this is going to put a crimp on my plans to ski at Mt. Baker (just south of the Canadian border). The worst part about going down is the border hassle, now it will be even more of a pain?

What if my name, which is a very common white guy's name, happens to wind up one of on the terror-list - I suppose I will be detained all day, if not longer, and never get to ski. I'm sure I fit some kind of stupid profile quite well too, driving my heavily modified camper-van. Who knows where I could be hiding weed, anthrax and plutonium in that thing! Also, I have a beard, a foreign girlfriend, and have enough money to ski a lot, despite lack of a proper, corporate wage slave job. Hmmm, sounds like a terrorist to me.

Well, American economy, you can kiss this Canadian's skiing dollar goodbye. I'll stick to supporting my local mountains, despite the great powder down there on Baker.

So can somebody tell me.. (1)

imperious_rex (845595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556131)

Who won the Cold War? Because I'm really having a hard time telling the difference anymore.

Well, DUH! (2, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556247)

We have better shopping. And big cars. And Jesus.

Re:So can somebody tell me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556369)

The US won.
 
  Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War [wikipedia.org]
 
Hope this helps.

this is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556167)

yet another reason for me not to travel to the US, you guys enjoy whatever it is you have there while yuo sink in your quagmire of fear and loathing.

So much for ever visting the US again... (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556191)

Well, I have been reluctant to want to visit the US given the rampant paranoia and siege state that seems to be prevalent down there recently, but this pretty much guarantees I won't ever visit again. Its not that I am a terrorist, its not that I am any sort of threat to anyone, and its not that I have anything to hide in fact, its that I don't want to have a profile that will be retained for 40-years, that will undoubtedly end up being incorrect in some aspect, which I can't update, correct, or most likely even view at any point during that period. Its that I don't want to risk having some mistake result in my being whisked away to some foreign country for a torture session that will produce whatever they want me to say (as erroneous as it will be) because I recognize I wouldn't stand up to sustained torture for very long. The chances are admittedly very very small, but why take any chances. When the mad dog in the junkyard is unpredictable, its better to just stay away from it.

Weighed against the benefits of visiting the USA, I would rather go to just about any other country in the world right now. I sincerely hope you folks manage to straighten things out, find your constitution again, resurrect Habeas Corpus and the rights of the individual, and perhaps find your sanity. As it stands the Terrorists out there are winning the so-called war, because they have convinced your government to turn the US into exactly what the Terrorists claimed it was in the first place.

Its so sad to see all this coming to pass. You folks down in the US have my sincere sympathy :(

The Perfect Solution (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556193)

This is just what we need, as long as the boxes with all that paperwork is stacked along the southern border.

Look on the bright side! (4, Funny)

zaydana (729943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556227)

The US won't be able to keep the data for 40 years, it won't exist by then!

Name matching? (2, Funny)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556253)

Then our duty is clear. Even though it will cause a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of names suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, we must all change our names to "Richard Bruce Cheney".

the normals (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556257)

""This is about as Kafkaesque as you can get.""
Every normal stopped reading here. Dont use those big college words!

A system totally gone berserk! (4, Interesting)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556295)

From the article:

"According to yesterday's notice, the program is exempt from certain requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974 that allow, for instance, people to access records to determine "if the system contains a record pertaining to a particular individual" and "for the purpose of contesting the content of the record."

Who is going to rein back those idiots?

America has no dream - only a nightmare.

Time to Leave (5, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21556321)

If our current government would have spent some time in between debating pointless things such as the question of when a fetus is considered a baby, and when it's ethical to end the pointless suffering and grotesque indignity of a human puppet show by disconnecting a feeding tube, maybe they could have found some time to fit in a discussion of the abomination of the PATRIOT act, or the legislation that mandated we track the travel habits of normal law abiding Americans in an effort to stop some vague threat they call terrorism. I'm not one bit afraid of terrorists! Stop trying to protect me from them by taking away the rights that I value.

Every day it seems I get more confirmation that I was right in deciding I should leave this country as soon as I can. A few generations ago my family came to America to escape communism in East Germany after the war, and now I'll be leaving the USA to escape the encroachment of my rights. Things aren't that bad here yet compared to many places in the world, but my family already made the mistake of waiting too long to leave once, I'm not going to make that mistake too. Better to get out early than not at all.

The Republicans are authoritarians and religious zealots, the sane ones either left their party or are such a small voice that they're completely drowned out by the chorus of insanity from the party at large. Ron Paul, who is a real Rep. and not a Neocon, doesn't look like he will be popular enough among the wealthy, the war-hawks, and the religious--or as they call it "the Republican base"--to win. The Democrats are too spineless to stand up for their core values, favoring a centrist stance to garner support from the left leaning Republicans, Independents, and various minorities and they end up acting like Republican-Light(TM). There is virtually no minority party voice in this country that anyone takes seriously. Both sides spend outrageous amount of money, although one actually attempts to pay for it by increasing taxes where the other just spends and passes the debt off to their kids and grandkids. Meanwhile no one is willing to put a stop to America's current adventure in the desert even though we're spending enough money on the war to fund what could be the best health care system in the world, even after you account for typical government waste and inefficiency. The soldiers that come back maimed, crippled, or psychologically scarred are given a standard of care that we should all be ashamed of. And then there are the ones who only come back draped in an American flag.

I would recommend everyone take a serious look at the idea of leaving the US. Figure out what it would take to leave, and how fast you could do it in. There may be a time soon when you have to put that plan into action.

It pains me way too much (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21556325)

My family left our native Saudi Arabia because our life was made intolerable by fundamentalists. As an American, I felt personally attacked when terrorists hit. I was assaulted and my house was vandalized during the backlash. And now, I'm always under suspicion of being a terrorist; suspect of being the very type of person who victimized me in the first place. Curse Saudi Arabia and the backward Voodoo belief it was built on. There is just no escaping the crime of being born there.
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