American Samizdat

Thursday, November 30, 2006. *
For the past four years, without public notice, federal agents have assigned millions of Americans and other international travelers computer-generated scores assessing the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals.

The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments. And the government intends to keep them on file for 40 years.

Earlier in November, the government disclosed the existence and details of the Automated Targeting System (ATS) for the first time in the Federal Register. Privacy and civil liberties lawyers, congressional aides and even law enforcement officers said they thought the ATS had been applied only to cargo.

Before people start trumpeting about how nice it is to lose some privacy in return for the fluffy feeling of security that this measure gives them... bear in mind not only that statistical false positives are significant, you have no method of contesting or viewing this material, and, since the "9/11 hijackers" bought round-trip tickets and used credit cards to purchase them, this would not have prevented even that incident from occuring.
A similar DHS data-mining project for domestic air travelers -- now known as Secure Flight -- caused a furor two years ago in Congress, which has barred its implementation until it can pass 10 tests for accuracy and privacy protection.

No such furor this time, since accuracy doesn't have to be verified by anyone and there is no contesting the conclusions. Think about that while you absently follow some of the links posted here... it's going on your "permanent record", little ones.
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:05 PM
Post a Comment

Site Meter

Creative Commons License