Saturday, August 25, 2007

Needle in the haystack surveillance invites trouble

By Libby

More disturbing news today on how wide net surveillance fails to catch any big fish.
The government's terrorist screening database flagged Americans and foreigners as suspected terrorists almost 20,000 times last year. But only a small fraction of those questioned were arrested or denied entry into the United States, raising concerns among critics about privacy and the list's effectiveness.

A range of state, local and federal agencies as well as U.S. embassies overseas rely on the database to pinpoint terrorism suspects, who can be identified at borders or even during routine traffic stops. The database consolidates a dozen government watch lists, as well as a growing amount of information from various sources, including airline passenger data. The government said it was planning to expand the data-sharing to private-sector groups with a "substantial bearing on homeland security," though officials would not be more specific.
Why do I think that means Blackwater?

The government hacks justify the approach by pointing out that they stop a lot of people but don't arrest them. That's a defense of the program? Either they're stopping a lot of innocent people unnecessarily -- which they do, a fact that's well documented -- or they are alerting real terrorists that they're under suspicion but aren't guilty enough to be arrested yet. Do you think that's going to scare them away, or make them more careful?

And people call me paranoid when I say this administration is practically begging for a new 9/11?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's whats lost in the debate over wire tapping: wether it will be any help at all in fighting terror. When the issue first came out and wired had a bunch of stories abuot it that said it wasn't worth it. That it's pretty much impossble to tell the difference between thepattern of calls coming from a fortune 500 company and a terrorist group. More to the point, these idiots can't even put together a succesful no fly list. My guess is there are some gonzoles types being placed in NSA to replace the professionals and do bush's bidding.

12:53:00 PM  

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