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Total Information Awareness Project Undergoes First Test
Information Week ^ | 4/10/03 | Aaron Ricadela

Posted on 04/11/2003 11:08:59 AM PDT by Pro-Bush

Pentagon (news - web sites) researchers this month completed the first set of test data for the controversial Total Information Awareness system, a key technologist for the project says.

Lt. Col. Doug Dyer, a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), said at an IBM-sponsored conference on data privacy in Almaden, Calif., this week that Americans must trade some privacy for security. "Three thousand people died on 9/11. When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off," Dyer says.

Total Information Awareness, an experimental computer system being developed by Darpa under Vice Adm. John Poindexter, seeks to scan information about passport, visa, and work-permit applications, plus information about purchases of airline tickets, hotel rooms, over-the-counter drugs, and chemicals--both here and abroad--to discern "signature" patterns of terrorist behavior. Congressional leaders have criticized the system's potential to spy on Americans and agreed to restrict further research and development without consulting Congress.

Signals of potential terrorist activity are likely to be weak amid a field of data "noise," Dyer says. TIA is designed to seek patterns that could indicate terrorist behavior while preserving people's anonymity, he adds. "We're testing our hypothesis on nothing but synthetic data."

Total Information Awareness, the keystone project of Darpa's Information Awareness Office, incorporates language-translation, data-searching and pattern-recognition, and decision-support technologies, according to the project's Web site. According to Dyer, the system won't scan "irrelevant" personal information about Americans, such as medical records, but could consider records of over-the-counter drug purchases, which could indicate planning of a bioterrorist attack.

Dyer says the initial experiment data set, completed this month, could also consider relationships between purchases of certain chemicals, whether the buyer or a family member was involved in an activity such as farming that could explain a benign reason for the purchase, and where the purchase was made.


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: darpa; tia
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I would like to know what companies are providing this technology. Software providers, Data-mining, ERP, intrusion detection & alert, etc.
1 posted on 04/11/2003 11:08:59 AM PDT by Pro-Bush
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2 posted on 04/11/2003 11:10:54 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Pro-Bush
According to Dyer, the system won't scan "irrelevant" personal information about Americans, such as medical records, but could consider records of over-the-counter drug purchases, which could indicate planning of a bioterrorist attack.

And just how are they gonna get THIS data?

3 posted on 04/11/2003 11:11:32 AM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: Pro-Bush; Fred Mertz; Remedy
"We're testing our hypothesis on nothing but synthetic data."

That should be quite interesting - developing a set of assumptions and then developing a set of test data containing data that matches those assumptions to see if the data models can detect patterns. I'm SURE our terrorist enemies will be this considerate when they leave their data trails for TIA to detect. "Dammit, Achmid, quit being so rude! Don't pay cash for that! Use your credit card so TIA can spot it!"

4 posted on 04/11/2003 11:14:22 AM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
Guess I better rip up my Abertsons and Safeway discount card.
5 posted on 04/11/2003 11:14:30 AM PDT by Pro-Bush (Iran/ Syria = Gulf War III)
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To: Pro-Bush
Guess I better rip up my Abertsons and Safeway discount card.

The more I think about TIA, the more ludicrous the notion gets. I get very few telemarketing calls and very little junk mail. Why? Because I try to pay cash as often as possible (the exception being gasoline, it's very convenient to pay at the pump, but gasoline purchases only tell someone a pattern of roughly where I travel). It won't be too hard for terrorists to avoid leaving a significant data trail - the reason so much data is available for most Americans is that they don't care how much data they leave in their wake. But terrorists will care.

And much of the data that the creators of TIA want simply isn't available legally. For example, one item TIA wants to trace is gun purchases - but if someone makes a $400 charge at Wal-Mart, did they buy a gun or a Stairmaster? TIA would need to tap into the background check database, something they are prohibited by law from doing. So when they talk about what they want to capture, some of the data is commercial available, but much of it will require legal changes that I will not support.

6 posted on 04/11/2003 11:19:41 AM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
So when they talk about what they want to capture, some of the data is commercial available, but much of it will require legal changes that I will not support.

I agree!

Speaking at an oversight hearing of the House subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census last week, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said overregulating the government's use of data mining could stifle its potential as a weapon to identify possible terrorists and limit its effectiveness as a tool to eradicate government fraud and make government more efficient.
7 posted on 04/11/2003 11:30:24 AM PDT by Pro-Bush (Iran/ Syria = Gulf War III)
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To: dirtboy
Two articles that agree with your comments:

It won't be too hard for terrorists to avoid leaving a significant data trail

The Pentagon's Total Information Awareness Project: Americans ... Terrorists already immerse themselves in mainstream society, even using their real names and official government documents. They can learn and anticipate the trigger patterns that will supposedly generate red flags, and then avoid them. You won't see terrorists buying one-way airline tickets, for example. Because terrorists will resemble ordinary people, TIA inevitably means magnifying-glass surveillance of ordinary folks, wasting more time, all in a vicious, misdirected circle.

So when they talk about what they want to capture, some of the data is commercial available, but much of it will require legal changes that I will not support.
The New American - Insider Report - March 24, 2003

Bush loyalists who cannot conceive of the current White House putting such power to despotic purposes should contemplate the fact that sooner or later this power will be wielded by an Al Gore or a Hillary Rodham Clinton. Those who recall the recent Clinton era should not have trouble imagining a situation in the not too distant future when pro-lifers, home schoolers, gun owners, vocal constitutionalists, and other patriots are officially designated as security threats.

Beyond the danger of intentional despotism, there is the danger inherent in all bureaucracies. According to the Federal Register, information collected by CAPPS II would be kept on file for 50 years. Ever suffer the humiliation, frustration, and costly inconvenience of a bad credit report that falsely charged you with a nonexistent billing or bankruptcy, or other misreported financial dealings? Millions of people have faced such ordeals. Getting the credit reporting agencies to correct these mistakes can be a near-impossible undertaking. Imagine trying to get the federal bureaucracy to correct your CAPPS II security file so you can fly.

According to a February 28th CNN report, Transportation Department spokesman Chet Lunner said the Federal Register notice stating the background information will be stored for 50 years is inaccurate. Mr. Lunner said such information will be held only for people deemed security risks. Verbal statements by spokesmen like Mr. Lunner, however, do not override printed regulations. And even if the Federal Register is corrected to reflect a policy in line with Mr. Lunner’s statement, it doesn’t provide any assurance against continued encroachments or solve the problems facing travelers falsely labeled as security threats.

Will Americans soon have to undergo similar screening for train, bus, and subway transportation as well? Will it progress to internal checkpoints on streets and highways: "May we see your identification and travel documents please?" Meanwhile, many of the same legislators acquiescing to these new restrictions on American citizens also are supporting amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and failing to enforce our borders.

 

 

8 posted on 04/11/2003 11:43:30 AM PDT by Remedy
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: dirtboy
And just how are they gonna get THIS data?

They're not. That's the great thing. The only way for this to work is for "the government" to get its hands on data sets that don't exist.

TIA will flop around for a few years and then die when someone in Congress says, "Hey, it's been five years and umpteen million dollars and TIA hasn't caught one person."

10 posted on 04/11/2003 11:49:55 AM PDT by Timesink
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To: dirtboy
And much of the data that the creators of TIA want simply isn't available legally. For example, one item TIA wants to trace is gun purchases - but if someone makes a $400 charge at Wal-Mart, did they buy a gun or a Stairmaster?

Gosh, why don't they just ask Wal-Mart?

TIA would need to tap into the background check database, something they are prohibited by law from doing. So when they talk about what they want to capture, some of the data is commercial available, but much of it will require legal changes that I will not support.

Actually, finding out that you bought a gun from Wal-Mart is a matter of paying Wal-Mart for access to their database. Wal-Mart knows what you bought.

11 posted on 04/11/2003 11:53:05 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: dirtboy
"The more I think about TIA, the more ludicrous the notion gets. I get very few telemarketing calls and very little junk mail. Why? Because I try to pay cash as often as possible (the exception being gasoline, it's very convenient to pay at the pump, but gasoline purchases only tell someone a pattern of roughly where I travel). It won't be too hard for terrorists to avoid leaving a significant data trail - the reason so much data is available for most Americans is that they don't care how much data they leave in their wake. But terrorists will care."


Interestingly enough, your lack of a pattern may actually be a pattern, as far as TIA goes. Since most Americans leave a long and detailed trail of their purchases, I'd assume that suspicion would accrue to those who don't.

I could be wrong, but it may just be that your pattern is one that will cause you extra grief.
12 posted on 04/11/2003 11:56:30 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Timesink
"Hey, it's been five years and umpteen million dollars and TIA hasn't caught one person."

... so we have to spend more money on it.

I would take the government more seriously on this, except for the fact that they had everything they needed to stop the 9/11 attack except for the will to ask for a search warrant. Political correctness stopped that, political correctness prevents TSA from doing anything useful at the airports, and political correctness will stop this from being useful for stopping terrorism. Useful for internal surveillance and tyranny, yes. Preventing terrorism, no.

13 posted on 04/11/2003 11:57:12 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Donate to FR. End the fundraising quagmire against the Fedayeen Snuggles.)
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To: Timesink
"And just how are they gonna get THIS data?

They're not. That's the great thing. The only way for this to work is for "the government" to get its hands on data sets that don't exist."

Don't they? I wonder. OTC drug sales...well, if you buy your OTC stuff at the supermarket and use your discount card, there will be a record. I suspect that there are more records than we know, to tell the truth.
14 posted on 04/11/2003 11:58:47 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Poohbah
"Actually, finding out that you bought a gun from Wal-Mart is a matter of paying Wal-Mart for access to their database. Wal-Mart knows what you bought."

Bingo. But, the feds won't have to pay for that data, IMO. They'll just make it mandatory that they have access to it.
15 posted on 04/11/2003 11:59:45 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
Personally, I buy most of my OTC stuff at Wal Mart. No shopper card, cheaper prices. (WAY cheaper.) No record.
16 posted on 04/11/2003 12:01:31 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: MineralMan
But, the feds won't have to pay for that data, IMO. They'll just make it mandatory that they have access to it.

Don't bet on it.

17 posted on 04/11/2003 12:01:55 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
Gosh, why don't they just ask Wal-Mart?

Where is the legal mechanism to compel Wal-Mart to release that data?

Actually, finding out that you bought a gun from Wal-Mart is a matter of paying Wal-Mart for access to their database. Wal-Mart knows what you bought.

Now, what if I paid cash and did not provide my name at checkout?

18 posted on 04/11/2003 12:03:10 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
Where is the legal mechanism to compel Wal-Mart to release that data?

None needed. The gummint just pays Wal-Mart's going rate for extranet connectivity.

Now, what if I paid cash and did not provide my name at checkout?

Except that, in the case of firearms purchases...that isn't an option.

19 posted on 04/11/2003 12:07:21 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: MineralMan
Since most Americans leave a long and detailed trail of their purchases, I'd assume that suspicion would accrue to those who don't. I could be wrong, but it may just be that your pattern is one that will cause you extra grief.

However, does not leaving a data trail rise to the level of probable cause? In order for your idea to bear fruition to the feds, IMO they would have to significantly lower the threshhold of probable cause. There are many, many people who are concerned about their privacy but are not engaging in criminal activity - whereas probable cause means there is a clear indication that the suspect activity rises to the criminal.

20 posted on 04/11/2003 12:08:13 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: seamole
I sure you are right...Sun & Satyam are major players in the IT world.
21 posted on 04/11/2003 12:08:14 PM PDT by Pro-Bush (Iran/ Syria = Gulf War III)
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To: Poohbah
None needed. The gummint just pays Wal-Mart's going rate for extranet connectivity.

And what if Wal-Mart refuses - does the government compel Wal-Mart to turn over customer purchase records? And even if Wal-Mart provides the data, you'd need to capture purchase-level data from EVERY retailer and wholesaler IN THE COUNTRY - a mammoth project that would dwarf the Y2K preparations in IT.

Except that, in the case of firearms purchases...that isn't an option.

Wrong. I provide my name for the background check - but I can pay cash at the register once I have passed the background check. Paid cash for the last gun I bought back in 1999.

22 posted on 04/11/2003 12:10:44 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
"In order for your idea to bear fruition to the feds, IMO they would have to significantly lower the threshhold of probable cause. There "

It's not my idea, actually. My point here is that probable cause is already out the window with regard to airline travel, wouldn't you say? Probable cause is a conceptual thing, often ignored in day-to-day operations by law enforcement. It doesn't come into play until matters reach the courts.
23 posted on 04/11/2003 12:10:50 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
OTC drug sales...well, if you buy your OTC stuff at the supermarket and use your discount card, there will be a record.

However, most of the time the discount card data is not shared at the purchase level with marketers - so for the government to compel a grocery store to provide them with discount-card data would often be a violation of the agreement between the customer and the store upon issuance of the card. And there is still always the option of paying cash and not using a discount card.

24 posted on 04/11/2003 12:13:38 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
And what if Wal-Mart refuses

They won't. Their policy is if you have the cash, you're in their extranet--pay for play.

And even if Wal-Mart provides the data, you'd need to capture purchase-level data from EVERY retailer and wholesaler IN THE COUNTRY - a mammoth project that would dwarf the Y2K preparations in IT.

It would have the salutary effect of ending the H1B whingeing :o)

Wrong. I provide my name for the background check - but I can pay cash at the register once I have passed the background check. Paid cash for the last gun I bought back in 1999.

Wal-Mart will still track it, believe it or not--they just don't do it in a fashion that's obvious to you. (They have to worry about lawsuits and the like.)

25 posted on 04/11/2003 12:14:05 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: MineralMan
It doesn't come into play until matters reach the courts.

Well, the way TIA is being billed, names would be kept separate from demographic and financial data, and it would take a warrant to get names that match TIA models. So in order to issue a warrant, probable cause would need to be provided. So PC is still in play here.

26 posted on 04/11/2003 12:15:14 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: Poohbah
Wal-Mart will still track it, believe it or not--they just don't do it in a fashion that's obvious to you. (They have to worry about lawsuits and the like.)

Wal-Mart simply tracks it by filling out their federal fireams forms. Not live, not electronic. There is no tracking at the register.

27 posted on 04/11/2003 12:16:21 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
"so for the government to compel a grocery store to provide them with discount-card data would often be a violation of the agreement between the customer and the store upon issuance of the card. "

I'm afraid you're a lot more trusting of the government than I am. I have no reason to hide my transactions, so I don't bother. For me, this discussion is an ideological one, not a personal one.

Look at the current relationship between the federal government and the banking industry. Your data is transparently available to the feds under many circumstances, and court orders are easily obtained in any case.

Consider the library situation that has developed.

I'm sorry, but ideals don't seem to be in place any longer with regard to privacy from government intrusion.
28 posted on 04/11/2003 12:16:29 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: dirtboy
"Wal-Mart simply tracks it by filling out their federal fireams forms. Not live, not electronic. There is no tracking at the register."

Just because you don't see them tracking it doesn't mean that they don't.
29 posted on 04/11/2003 12:17:11 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: dirtboy
And just how are they gonna get THIS data?

I don't think they can do it. This is a major headache in any data wharehouseing operation. And no one has every tried to collect data from such wide ranging sources. It's not just a technical problem that can be overcome with some clever engineering, even though that's a massive hurdle. It's also administrative, everybody involved in supplying the data would have to give their total cooperation.

30 posted on 04/11/2003 12:17:31 PM PDT by MattAMiller (Iraq was liberated in my name, how about yours?)
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To: Pro-Bush
"Three thousand people died on 9/11. When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off," Dyer says.

Didn't Mr. Franklin have something to say about that?

31 posted on 04/11/2003 12:18:48 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: Pro-Bush
Lt. Col. Doug Dyer, a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), said at an IBM-sponsored conference on data privacy in Almaden, Calif., this week that Americans must trade some privacy for security.

That's because you're a s**t eating, freedom hating bureaucrat Doug.

32 posted on 04/11/2003 12:21:34 PM PDT by AAABEST
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To: MineralMan
Where are those penumbras when you need 'em?
33 posted on 04/11/2003 12:22:46 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: MineralMan
I'm afraid you're a lot more trusting of the government than I am. I have no reason to hide my transactions, so I don't bother. For me, this discussion is an ideological one, not a personal one.

The issue I mentioned is not a matter of trusting the government. If you read the form when you sign up for many discount cards, the retailer specifies limits on how your purchase data will be shared. Releasing it to the government would be a violation of that agreement. And it's really moot anyway, as one can simply pay cash and not use a discount card, so the only people who would have data transmitted from discount card databases would be those who don't care, as you do.

Look at the current relationship between the federal government and the banking industry. Your data is transparently available to the feds under many circumstances, and court orders are easily obtained in any case.

A court order is still required, which limits the ability to obtain data in bulk - and, in addition, probable cause to obtain a court order needs to come from other sources, not the financial data itself.

Consider the library situation that has developed.

And libraries are nuking records as a result. That law of unintended consequences thang that is a rider on every bill passed by Congress but that is never considered during debate.

I'm sorry, but ideals don't seem to be in place any longer with regard to privacy from government intrusion.

I've developed an alternative view towards this problem. Gun grabbers sometimes postulate the idea of keeping guns legal but outlawing ammo. I think we should reverse that concept regarding personal data and its use by the feds - we really can't do too much about the mountains of data that are legally available from private sources (the ammo) - but we CAN institute controls on governmental databases and analytical tools that use this data (the guns). So IMO the best approach is to worry less about the minuitae of the data (where the feds can bury data-gathering mechanisms deep in legislation where only the most masochistic wonks can find them) and instead concentrate on review of the databases, which are much larger projects that sooner or later appear on the political radar screens.

34 posted on 04/11/2003 12:24:24 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: Pro-Bush
http://www.darpa.mil/iao/index.htm

TIA website
35 posted on 04/11/2003 12:27:06 PM PDT by OXENinFLA (Welcome to the beginning of 1984!)
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To: dirtboy
Dude, I always use cash when I buy gasoline. And I always top off too.
36 posted on 04/11/2003 12:28:56 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: OXENinFLA
http://www.darpa.mil/iao/TIA_FAQs.pdf
37 posted on 04/11/2003 12:29:10 PM PDT by OXENinFLA (Welcome to the beginning of 1984!)
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To: MattAMiller
It's also administrative, everybody involved in supplying the data would have to give their total cooperation.

It's staggering to contemplate. How many business are in this country? 20 million or so. That's 20 million data feeds. Every POS system in the country would have to be re-programmed to provide a standard data extract, and that data would have to be transmitted, loaded, checked and then merged. The way I look at it, the IRS can't even implement tax systems where almost all the data arrives with a common key. How are the feds going to handle data coming from 20 million point sources with no common key, and deliver finished data in anything remotely resembling timeliness? I've matched data from large sets for a living, and 80 percent is a good match rate - fine for marketing, but completely inadequate for an investigative tool. The gaps in this process are absolutely HUGE, and any terrorist with a brain will have no trouble avoiding detection.

38 posted on 04/11/2003 12:29:38 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: Fred Mertz
Dude, I always use cash when I buy gasoline. And I always top off too.

I buy gas every day with my current commute. I'm too lazy to walk into the convenience store unless I gotta hit the loo...

39 posted on 04/11/2003 12:30:31 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
"but we CAN institute controls on governmental databases and analytical tools that use this data (the guns). So IMO the best approach is to worry less about the minuitae of the data (where the feds can bury data-gathering mechanisms deep in legislation where only the most masochistic wonks can find them) and instead concentrate on review of the databases, which are much larger projects that sooner or later appear on the political radar screens."

In general, I agree with your approach. But, there is a continuing problem with keeping legislators from passing things that bypass ideals. I'm not a libertarian, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do notice an increasing lack of privacy when it comes to the government. Industry as well, of course, but I'm less alarmed about getting more junk mail than I am about having to explain why I withdrew $10k in cash from my savings account.

Just yesterday, I had a visit from a nice man from the CA Board of Equalization, the sales tax folks. While he opted not to do an audit of my business, since there was little chance of recovering any unpaid sales taxes, he did take away with him a couple of mandatory forms, wherein I was compelled to provide account numbers for my business bank accounts, along with my merchant bank account number.

Now, I have no doubt at all that the state of CA can access every sale I make, given that almost all my sales are paid for by credit card.

No audit. That's nice. They wouldn't have found anything, anyhow, because I keep detailed, accurate records and don't hide any sales, cash or otherwise.

My point here is that we have certain principles in the USA, as outlined in our Constitution. The 4th and 5th Amendments come to mind here. However, our rights to privacy from governmental snooping are far from as strong as they once were.

Events like 9/11 are triggers which let our legislators remove little pieces of privacy, in the name of national security. I don't have a lot of confidence that this process is going to slow down.

I see a lot of comments about what might happen under a Democratic administration should some of the measures under consideration be implemented. I'm worried about _all_ administrations, to be quite frank. John Ashcroft doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in me when it comes to privacy issues.
40 posted on 04/11/2003 12:34:09 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
he did take away with him a couple of mandatory forms, wherein I was compelled to provide account numbers for my business bank accounts, along with my merchant bank account number.

IMO tax collection efforts are a far greater threat to privacy than the national security proposals. I think TIA will be doomed by both the incredible scale of the project and the sheer ineptness of government systems development - seriously, the Pentagon can't even keep track of their civilian contractors, to whom they issue checks, and they think they can run TIA? But tax collection efforts are continually expanding the information they gather and the intrusiveness of their efforts.

41 posted on 04/11/2003 12:39:39 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: dirtboy
"I've matched data from large sets for a living, and 80 percent is a good match rate - fine for marketing, but completely inadequate for an investigative tool. "

In an ideal world, you would be correct. But perfection is in no way the goal, when it comes to things like CAPPS II or TIA. It's a matter of no concern to those implementing these things that you are held up for a flight. They don't care. They don't know you.

If 20% are held up, well, there it is. This is the danger with such schemes, IMO. By casting a broad net, such programs will slow things down, but won't have any positive effect.

Your numbers are good, but the folks working on these issues don't care if they get a 99% match rate. They care even less than the telemarketer or junk mail marketer does. It's no skin off their noses, to be quite frank, if you're prevented from boarding your plane because you have the same name as some mad bomber. Your recourse is limited, and in the future. You will miss your flight. John Ashcroft does not care if you miss your flight.
42 posted on 04/11/2003 12:40:11 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
It isn't just business where the tax collectors are getting too nosy. I moved to a rural township in Pennsylvania last year - and within a week I had a questionnaire in my mailbox (lord knows how they found out I was newly in the township) asking, among other things, my occupation and where I had moved from. PA has an occupation tax that is only charged by a few townships, and townships that levy an income tax cannot collect occupation tax. Since the township where I live collects income tax, I called up the collector and told her that she didn't need to gather that information. She said I had to provide it. I said I wasn't going to provide it because the township legally couldn't collect the tax in the first place. And I told her I wasn't providing information as to where I moved from, and she said I didn't have to provide that - had she insisted, I would have asked her to cite the PA Code that authorized her to gather the info.

A lot of this battle is standing up to these creeps where you can.

43 posted on 04/11/2003 12:55:06 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: MineralMan
Your #40 is well put.

I'll go one step further. It's none of the CA's effen business how much you sell. America was never supposed to be a nation where some slimebag tax bureaucrat can look up a private person/business owner's ass any time he feels like it, just because he can.

It's too bad our citizens have become so compliant and weak that they continue to allow such activities to continue.

44 posted on 04/11/2003 1:14:53 PM PDT by AAABEST
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To: AAABEST
"I'll go one step further. It's none of the CA's effen business how much you sell. "

Actually, I have no particular beef with sales taxes. They're a pain in the butt to deal with, but it takes me just a couple of hours once a year to calculate what I owe in sales taxes from my California sales and to fill out the form.

I don't even charge my CA customers sales tax. I just pay it for them. That way, they pay the same price as my out-of-state customers. It's a discount to them, but they'd shop somewhere else if I didn't do that.

I do object to having the state have access to my banking and credit card charge records, but I really can't do anything about it. Since I don't cheat at all on those taxes, it's no sweat off my back, but I dislike it on principle.
45 posted on 04/11/2003 1:42:53 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: Pro-Bush
"Three thousand people died on 9/11. When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off," Dyer says.

Forget that the FBI could have stopped those guys beforehand. Use it as an excuse to violate the 4th amendment rights of every American. Notice how they take away liberty in the name of security, but they don't GUARANTEE security? There is no promise, no accountability.

Disgusting. Forget 'Give me liberty or give me death'. Now it's 'Take away my liberty, just tell me it'll all be OK.'

46 posted on 04/11/2003 1:44:40 PM PDT by servantoftheservant
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To: dirtboy
Much respect for you for taking a stand. It's a small thing, and it would have been easy to just fill out the stupid form.

Good for you brother.

47 posted on 04/11/2003 1:52:48 PM PDT by AAABEST
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To: dirtboy
"It isn't just business where the tax collectors are getting too nosy. I moved to a rural township in Pennsylvania last year - and within a week I had a questionnaire in my mailbox (lord knows how they found out I was newly in the township) asking, among other things, my occupation and where I had moved from. PA has an occupation tax that is only charged by a few townships, and townships that levy an income tax cannot collect occupation tax. "

An occupation tax? That's strange, I think. I've never heard of such a thing. Income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, but an occupation tax? Do different occupations get charged different amounts? I'm gonna go look on Google for more info about this.
48 posted on 04/11/2003 2:01:37 PM PDT by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
An occupation tax? That's strange, I think. I've never heard of such a thing. Income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, but an occupation tax? Do different occupations get charged different amounts? I'm gonna go look on Google for more info about this.

It's a very, very old tax, and very few townships in PA collect it - and they do charge different flat rates for different occupations.

49 posted on 04/11/2003 2:05:43 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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To: AAABEST
Thanks for the kind words. I couldn't for the life of me figure out the legal justification for asking where I had previously lived. Seemed like they were just being snoops.
50 posted on 04/11/2003 2:07:09 PM PDT by dirtboy (United States 2, Terror-sponsoring regimes 0, waiting to see who's next in the bracket)
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