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DHS's 'Secure Flight' Program Proven Insecure 131

Posted by Zonk
from the i-trust-the-government-as-far-as-i-can-throw-it dept.
News.com is reporting the somewhat unsurprising news that a government program we were assured was 'perfectly safe', has actually been proven to be a privacy nightmare. The 'Secure Flight' program matched air traveler information with commercial databases in the interests of national security. The charter for the program specifically forbade the TSA from accessing this information; the organization got their hands on it anyway. The Department of Homeland Security has released a report, detailing these findings and analyzing the situation. The News.com piece makes it clear the report was released on Friday in an attempt to obscure it from public notice; it was only linked to from a DHS subsite, and has not shown up on the DHS or TSA main pages. From the article: "The report from the Homeland Security privacy office takes pains to say that the privacy compromises over Secure Flight were 'not intentional,' and includes a list of seven recommendations to avoid similar mishaps in the future. Those include explaining to the public exactly what's going on and creating a 'data flow map' to ensure information is handled in compliance with the 1974 Privacy Act. This isn't the first report to take issue with Secure Flight. Last year, auditors at the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the program violated the Privacy Act."
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DHS's 'Secure Flight' Program Proven Insecure

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  • Misreading (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @07:22AM (#17352812)
    Am I the only one who had read "the 1984 Privacy Act" ?
  • by Caspian (99221) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @07:32AM (#17352852)
    ...it hasn't any right at all to be anything but a Boolean, at least at first. DHS has a right to check for the answer to the question 'Is this person a terror suspect?', and perhaps 'Is this person a known friend or confidant of a terror suspect?'. ONLY if the answer to one of those questions is 'yes' have the underpaid security monkeys at the airport got any right whatsoever to see any information on people. All too often, the quest for 'security' is just another grab for power and intimidation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geoff lane (93738)
      'Is this person a terror suspect?'

      In the new world order, everybody is a terror suspect until proven otherwise. It won't be long before special rewards will be authorised for children who inform on their non-conformist parents.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by starkraven (136614)
        Only you can't prove that someone is/isn't a suspect... that's why they call it "suspicion" ;-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpe (36238)
        In the new world order, everybody is a terror suspect until proven otherwise.

        Actually there are classes of people who do not have to be proven otherwise. e.g. those who pass and enforce laws about terrorist suspects.
    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday December 24, 2006 @12:20PM (#17353880) Homepage Journal

      Is this person a terror suspect?

      Is *which* person a terror suspect?

      Obviously, it would be nice to know if the person at the airport is actually suspected of being a terrorist, via evidence of links to known terrorists, etc., but to do that, you have to be able to correctly identify the person at the airport, and not just by name, and you also have to know that the reason for the suspicion is real.

      All this system does is pick out people who identify themselves using a name that matches one that was placed on the list somehow. Read that last statement carefully, and identify all of the ways in which it's different from "identify suspected terrorists". Then think about what kind of program you'd have to implement in order to really "identify suspected terrorists", and what kind of police state would be required to make it work.

      it hasn't any right at all to be anything but a Boolean, at least at first

      Given a full profile of the terror suspect, trained TSA agents might be able to ascertain with some reliability whether or not the person trying to travel is actually the suspect, so if implemented it should definitely NOT be a boolean value based only on a matching name. Since the whole thing is so completely unreliable, though, and the only way to make it reliable is to further eliminate our civil liberties, the better solution is just to scrap it.

      Somehow, the people in the US need to realize that the blood that must water the tree of liberty isn't just the blood of soldiers who go "over there" and kill the enemy. A free society is vulnerable in ways that a police state is not, but accepting that vulnerability is part and parcel of freedom. If an occasional 9/11 is the price of our civil liberties, we should be prepared to pay it, and consider it the bargain that it is. Cue the famous Benjamin Franklin quote.

      • >A free society is vulnerable in ways that a police state is not, but accepting that vulnerability is part and parcel of freedom.

        Police states kill their citizens by the thousands or millions every year. Free societies are safer than enslaved societies. If you seek security, don't swallow a dictator's promise to provide it.
        • by swillden (191260) *

          Police states kill their citizens by the thousands or millions every year. Free societies are safer than enslaved societies.

          I don't disagree, but there is truth in the fact that a police state can more ably protect its citizens from external threats, particularly terrorist threats. Statements like yours, while literally true, are ineffective because those arguing for more regulation in the name of safety can easily dismiss them by saying "Oh, but we're not going to let it go that far". And they may be right.

          But I don't care. The point of maximum safety is too little freedom for me. So I think it's more useful to cast the

  • I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @07:34AM (#17352868)
    I wonder how long it will be before we hear politicians praising a new bill to remove these constraints, framing it in terms of a "wall" which prevents the TSA from effectively securing our skies, like they did when they wanted to let foreign intelligence and domestic law enforcement exchange data?

    See, this is why I'm always skeptical of these things. And for some reason, critics are always written off as paranoid or unrealistic. I wonder if they said the same things when people warned that the new "small" income tax would quickly grow?
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      I wonder how long it will be before we hear politicians praising a new bill to remove these constraints

            A new bill? Why? Haven't you noticed, the government doesn't obey laws now anyway. They just do what they want. Surely they don't feel "accountable" to the people anymore... /sarcasm
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by koreth (409849)

      And for some reason, critics are always written off as paranoid or unrealistic.

      Nah, just left-wing nutjobs. That drumbeat will continue until the next time a Democrat is elected president and the new administration addresses the security rules. At which point the new security rules will instantly become either (a) an unacceptable affront to America's tradition of personal liberty and a symbol of how the left is out to control everyone's lives (if the restrictions are tightened), (b) a sign that the left is

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @07:37AM (#17352870)
    the report was released on Friday in an attempt to obscure it from public notice

    It's an old trick to release news on a Friday night, when less people are going to see it. Also, any day in which a major news story (superbowl, oscar night, day after elections, etc.) is scheduled -- those are the days to read the newspaper carefully-- those are days that are typically used to obscure potentially damaging news.

    In a 24-hour news cycle it's much harder to hide bad news from the public, but there are still golden times when the government and others are virtually guaranteed no one will be paying attention. Kudos for bringing this story to light.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      In a 24-hour news cycle it's much harder to hide bad news from the public

            Thank god we have reliable 24 hour news, like CNN. Oh wait, I don't see anything about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the story... this isn't NEWS!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpe (36238)
      It's an old trick to release news on a Friday night, when less people are going to see it. Also, any day in which a major news story (superbowl, oscar night, day after elections, etc.) is scheduled -- those are the days to read the newspaper carefully-- those are days that are typically used to obscure potentially damaging news.

      There's also releasing potentially politically embarrasing stories on the same day as a major disaster.

      In a 24-hour news cycle it's much harder to hide bad news from the public,
    • We read it here first [schneier.com].
  • This is actually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Sunday December 24, 2006 @08:25AM (#17352982) Homepage
    The very reason why I refrain from currently travelling to the US after having visited ~20 times in the 90s (and the last time in 2002). It's not so much the fingerprinting / mug shot procedure, which I resent, but the fact that potentially any slimeball marketing sleazoid may be able to get hold of my private data.

    Sorry dudes in the US; you really, really need to clean up your privacy laws to actually protect the individual and not to favor major business (and making identity theft darn easy in the bargain).

  • Lock 'em up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @08:42AM (#17353026) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but "not intentional" doesn't cut it when something happens that was explicitly forbidden in the charter of the program.

    If I sign a contract that specifically says I can only get X under condition of Y and Z, then breaking those conditions invalidates the contract. Secure Flight should be terminated and TSA be made liable for any and all damages.

    Why is it that governments and corporations can fuck up constantly on a scale that makes you dizzy while any natural person doing a fuckup on a similar scale would be locked away for life?
    • There is not any explicit right to privacy in the USA. It's been written by case law over the last 30-40 yrs. However, when the Government is concerned should you even expect you REALLY have privacy?? Come on, they have your name, address and phone in the Drivers License, IRS and Social Security systems. If you travel you are in the TSA database (and the airline database). If you own property the State & Local Gov't know the value and improvements. If you deposit/withdraw more than 10K in Cash the Gover
      • Only if you claim the donation as a deduction. The libraries are not controlled by the FBI. As for name, address and phone, that's something I WANT the government to have in case they need to contact me. Your point about the barriers to abuse being technical rather then legal is a good one however.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        | ALL of this together, it's very fragmented and pulling it together from 1000's of databases would be a huge IT project.

        Yes, although the government does indeed have all of this information, it is not generally cross-referenced. I spent many years writing some really nasty fuzzy logic algorithms for a private company, in an attempt to relate property tax, assessment, and sales history records of real estate property. In 99% of the communities i worked, the tax department, assessors office (assessment recor
    • Good luck suing the government!

      This is similiar to:
      You _can not_ sue the police for them failing to protect you.

      Without accountability, the point of government disappears.
  • by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @09:03AM (#17353072) Journal
    The Murder rate in the USA is 16,000 PER YEAR.
    The US terror rate since (and before) 911 death toll was 3,300 TOTAL.

    We maintained our constitution for over 200 years with the number of murders growing the whole time, and we didn't take that as a reason to torch our own constitution.

    911 shouldn't have changed a damn thing. Yet it seems as if the Bush team has milked it to build the bedrock for a police state. Given their political donations come from the same private interests that profit from such draconian right wing lunacy, it looks like the Bush team staged it themselves, quite honestly.

    http://www.the7thfire.com/Politics%20and%20History /Missile-Not-Flight-77.html [the7thfire.com]

    Getting security "locked down" is the wrong answer. Getting the nazis out of office is the right answer.

    • Correction.
      The US terror rate since (and before) 911 death toll was 3030. TOTAL.
    • Governments do plenty of things that infringe on people's rights in order to try and curb the rate of murder. For example, the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA doesn't allow handguns. Even if you interpret the US Constitution as not allowing each individual person to own guns (as groups like the American Civil Liberties Union do) the Illinois State Constitution http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con1.htm/ [ilga.gov] explicitly provides for that, leaving little if any room for such interpretation. That seems like a way

      • the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA doesn't allow handguns. Even if you interpret the US Constitution as not allowing each individual person to own guns (as groups like the American Civil Liberties Union do) the Illinois State Constitution http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con1.htm/ [ilga.gov] explicitly provides for that, leaving little if any room for such interpretation.

        Handguns. What about hunting rifles?

        • It depends on your definition of "hunting rifle", I guess. My understanding is that Chicago outlaws "assault weapons" as well; however, I can't find documentation of that anywhere. I guess I didn't mean or want to start a debate about "gun control". I just wanted to say that the government's violation of Constitutional rights isn't restricted to the context of defeating terrorism, but everyone seems to get the most worked up about those scenarios. The ridiculous Supreme Court ruling re: personal propert
          • It depends on your definition of "hunting rifle", I guess. My understanding is that Chicago outlaws "assault weapons" as well; however, I can't find documentation of that anywhere. I guess I didn't mean or want to start a debate about "gun control". I just wanted to say that the government's violation of Constitutional rights isn't restricted to the context of defeating terrorism
            To be fair, banning AK-47s is somewhat related to preventing terrorism.
            • To be fair, banning AK-47s is somewhat related to preventing terrorism.

              Based on what? Name one terrorist incident that involved AK47s.

              • To be fair, banning AK-47s is somewhat related to preventing terrorism.

                Based on what? Name one terrorist incident that involved AK47s.

                You're kidding? Right? You can't possibly be this ignorant.

                learn something [unodc.org]
                • I can't speak to the poster's ignorance level; however, terrorists generally don't bother with small arms in this country because it takes too much time to inflict a high level of damage with them. By the time you'd kill a few dozen people, if you could even kill that many, you'd be dead yourself. The death ceiling for explosives is much higher.

                • What, so banning ak47s and glocks will keep them out of the hands of terrorists? You can't be that stupid. Banning all guns will only make it difficult for normal people to possess them while making any attacker's job easier. Oh, and you still haven't named any terrorist incidents that involve ak47s (I want something in the USA).
                  • you still haven't named any terrorist incidents that involve ak47s (I want something in the USA).
                    lol! Only in America!
    • by SethJohnson (112166) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @10:15AM (#17353290) Homepage Journal


      Your comments about the murder rate vs. terror rate and torching the constitution were strong.

      You lost me with the conspiracy theory about the neocons planning 9/11. As much as I distrust Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their puppet, the theories about missles hitting the Pentagon just aren't credible to me. At most, I will believe that 9/11 was a happy accident [reference.com] which Cheney leveraged to enrich his friends at Haliburton. He sold it to Bush as an opportunity to finish what his dad had started. Rumsfeld? Well, that guy wanted to prove a war could be fought on the cheap and wanted to take credit for that accomplishment. Turned out it can be fought on the cheap, so long as you're not concerned with winning.

      Seth
      • the theories about missles hitting the Pentagon just aren't credible to me. At most, I will believe that 9/11 was a happy accident [reference.com]

        I don't know about the missile story... on 9-11 it was a "car bomb", then a "truck bomb" that blew up at the pentagon after the plane hit in NY.

        But I think it was at LEAST a happy accident, possibly something that was allowed to happen, and at my most cynical, I might think it was actually planned by the facists in government and more likely in the "intelligence community".
        They predictably won so much power and funding as a result, it's hard not to think they would want it to happen.

        • by symbolic (11752)
          Man have you missed something! Haven't you seen the "video" released after some years by the fed after confiscating ALL surveillance footage in the area- including footage that was shot from private property? The "video" consists of five frames, taken at a quite a distance. All you get to see is a whitish blur (claimed to be the nosecone of the incoming plane) and a fireball. It's only five frames, so the likelihood of tampering, enhancement, or outright fabrication isn't outside the realm of possibility, e
          • Man have you missed something! Haven't you seen the "video" released after some years by the fed

            Yeah, I also saw the surveillance footage from the parking lot's security booth shown on TV some time after 9-11 (not years after, weeks I think), it showed very little and was dated 9-12.

            I also remember, from that faithfull day, an announcer asking a follow up question: "a car bomb? Not a plane?" and the radio reporter answering "we're being told it was a truck bomb".
            Then there was talk of an order to shoot down any planes not following directions to go land in Canada, and about two hours later a pentagon



            • And having seen pictures from around ground zero of big plane chunks, including a whole, twisted jet engine, I look at the area around that pentagon impact, and frankly, there's just a few flakes... looks like something blew up allright, but it doesn't look like the "plane hitting a building and then exploding" debris from New York.

              Suspicion of the government is a good thing and that's why I don't lambaste 9-11 conspiracists. Instead, I discuss with them their theories to stress-test my own understand
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Darby (84953)

          They predictably won so much power and funding as a result, it's hard not to think they would want it to happen.


          Well, you can take it that far without just "thinking" it. We know with 100% certainty that they wanted it to happen, since they stated exactly that back in 2000. Just read "Rebuilding America's Defenses" here [newamericancentury.org].

          They stated flat out that "in order to ensure American economic world domination in the 21st century" it would be necessary to invade Iraq. Further they said that they knew full well that th
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by mrplastik (722391)
        The conspiracy nuts are worse than right-wing christian zealots and left-wing socialist morons put together.
        • The conspiracy nuts were the ones who unraveled Watergate and Telephone Tapping scandals.
          So don't go about dissing them.

          If they weren't there, your rights which you inherited because some lame ass-kicking horse jockey fought on your behalf and ACTUALLY died for it.

          Sheesh, how many times do we have to tell these mid fencers that having a friday romp and a sunday shopping deal is NOT freedom.
          • by mrplastik (722391)
            Conspiracy nuts create FUD. As for Watergate, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
            • by symbolic (11752)
              Agreed. The whitehouse's continued attempts to pin the blame for 9/11 on a terrorist attack was full of holes from the very start.
        • by mpe (36238)
          The conspiracy nuts are worse than right-wing christian zealots and left-wing socialist morons put together.

          When it comes to "911" the term "conspiracy nuts" has to include the entire US Government. Given that the "Bin Laden did it" is a rather complex conspiracy theory with very little supporting evidence.
          • by Cobralisk (666114)
            The thing is, there has been way too much political misinformation on both sides of the ball to ever truly know the whole story about this whole ordeal. Ask yourself, what do you know about 9-11? I know that the twin towers were hit by airplanes, and they fell. I saw this on live tv. I also know the pentagon was damaged by a large explosion. I've seen the damage with my own eyes and spoken with people who were in the building at the time. Everything else I've heard might as well be fiction. Of the six bill
      • by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @10:57AM (#17353486)
        Perhaps the conspiracy theories are not so wrong. Politics and the economy seem to dictate that in a tragedy, their will be some that profit and others that loose. Look at Haliburton. Haliburton's profits increased megafold as a result of non-competitive contracts with the DoD. Come on folks, we know if the owners of Haliburton were some poor inner city folk (or just a start up without political connections) they wouldn't have gotten a chance to even bid on the contract. I also have to say that our freedoms have erroded. This is not theory, this law. The Patriot Act puts severe limitations on our freedoms and we are traveling down a steep, slippery slope. As much as I despise the acts of 9/11, I cannot condone Guantanamo Bay and the secret prisons and the domestic wire tapping program.

        We accused Clinton of being a liar and Bush repeatedly lied about their being no domestic wire tapping program or secret prison Mr. Bush drove us to war on a lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction. While I do not like Cynthia McKinney from Georgia at all, she drove a point by attempting to introduce legislation to impeach Bush. Honestly, he is far more impeachable than Clinton. We hold ourselves up on such high, hypocritical horses that we punished Clinton for a blow job: a harmless, repeat harmless act whereas Mr. Bush has effectively killed 16,000 people because he wanted to finish daddy's work. Mr. Bush needs to answer for his actions but, so long as he has money, he has a get out of jail ticket. It would take the collective bravery of the International Criminal Court to bring charges down. I could only hope that the ICC is brave enough to take this on. Bush has committed war crimes under a guise.

        Bush is an extremeist in his own right. He is the antithesis of Ahmadenjinad of Iran. It has been speculated that Bush has some fascination with the Apocalypse and the Born-Again Christians do have a preocupation with this event. Clinton got some undeserved negative attention. He did wonders for the economy. The presidency requires an intelligent, well-thought, and well-spoken indidivdual.

        Some have attempted to compare Bush to Lincoln. True, both were in unpopular wars and both rather folksy. There remains an important difference. Lincoln was not ideologically driven and he was doing what was morally correct for ANY time period: ending a wrong justified by pseudoscientific means. Lincoln saw the problems with calling our nation free while slavery still existed. This was a moral and ethical dilemna. Lincoln dealt with this. While Lincoln is folksy, it is clear that his intelligence and thought capacity is higher than that of Bush. As far as I am concerned there is no comparison and history will see the George W. Bush Presidency as one of the worst administrations in the history of our country.

        • by thona (556334) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @11:46AM (#17353704) Homepage
          Gratulations. Your words give me hope that there are americans that are not idiots. Seriously - you spoke the truth, in exactly the way it needs to be spoken.

          I am european, and I have always thought as the US as the country wher edemocracy was strong - today I am not traveling to the US because I refuse to deal with terrorist nations, and unless the us government gets some sort of clue what country they re supposed to govern, the US is just not a place I want to step on even for a day.

          Let's all hope that things change once Mr. Bush is out of his office. The uss has dealt with horrendous aberrations in the past (just say McCarthy Era) and recovered.
          • by DarkVader (121278)
            Someone, please mod parent up!

            That's not a troll. That's simply accurate.
          • Thanks for your thoughts. The reason I speak up is because I love my country and it hurts to see it become this hypocritical. Mark my words, democracy will re-strengthen once the Bush regieme is done. I am sure a more rational president will dissolve the Patriot Act and revoke powers from the Department of Homeland Security. Americans are not so much idiots as they tend to be driven by emotion rather than rational thought. This is evidenced in our reaction to 9/11 which was impulsive . . . . we simply
            • I know many bright intelligent people from the US.

              I understand your position that one should distinguish the government from its people. However one should not forget that governments are representatives of the people. The actions of a government reflects the people of that nation.

              Additionally let's not forget that Bush got re-elected. That too says something about the people.
        • by Atzanteol (99067)

          Lincoln was not ideologically driven and he was doing what was morally correct for ANY time period:

          You think so? There was more to the Civil war than slavery you know. In fact there was tension between the federalists and states rights folks for some time. Many in the south saw/see the Civil war as a federal power grab by the north and believe Lincoln just used slavery as an excuse (a good one mind you, but a red herring none-the-less).

          In fact, Lincoln and GWB have something else in common. GWB ran

          • by sgtrock (191182)
            OK, if what you say is true, why on Earth did the Southern states insist so strongly on maintaining slavery? Why did they secede when their candidate lost a fair election? Could it possibly be that maybe the South has to share some of the guilt for all those dead on both sides?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by AceM2 (655504) *
              We're always going to see slavery as the reason because it was the most revolutionary change created by the war. You must remember southerners of the time (and many still today) saw the slavery debate as a hit to their pride rather than a moral issue. Most rich plantation owners would quickly cease to be rich if slavery were abolished. Point being turning against slavery at that moment only serves to make the rich southerners angrier while making yourself look good to the northerners. Slavery would have
              • Slavery would have ended anyway eventually, and we would have had a civil war anyway. It was one straw (a heavy one perhaps), not the whole pile.

                You might find this comment [slashdot.org] (by me) interesting. Just pointing it out because I'm a couple days late to this discussion.

                • by AceM2 (655504) *
                  I do find it interesting. While I knew the general idea of what you were talking about, no one has ever given me the details on the 13th and such which your comment did. It's late to continue the conversation now, but I wanted to tell you I appreciate the info. The civil war subject intrigues me since I am from the South myself and now that I live in the north western part of the US, I often find myself in the middle of such conversations. There are a lot of misinformed people out there when it comes to
            • by Atzanteol (99067)
              You misunderstand. Slavery wasn't the *only* issue, though it was one of them. Sure the south has to share in the guilt for the war (perhaps even take the lions share), but the dispute was over far more than civil rights. States rights vs. federalism was a very big issue for much of the early years of the US. The battle is all but lost these days as the Federal government has grown in power over the years. Federal control of many aspects of life is now taken for granted.
          • Explain me one thing:
            Why is that whenever any of our administrations fears an attack or has been attacked by an enemy (internal/external), our hard won freedoms are the FIRST to disappear ?
            Is it because the Govt. fears US more than our enemies?
            Is it that the Govt. considers US as threats more than enemies?
            is it that the Govt. feels the populace must be stripped of their rights under the guise of protecting the same rights?

            Fighing a war for peace is like fucking for viriginity.

            Why can't our rights be EXPAND
        • Some have attempted to compare Bush to Lincoln. True, both were in unpopular wars and both rather folksy. There remains an important difference. Lincoln was not ideologically driven and he was doing what was morally correct for ANY time period: ending a wrong justified by pseudoscientific means. Lincoln saw the problems with calling our nation free while slavery still existed. This was a moral and ethical dilemna. Lincoln dealt with this. While Lincoln is folksy, it is clear that his intelligence and thoug
      • by mrplastik (722391)
        The Haliburton contract was put in place by Clinton's administration, long before 9/11 -- you're pointing the finger at the wrong administration with that claim.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I have to agree about 9/11 not being a conspiracy. I personally believe that it was allowed to happen because the administration wanted to create the current political situation. That is pure (but educated) speculation. Regardless of whether that is true or not, it is impossible to argue that they did not already have their ducks in a row to take advantage of such an event.

        Here, for the conspiracy theorists, is why I am convinced it was NOT planned to go down the way it did:

        1) Every target was strategic
      • by StikyPad (445176)
        This [imdb.com] was a happy accident in 2001. 9/11.. not so much.
    • 911 shouldn't have changed a damn thing. Yet it seems as if the Bush team has milked it to build the bedrock for a police state. Given their political donations come from the same private interests that profit from such draconian right wing lunacy, it looks like the Bush team staged it themselves, quite honestly.

      Maybe they did, I guess we'll never really know, since by definition the people capable of that are capable of killing to cover it up.

      But even if they didn't explicitly plan it, Ossama was trained, funded and armed by the CIA, back when the Taliban were labelled "freedom fighters" (is that like "freedom fries"?), what goes around comes around.

    • by mrplastik (722391)
      9/11 was not a person murdering another person, you frame this as if it were a typical crime we should pursue through our court system. When in reality it was an extremely large entity attacking our country, not just singular persons. So terrorism is just a crime we pursue in criminal courts? When the movement is as large and concerted as it is, you cannot simply frame it as a typical crime. You may lie to yourself, but the rest of us see (save for the sheep).
      • 9/11 was not a person murdering another person, you frame this as if it were a typical crime we should pursue through our court system.

        There was never any reason NOT to handle it through our court system. I DO frame it as if it should have been handled in a different way. I frame it as if the president and his entire cabinet should have been investigated, impeached, and probably tried for treason.

        When in reality it was an extremely large entity attacking our country, not just singular persons. So terroris
      • by DarkVader (121278)
        No, it's the sheeple who see it as a large entity attacking our country.

        Now, it may have become that because of our actions since then, but when it happened it was a small, isolated group of crazies.

        Whether that group of crazies was religious fanatics in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan or Washington, we will likely never know. I suspect it was most likely simply a happy accident for the religious fanatics in Washington.
      • by mpe (36238)
        9/11 was not a person murdering another person, you frame this as if it were a typical crime we should pursue through our court system. When in reality it was an extremely large entity attacking our country, not just singular persons.

        Previous terrorist attacks have been handled through criminal courts. Including those in the US, including those involving paramilitary terrorists.
      • by Darby (84953)
        When the movement is as large and concerted as it is, you cannot simply frame it as a typical crime

        Do you have any evidence whatsoever that Al Queda was a large organization?
        Of course you don't, because it never was. That was another lie fed to you that you lapped because you didn't have the integrity to do any research and blindly swallowed the story the administration was selling. Hell, they've lied about just about everything else, so what makes you so completely out of touch with reality as to suppose t
    • by Yosho (135835)
      The US terror rate since (and before) 911 death toll was 3,300 TOTAL.

      What the hell is a "terror rate"? Besides that -- the goal of terrorism isn't to kill, it's to terrorize. You're saying the equivalent of something like "We shouldn't worry about forest fires because almost no forest fires were caused due to 9/11."

      We maintained our constitution for over 200 years with the number of murders growing the whole time, and we didn't take that as a reason to torch our own constitution.

      What the fuck does that mea
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the_REAL_sam (670858)
        No, I'm saying 911 was a single event, and if you ask me it looks more like an event planned against hte american people by their own government in an effort to galvanize them against an invisible enemy, in order to gain a more absolute form of dictatorial control. That's what 911 looks like, if you ask me.

        Fighting a war against an invisible enemy, and using that as a justification for searching everyone who passes through an airport, train station, you name it, already encroaches on basic civil liberties.
      • by swillden (191260) *

        The number of murders per year climbs over time (but not necessarily constantly; sometimes it drops, too) and that means we should torch the constitution?

        No, it means that since 9/11 did less damage to us than we regularly do to ourselves, we shouldn't use either as an excuse to destroy our civil liberties.

        I've always compared it to the death toll from traffic accidents (which exceeds the 9/11 death toll every *month*), but I like the murder comparison even better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DarkVader (121278)
        How about, we shouldn't worry about terrorism - because if we don't get scared, terrorism has FAILED.

        The response should have been an investigation, and a change in hijacker handling policy (previous policy was to just give them what they wanted) and a "cockpit door stays locked at all times" policy. And then we should have started flying again the next week, with EXACTLY the same airport security as before.

        Everything that was done by the government was instead calculated to terrorize the population, as a
    • by eskayp (597995)
      Pointless that is, to attempt convincing conspiracy theorists with facts.
      A review of the posts in this string makes that abundantly clear.
      For a dispassionate, rational, fact-based review of the 9-11 events
      refer to SKEPTIC magazine, vol 12, No. 4, 2006.
      www.skeptic.com has an overview of the issure's contents,
      but alas only the dead tree version has the details.
      Not that conspiracy buffs will ever let facts get in the way
      of conjecture and accusation.
      For them, the only thing worse than some malevolent force
      pulli
    • by Bazar (778572)
      I'll quote what someone with the nick "AerospaceEngineer" posted about the rocket conspiracy on http://www.bestofgooglevideo.com/video.php?video=3 39 [bestofgooglevideo.com]

      This is absolute idiocy. Very frustrating. Here's what happens when airplanes hit reinforced concrete. (commercial airliner skins are around 0.048" thick. Metal skinned fighters from the 60's are not much different) http://www.jokaroo.com/extremevideos/plane_vs_wall .html [jokaroo.com] The concrete wins... The way the trade center and the pentagon are built are very differ

  • Take the train. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2006 @10:08AM (#17353256)
    Chooo! Choo! All tokers know that, duh!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you have nothing to hide, why do you care.

    This is exactly why I care. Once the tools are given to a gov't agency, they will be abused, and used to target other groups that weren't the original objective. As one poster on /. said, "Terrorism and 'for the children' are the root password to the constitution".

    Note: they can get away with violating the law, because there isn't any penality when a gov't official, or a gov't contractor violates it.
    • by mpe (36238)
      Once the tools are given to a gov't agency, they will be abused, and used to target other groups that weren't the original objective.

      They may not even be used that much to target the "original objective". e.g. how often do you see "animal right" and "anti-abortion" people facing terrorist charges?
  • This seems like a small incremental threat increase given
    that the information is already available to anyone who
    wants to buy it. Anyone foriegn or domestic regardless
    of criminal record can buy data right? That TSA got what
    everyone else can access seems a small thing.

    What are the greatest threats? Which of these will most likely get you?

    National Debt
    Trade Inequity
    Job Exportation
    Oil Dependence / Oil exaustion
    Terrorist Attack
    Government Intrusion
    False Inprisonment
    Identity Theft
    Neocons
    Pinko Liberals
    Automated
  • The report from the Homeland Security privacy office takes pains to say that the privacy compromises over Secure Flight were 'not intentional,' and includes a list of seven recommendations to avoid similar mishaps in the future. Those include explaining to the public exactly what's going on and creating a 'data flow map' to ensure information is handled in compliance with the 1974 Privacy Act.

    A "data flow map"? You mean, like a data flow diagram [wikipedia.org], a pretty standard diagram in software engineering taught to

  • From the write-up and the article, it is clear, that the beef we have with the system is its invasion of our privacy. That is not the meaning given to the term (in)secure in the context.

    Does the system have flaws, that could allow a terrorist to bypass it? That would've made it "insecure"...

    But, I guess, "Secure Flight System proven too invasive" just is not as good a sound-bite...

  • Look, all of this is further evidence, if any was needed, that it is possible for the government to be simultaneously brutal and incompetent. Keep in mind that the rationale for the Bush junta's continuing use of draconian methods is that the additional heavyhandedness is needed so that they can be more effective in fighting terrorism. But they have repeatedly demonstrated that they're capable of extreme repression even when it has no effect on terrorism, or even promotes it.

    All that these screening prog
  • The News.com piece makes it clear the report was released on Friday in an attempt to obscure it from public notice

    I'm as cynical as the next Slashdotter, but I find that conclusion a bit paranoid. I find it at least as likely that somebody or other mandated that the report be finished by end-of-year, and in typical bureaucratic fashion, it was finished last minute, right before somebody went on leave for the holidays.

    Aside from that, the report was pretty much just a reiteration of what everybody already k

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