Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Your census and other personal data now being passed around the government...
...Conclusion? An 8% chance you're a terrorist!

The Washington Times reports, "U.S. census information provided by millions of Americans was used in a government study to profile airline passengers as terrorist risks. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration also obtained for its study the private information of hundreds of thousands of passengers flying Northwest Airlines..." This news "comes in the wake of reports that JetBlue Airways gave a military contractor computer data on 1 million of its customers." The Census Bureau had denied that individualized, personal information was being passed around. NASA had initially denied requesting the information from Northwest. Both were caught due to a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog group the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The purpose for all this data-mining and snooping for your personal information? The Homeland Defense Department is building a computerized, pre-flight, terrorist screening system called CAPPS II. The danger? It is estimated that the system will have an error rate at 4 percent to 8 percent, which Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program said "means 4 [million] to 8 million Americans will mistakenly be labeled as terrorists."

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