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FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk

 
moonscape
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User ID: 23006
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07/11/2007 07:21 AM
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FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Government report discloses law enforcement efforts to gather, sort info

WASHINGTON - The FBI is gathering and sorting information about Americans to help search for potential terrorists, insurance cheats and crooked pharmacists, according to a government report obtained Tuesday.

Records about identity thefts, real estate transactions, motor vehicle accidents and complaints about Internet drug companies are being searched for common threads to aid law enforcement officials, the Justice Department said in a report to Congress on the agency's data-mining practices.

In addition, the report disclosed government plans to build a new database to assess the risk posed by people identified as potential or suspected terrorists.
The chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the Justice Department said the database was "ripe for abuse." The American Civil Liberties Union immediately derided the quality of the information that could be used to score someone as a terror threat.

The report, sent to Congress this week, marked the department's first public detailing of six of its data-mining tools, which look for patterns to catch criminals. The disclosure was required by lawmakers when they renewed the USA Patriot Act in 2005. It comes as the Justice Department faces sharp criticism from Congress and civil liberties advocates for violating peoples' privacy rights in terror and spy investigations.

Initiatives called ‘extremely valuable’
Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said the databases are strictly regulated to protect privacy rights and civil liberties.

"Each of these initiatives is extremely valuable for investigators, allowing them to analyze and process lawfully acquired information more effectively in order to detect potential criminal activity and focus resources appropriately," Boyd said in a statement.

All but one of the databases — the one to track terrorists — have been up and running for several years, the report showed. The lone exception is the System to Assess Risk, or STAR, program to rate the threat posed by people already identified as suspected terrorists or named on terror watch lists.

The system, still under construction, is designed to help counterterror investigators save time by narrowing the field of people who pose the greatest potential threat and will not label anyone a terrorist, Boyd said.

Inaccurate information?
But it could be based, in part at least, on commercial or public information that might not be accurate — potentially ranking an innocent person as a terror threat. Watch lists, for example, have mistakenly identified people as suspects based on their similar names or birthdates to terrorists.

The Justice report also leaves open the possibility that the STAR program might draw up lists of terror suspects based on information from other sources, including from Data Mart. The report described Data Mart as a collector of government information, but also travel data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. and other information from private data-aggregators like Choicepoint. Private data aggregators often sell commercial credit records as well as other databases, like voter and vehicle registration.

"When you put bad information into a system and you don't have any mechanism of ensuring the information is of high quality, you're certain to get bad information spit out on the back end," said ACLU senior legislative counsel Tim Sparapani. "And that has profoundly negative consequences for the individuals who are wrongly identified as potential terrorists."

The five other databases detailed in the report include:

An identity theft intelligence program, used since 2003, to examine and analyze consumer complaints to identify major identity theft rings in a given geographic area.
A health care fraud system that looks at billing records in government and private insurance claims databases to identify fraud or over-billing by health care providers. It also has been running since 2003.
A database created in 2005 that looks at consumer complaints to the Food and Drug Administration to identify larger trends about fraud by Internet pharmacies.
A housing fraud program that analyzes public data on real estate transactions to identify fraudulent housing purchases, including so-called property flipping. The database was built in 1999.
A system that compares National Insurance Crime Bureau information against other data to crack down on fake car accident insurance claims and identify major offenders.
The 38-page report was four months late in being sent to Congress for required oversight. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy said it "raises more questions than it answers."

"Unfortunately, the Congress and the American public know very little about these and other data mining programs, making them ripe for abuse," said Leahy, D-Vt.

[link to www.msnbc.msn.com]
H2O
User ID: 243928
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07/11/2007 07:25 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Loose the FEAR !

Laughing at big sister


Government by the people, under the authority on High, way high, as in ALMIGHTY FATHER GOD !
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 08:30 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Sounds like they are trying to justify their agency's actions and expansion with more funding under the guise of terrorism.

They know the terrorists overseas "that have been created" will probably never come to America, so now they need to find new ways of creating domestic terrorists.
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 08:48 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Never trust a neo-con. Period.
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 08:51 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
"The police used to watch over the people, now they're watchin' the people"
-Charles Manson, 1974
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 09:22 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
"...allowing them to analyze and process lawfully acquired information more effectively in order to detect potential criminal activity and focus resources appropriately..."

So let me get this straight, rather than enforce EXISTING infractions and rounding up KNOWN lawbreakers, they spend our money skulking around the bushes trying to identify what people MAY be capable of?

Is that right?

Can't do shit about 20-40 million existing criminal invaders, but they need to data mine the citizenry for signs of discontent?

Gonna be a busy program.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 263048
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07/11/2007 09:37 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
They should stick to investigating those who commit a federal crime, as they were created to do... Give them a pen and notpad and restrict their operations to Washington DC and other federal land and territories.

We have our own law enforcement to reform out here in the 50 states!
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 09:55 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Secret watchlists do not exist in a Republic. Thus, the U.S. is a dictatorship. The watchlists would be meaningless if they were not enforced by police, managers, and administrators. The bureaucrats are sadistic criminals who get off on terrorizing the innocent people on watchlists.
In a Republic, a dissident is not a terrorist.
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 09:57 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Creepy. Sounds similar to the movie with Tom Cruse, can't recall title, where he arrests people before they commit a murder because the little balls roll down with their name on them.

This sounds like an invasion of privacy to me but then with Bushes patriot Act he has destroyed our rights.
Matrix
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07/11/2007 10:03 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Imagine if this private data, fell into the wrong hands.... damned
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 10:09 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Sounds like they are trying to justify their agency's actions and expansion with more funding under the guise of terrorism.

They know the terrorists overseas "that have been created" will probably never come to America, so now they need to find new ways of creating domestic terrorists.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 263048


"The police used to watch over the people, now they're watchin' the people"
-Charles Manson, 1974
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 263890



The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed—would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you."

"People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word."
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 10:10 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Imagine if this private data, fell into the wrong hands.... damned
 Quoting: Matrix 262955

oh you mean like all the laptops that have been stolen to determine which vets are potential threats?
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 10:29 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Imagine if this private data, fell into the wrong hands.... damned
 Quoting: Matrix 262955



Don't you think this already *IS* in the wrong hands? I do.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 5174
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07/11/2007 10:57 AM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
I can tell what your trying to say. You blame the joos, it's all over your typing. Haters.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 173402
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07/11/2007 12:14 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Gathered data is innocuous. It's the tuning (structuring the queries) that matters. Unless you know who is doing what structuring, you do not know if it is being abused. Who is monitoring the FBI?
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 02:07 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
So, how many "points" do we get in their threat assessment for reading or posting on forums like GLP? :)
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 02:19 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
You all do understand where this is all going dont you? This anti-terror apparatus is huge and getting bigger, much bigger than it ever needs to be. (I wont go into my thoughts about contemporary "terror" issues being manufactured for political and personal agendas") So how do you think in the end they are going to justify this massive terrorist screening apparatus? By finding other things to use it for, basically using it on the rest of us. Its an opportunity these political type will find too good to pass up, having so much information at their disposal and so much computing power.
paranoid eyes
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07/11/2007 04:31 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
historically speaking, this is how fascism takes over. it's already begun and the media is on board.
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 04:37 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
by definition everyone's a terror risk.
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 05:12 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
I once strolled through a store, and spent a while looking at the interesting Rolex, Bulova and other expensive timepieces on display in a jewelry case.

Suddenly, I realized all the timepieces were LOOKING at me.


I had the feeling of being WATCHED.
killdamon

User ID: 229344
United States
07/11/2007 05:20 PM

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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Imagine if this private data, fell into the wrong hands.... damned
 Quoting: Matrix 262955

Yea really. What if one of those intel guys has you're info on his laptop and it gets " misplaced" into to the wrong hands or worse yet, get sold to company X for unknown perpose by Mr. intel for $$$ on the side !
Just passing thru.
OG id 126286
NasTraDooMis
GS-15
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07/11/2007 06:04 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
Imagine if this private data, fell into the wrong hands.... damned



Don't you think this already *IS* in the wrong hands? I do.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 131036


Yup!! If a mindless thrall of a government employee can take a laptop home with personal data on millions of veterans, imagine what the FBI could do with personal data on regular civilians!!
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 2298
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07/11/2007 06:33 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
I think I know what they want the information for. It's to be able to pick out the most viable patsy's to blame for the various false flag terrorisms they are planning.
Anonymous Coward
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07/11/2007 07:45 PM
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Re: FBI mines data on Americans for terror risk
I think I know what they want the information for. It's to be able to pick out the most viable patsy's to blame for the various false flag terrorisms they are planning.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 2298



Among many, many other things. I believe the 4th Amendment was written by wise people:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If we still had this basic right, we wouldn't have to worry about mis-use by EITHER well meaning or not so well meaning jack boots..





GLP