Subject: Total Information Awareness Demonstration for Poindexter
The SF Weekly's column by Matt Smith in the Dec 3 issue points out that there
may be some information that John M. and Linda Poindexter of 10 Barrington
Fare, Rockville, MD, 20850, may be missing in their pursuit of total information
awareness. He suggests that people with information to offer should
phone +1 301 424 6613 to speak with that corrupt official and his wife.
Neighbors Thomas E. Maxwell, 67, at 8 Barringon Fare (+1 301 251 1326), James
F. Galvin, 56, at 12 (+1 301 424 0089), and Sherrill V. Stant (nee Knight)
at 6, may also lack some information that would be valuable to them in making
decisions -- decisions that could affect the basic civil rights of every
Some people are suspicious that the degenerate Poindexter's Total Information
Awareness system will be used to harass and track the activities of people
who some significant fraction of society disagree with. They fear a
replacement of today's general tolerance (and official blindness to one's
Bill-of-Rights-protected activities such as speech and association), with
specific harassment of those whose names pop up in the database. Such
harassment of people who are not reasonably suspected of criminal activity
would destroy much of value in our society, such as the presumption of innocence
and the "live and let live" philosophy that encourages diversity. Offering
dissidents "a death of a thousand cuts" by constantly harassing them and
denying them the privileges of ordinary life would be far worse than charging
them with a (bogus) crime, which they could clear up merely by demonstrating
their innocence in court.
It would be good to have an early public demonstration of just how bad life
could become for such targeted citizens. While ratfink's system is
probably not working yet, and a large part of it is classified, much of it
can be manually simulated for demonstration purposes. Public records can
be manually searched and then posted to the net by people who happen to be
looking there for something else. Many Internet public records search
sites also exist; try searching for "People finder". (Matt Smith at
firstname.lastname@example.org has offered to "publish anything that readers can
convincingly claim to have obtained legally".) Photographs and videos
of the target, their house, car, family, and associates, can be made and
circulated to demonstrate facial recognition techniques.
Employees at various businesses and organizations such as airlines, credit
card authorizers, rental-car agencies, shops, gyms, schools, tollbooths,
garbage services, banks, taxis, honest civil servants and police officers,
and restaurants could demonstrate denial of service to such targeted
people. A simple "We won't serve YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE" would do, as
was practiced on black people for many decades. More subtle forms of denial
of service are possible, such as "You've been 'randomly' selected as a security
risk, I'll have to insist that [some degrading thing happen to you]".
Or merely, "I can't seem to get this credit card to work, sir, and those
twenties certainly look counterfeit to me."
Those with access to DMV and criminal records databases, credit card records,
telephone bills, tax records, birth and death and marriage records, medical
records, and similar personally identifiable databases could combine their
information publicly to assist in the demonstration. This is how TIA
is intended to work -- the government would get privileged access to all
these databases, access that the rest of us do not normally have. But
some of us have access to various of these databases today, and can demonstrate
how the TIA system might work.
People who associated closely with such a targeted individual, such as their
families, relatives, friends, neighbors, protective secret service agents,
and business associates, might find themselves swept up in the information
dragnet. Such a demonstration would graphically reveal the societal
dangers of deploying such systems on a wide scale against a large number
of citizens -- preferably early enough that such a deployment could be prevented,
rather than reversed after major harm was caused.
Even if some of the information that people end up revealing or using about
such targeted scumbags is incorrect, such a public demonstration would highlight
the damaging effects that incorrect database information can have on innocent
peoples' lives, when used to target them for harassment without due process
of law. When this happens to innocents under classified or secret systems
such as the No-Fly lists, the public seldom finds out about it.
All in all I think such a demonstration would be highly educational, as well
as newsworthy and entertaining.