"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

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Graduate of the University of Oregon, Married for 4-1/2 years to my High School sweetheart. I am currently residing in Cleveland while I attend med school.

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    Monday, March 20, 2006

    ACLU Vs. The Matrix

    I was recently made aware of a little flash movie by the ACLU, in which during a phone call to order a pizza, the pizza company has a whole host of personal information. The animation and accompanying article entitled "Urge Congress to Defang the Matrix" are in response to a 'mulit-state data-mining program' (although the article does not list the states, or reference any bill numbers) where the government can collect personal data. The article seems to present a doomsday scenario, in which the government presumably would use the information for profiling. I'm glad that the ACLU has this in their sights, but I think their worries are for nothing. The article states:
    "government sources report that it includes names and address of family members, property ownership, marine vessels, bankrupcies, liens and judgments, voter registrations, and criminal offender information"

    To the best of my knowledge, all of this is public information (with the possible exception of marine vessels). Therefore, the scope of this project does not cross the line of illegal search and seizure, and thus should be acceptable. The article does claim that the hope is to also include "commercially available data". Without mentioning what sort of data this is, it is difficult for me to feel emotional or concerned about the program, particularly in light of the potential successes of Able Danger.

    In general, I approach the subject with what I would consider a healthy optimism. In it's current form, the project appears legitimate and constitutional. However, the concept of data-mining, much like the recent fiasco over wiretaps, does have the potential for abuse.

    For more, see: The Grich and View From Vernon Hill.
    Cross-posted at 123Beta


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    All of that information - all of it - is available from Lexis-Nexis.

    Or it used to be, anyway. Their "people finder" function, which could give you all that (but the criminal record, which you could access through the legal documents section) seemed to have vanished after they got majorly hacked a while ago. However, I stopped doing nearly as much open source work then, so I dropped my account shortly after that. Because of that, I don't know if it's been put back or not.

    But even if L-N doesn't, the info is still public domain. L-N just put it into an easy-to-find format.

    Oh - but not all the information was always correct. They never did get my birth year right.

    6:15 AM  
    Blogger prying1 said...

    Do you know any good quality wholesale tinfoil hat manufacturers? I think I'll stand in front of the local ACLU offices and sell them at a good markup...

    12:14 AM  

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