Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


If You Have Nothing to Hide…

In “Behind-the-Scenes Battle on Tracking Data Mining,” the New York Times reports that the Department of Justice really does care about privacy, and really doesn’t want those nosy Congressional committees poking about how the government operates. So, why should they care? Are they hiding something?

Of course, this being a New York Times article, there’s a small error or two…:

The government’s use of vast public and private databases to mine for leads has produced several damaging episodes for the Bush administration, most notably in connection with the Total Information Awareness system developed by the Pentagon for tracking terror suspects and the Capps program of the Department of Homeland Security for screening airline passengers. Both programs were ultimately scrapped after public outcries over possible threats to privacy and civil liberties, and some Republicans and Democrats in Congress say they want to keep closer tabs on such computer operations to guard against abuse. (Emphasis added.)

As another paper reported yesterday, “Flight Database Found to Violate Privacy Law.” No, wait. That wasn’t another paper at all. That was the New York Times, reporting on a program that’s been scrapped! Or perhaps it wasn’t so scrapped. I guess renaming it from “CAPPS” to “CAPPS II” to “Secure Flight” to “Free Wheelchairs for paraplegic children” actually worked!

Hat tip D “Something to hide” M for the pointer.

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