Saturday, January 14, 2006

John Robb :
Google is likely central to the Internet portion of this effort. There's no doubt in my mind that Google has a fat contract with the Homeland Security Department. They can track your search behavior using cookies. Affiliates using cookies on adwords. Analyze the content of your weblog for dangerous phrases. Anonymity doesn't help. They have your IP address and therefore can get the records they need to put a name and a credit history next to your Internet behavior (all without a warrant).

John Robb's Weblog: Data Mining run Amok

1 comment:

John Powers said...

The amount of data seems a mountain. My data--what might be put together about me--is rather annoying, but I wonder if emphasising personal privacy is really the best way to encourage public discussion.

Reading this link the thought that came to mind was: "I'd really worry if I worked in the government."

Even without the new spector of warrantless searches, FISA (a law that permits warrantless searches of Americans in certain contexts) provides a big openning for secret searches of one home and effects.

The connection to the data mining is that having contacts with people outside the US is virtually "cause" enough even under the FISA law.

This network of data mining and secret searches for domestic political purposes; for example to purge departments of persons working in the government of a different political party than the ruling party, could work as a kind of blackmail.

A favorite method of police work is the "sting." The idea is to contrive a situation to trick someone into breaking the law.

My concern is difficult to articulate; maybe that means my thinking is just shoddy. However the climate in government now is very difficult.

Since Bush, the amount of government information which is secret has doubled. And information can be retroactively classified as secret. Without any intent to commit a crime, many government employees could easily be ensnared.

All of this makes it easy to set-up government employees to act dishonestly. It fosters a climate where illegal and improper actions on the part of government agencies are more likely rather than less likely.