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Listen To The Advancing Jackboots

Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System is at least as bad as we imagined.

"Without notifying the public, federal agents have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals. The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments. The government intends to keep the scores on file for 40 years. The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the United States after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered."

When the Stasi and the KGB did this kind of detailed surveillance in East Germany and Russia, we quite rightly called it evidence of a police state.   Surely it was the Cold War Republicans who led that charge?  They always were such hypocrites.

And the consequences of falling foul of these "watch lists" are every bit as bad in 2006 America as they were in 1955 Berlin or 1973 Moscow. One becomes a non-person, unable to travel, and severely hampered in terms of employment.  This kind of information quickly finds itself in the hands of credit agencies and insurance companies.  There are questions and delays whenever one wants to get anything done.  Your children's futures become compromised.  And it's probably a case of mistaken identity anyway, but there is no way to appeal.

"The government gets advance passenger and crew lists for all flights and ships entering and leaving and all those names are entered into the system for an ATS analysis, said Jayson P. Ahern, an assistant commissioner of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection agency. He also said the names of vehicle drivers and passengers are entered when they cross the border and Amtrak is voluntarily supplying passenger data for trains to and from Canada."

Is that Kafka taking notes in the corner?  The dystopian future is now and it ain't great.

November 30, 2006 in America Inc, Bush Administration, Government Intrusion, Right wing, US Justice System | Permalink


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