FBI Shows Off Big Database… Just As UK Shows Why Big Databases Are Bad

from the great-timing dept

Remember all the trouble the FBI has been having getting its big new computer system working? They must be feeling a bit embarrassed about all that. That might explain why they were so proud to show off their big new counter-terrorism database. However, as the article notes, there are legitimate fears about peoples’ privacy when such huge databases are put together by governments. In fact, across the Atlantic Ocean a story is coming out about a similar big database, as it’s been revealed that government office workers have been hacking into the database to check out the profiles of people they know. With any of these big databases, it’s only a matter of time before that data is abused in some manner — no matter how carefully government officials claim that the data is only used for legitimate reasons.

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Comments on “FBI Shows Off Big Database… Just As UK Shows Why Big Databases Are Bad”

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x09 says:

Re: Re:

That’s odd; I can’t name one action the government has taken that has stripped anyone I know of their freedoms. Name one thing you are not free to do now that you were before 9/11.

Now, I can name many ways Americans are responsible for the loss of their privacy.

Credit Cards
Grocery store bonus cards
Cell Phones
Gas station speed passes

Every one of these items is connected to a huge database collecting an immense amount of data about their users. Sure, it may look as if you are saving money using the bonus card at you local grocery store and the casher is always quick to point out your total savings but what is the real cost to you. You’re PRIVACY.

Everyone need to stop bitching about how the government is stripping us of out privacy, we already lost it on our own.

Katu says:

Re: Re: Big Database

Name on thing? I’m no longer free to take a lighter on flights along with a lot of other things.

Government is just doing the job that most people want done.

By all of us agreeing to use the all the technology available we kind of agree to the intrusions into our lives because it is the only way to manage the technology.

Technology has never been the bad guy it’s the people that abuse it or use it for bad things and there will always be those people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

x09 I can name a WHOLE BUNCH when it comes to flying! Do you realize 1 month before 9/11 occured, I flew accross country with 2 separate Swiss Army knives on my keychain. 3 months after 9/11 I couldn’t enter the Airport terminal with a fingernail clipper in my carry-on. That and it took almost 2 hours to get through security alone!!!

Now I can’t even take a bottled water on the plane with me, which I’ve always traveled with!!!

I’m sorry, I’d rather take my chance with a terrorist on the plane. If I’d have been on one of the planes that went down on 9/11, I’d have either died before the plane was even close to crashing into anything, or the terrorists would have died and the plane would have landed safely. That and I’m sure this could be said about any planes today. Oh, BTW, pens and pencils are still allowed in carry on and on person, yet are as dangerous a weapon as any small knife could be, so why aren’t we worried about them?

Oh there’s more I could rant on about the loss of Liberties and Privacy from the Government, but the Lemmings who make up most of Ignorant America, yes the ones with the below average I.Q.’s, will believe everything the Government is doing is for their unneccessary protection.

They don’t even realize we have one of our biggest security breaches in the country, right along the entire Southern border of the U.S..

Slap Maxwell says:

Re: Purpose

What kind of absurdist statements are these you’re making? The issue, Bubba, *is* privacy concerns *and* technology…. Or didn’t you bother to read the article?

So let me try to grasp the other silly crap you spewed…if I post your wife or girlfriends nude pix on the internet, thereby making them public, her expectations of privacy are null and void simply becuase they’ve already been made available? That is, after all, what you said here: “Heck if the information gets out, that then it’s not private anymore and privacy is not an issue.”

To quote a great American, “What an ultra-maroon.”

jacob.wissler (user link) says:

Re: Does anyone really believe?

This can be very simple. Eliminate all women over 60 and chidren under 8. Focus on military age males and females. Forget the guy in the Brooks Brothers suit with a credit score over 750, take a hard look at people with no obvious means of legitimate income who attend radical meetings. Yes, it is their right to attend, and it is the government’s right to watch them.

A terrorist act has never been caused by someone who looks like your grandmother, so don’t make her take her shoes off at the airport.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Does anyone really believe?

From this article:

The terrorist profile is changing in Europe. Authorities no longer expect suspects to be disenchanted, alienated Muslim youths with few resources.
Now they may be college-educated men or women with jobs and apparently sound prospects for the future….

Three (out of 24) suspects for the recent liquid-explosive terrorist plot are women.

JT says:

The other reason that big databases are bad is that they are often wrong.

Even small databases that refer to personal ‘soft’ data require huge amounts of continual tidying up to correct inaccuracies, out-of-date or subsequently disproved hypotheses and need strong editorial control.

The bigger the database, the less the ‘ownership’ of the records contained. Who exerts editorial control in a national mutli-agency setting, when the provenenace and quality of the data is unsure?

Answer: No-one.

The records become at best unintelligible and at worst misleading.

You might note too this story from the UK that a tracking database for children is going to allow exclusions for the children of “celebrities” because privacy cannot be guaranteed:

hoeppner says:

some ben franklin quote or another: the one that only people who don’t deserve to be free would give up freedoms for temporary security.

hmm i wonder how much it costs to get something up and running that only people who don’t vote would want.(following the above statement and relating that non-voters give up there freedom, theres prob a strong corrolation there if you could do the math)

Overcast says:

Just like voting machines…

People need to WAKE UP.

Computers make things easier – including theft and deceit.

And the Big deal is this:

You piss some guy off on the interstate driving, he happens to have access to many government databases. So he looks up your license plate number, and then proceeds to find any information about you he wishes. Or perhaps, he’s a pedophile interested in your daughter, so he starts doing ‘social engineering’ research on you to find the times when your daughter leaves school…

The examples are limitless. The bigger the system gets the more it’s gonna get abused. Once this infrastructure’s in place, it’ll make it cakewalk for anyone with access to those databases to easily destroy your life.

People always say it’s not a big deal – If it’s not a big deal – post your social security number here… Why not? It’s not a big deal is it 😉

cJay says:

a vial piece of anti-terrorism defense

Properly design security constrains can enable this to be a vial piece of anti-terrorism defense. I would want to know that independent persons were regularly auditing the system for security and accuracy.

Security can be such that vital stats about a party (person being evaluated) can be obstructed. The trends and analysis can be done on blind parties. At the time a trend or action is questioned, then the vitals can be unobstructed.

Additionally, the general analyst can have views of the data at septic granularity. They may not be able to see a specific phone number, but may be able to see how many different phone numbers have been dialed, what countries each number is in, and how many times. I don’t think this would revile personal data, just start letting us detect trends. This would provide enough evidence to obtain warrants for legal wire taps and further screening of suspected terrorist.

How much of this data do you think is already available to the marketing department of your cellular carrier (with no oversight comities)?

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

OH NOeZ!!!

They have teh infomation!

Look people, big-brother has a database and is not afraid to use it… and that’s new to you? Dalane said it best (when he finally got the post to work 😉 ): You think this is the first database the government has? And do you think that the government is the only entity that has you on a database?

When the whole Homeland Security thing was starting up, the US government went to Microsoft to ask about setting up a large database. After giving MS the parameters that they wanted the DB to cover, MS told them “go talk to State Farm”.

I’m not kidding.

State Farm has the largest and most complex and comprehensive marketing database in the US. My point is that your information is already in databases. This is just one more for the list. Yeah, it’s probably a bit more high-profile, but denying the FBI their database is just going to remove one pebble from the pond.

Now… all of that said, I don’t agree with anyone I don’t know and/or trust having my information. Be it government or corporation. And guess how much I trust either.

The Franklin quote appears in many variations, my favorite is

“Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither”

And it’s true. Franklin would have wept if he saw the Homeland Security initiated in his time.

Go read “1984”, or watch “V for Vendetta” if you want to see where this kind of thing could lead. I won’t say that it will, but it’s a lot more possible than most people would like to admit.

Sorry this post kinda rambled from one point to another. Kinda in a rush at the moment. 🙁

John Q Public says:

all these concerns over privacy, and yet no one seems to care about the issue of terrorism.

We haven’t been attacked on our soil since 01, and overseas only where we have brought the war, yet all I see is “they’re taking away my freedom”

You have a great deal of rights when it comes to what can be brought against you and why, yet you fear being in a database you didn’t know about, but say nothing about the ones you are already in.

Pathetic — Americans have died and are dying to protect you and you bitch about losing privacy you never had.

Tyshaun says:

Re: Re:

all these concerns over privacy, and yet no one seems to care about the issue of terrorism.

We haven’t been attacked on our soil since 01, and overseas only where we have brought the war, yet all I see is “they’re taking away my freedom”

You have a great deal of rights when it comes to what can be brought against you and why, yet you fear being in a database you didn’t know about, but say nothing about the ones you are already in.

Pathetic — Americans have died and are dying to protect you and you bitch about losing privacy you never had.

John Q, it was 8 years between the first WTC attack and the second, so what bit of relavence is it that there hasn’t been an attack on our soil since 01, NONE! Does that mean that we can definatively say the government had anything to do with this, no.

All we can definatevly say is that the frequency of terrorist attacks is INCREASING as a function of time. It took 200 or so years for the first foreign terrorist attack on US soil, and only 8 for the second, you tell me does that bode well?

As per people dying for us, I hope that their deaths are to protect the freedom of privacy and all the other great things spelled out in our Constitution, not because of George Ws lie in Iraq.

“Give me liberty or give me death”
-Patrick Henry

True more than ever I would say and let’s not fall into the slippery slopes that so many other countries have of exchanging the basic ideas of a nation for a false sense of securty. Tap as many phones as you want, bomb as many third world crap-holes as you wish, in the end, if some soul hates us so much as to wish to do us harm, they will find a way to do it.

“The man who is most determined to accomplish a mission will always win. A man who is willing to give his life for a cause is a dangerous weapon”
– from the movie “The Siege”

Americans need to stop thinking that we can live in some little protective bubble and feel warm and fuzzy all the time. The rest of the world already knows this but here’s the only truth that matters, from the day we are born we are dying and vulnerable to all the evils that exist in this world.

Now, I’m not saying give up. Sure we need to fight terror, but not at the extent of giving up those things we hold most sacred. When we can no longer talk on the phone without fear that our government may be listening, is it worth the price? When we can no longer come together and protest the policies of our elected officials without being put in some database in the FBI mainframe, is that OK? When it gets to the point where almost every action we make is being documented and analyzed by our government, haven’t the terrorists already won?

Where is the acceptable line between freedom and security? The constitution said that that choice should never have to be made and freedom should be upheld at all costs.

Jazzbo says:

Re: Re:

I’m one of those people you talk about who fought to protect others and I find your comments boorish, foolish and just plain ignorant of the facts.

Each of us has every right to expect and demand privacy from our government…if you could grasp the intention and the philosophical basis upon which our government was created, you’d understand this to be true.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we as citizens should be ready, willing and able to bend over for government’s sake just to make their job “easier.” Those who advocate doing just that (bending over) are hardly real Americans….

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Not this time...

“Pathetic — Americans have died and are dying to protect you and you bitch about losing privacy you never had.”
-John Q Public

Normally I let that go, but I’m sick of this card being played. So, no: Fuck that. No one has died for our freedom since the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and WWII (after we were attacked). That was dying for freedom. What US soldiers have died for since then is the American idea of freedom. Name me one American citizen that was endangered before we got involved in the Vietnam war, or the first Iraq war, that was then safer after we went it. One.

And before you call me uninvolved or unpatriotic, or say that I don’t have the perspective of someone who knows… my brother is in Iraq right now. And I have all the respect in the world for those citizens who choose to serve in our military. Hell, I think it should be mandatory (kinda like Starship Troopers… the book, not the movie). What I don’t respect is people who thump their chest and say “look at that sacrifice for our freedom”. No. Those soldiers are over there promoting and protecting American interests (mostly oil). Not our freedom.

Anonymous Coward says:

actually it wasn’t 200 years for the first act of terrorism.

pearl harbor, the civil war, the war of 1812, the uss cole…we’ve been attacked before, why is 9/11 so big?

after the cole…phones weren’t bugged. cruse ships weren’t docked….the sale of personal watercraft wasn’t restricted…

wait…george, i’m hitler junior, w. bush wasn’t in office….


Tyshaun says:

Re: Re:

actually it wasn’t 200 years for the first act of terrorism.

pearl harbor, the civil war, the war of 1812, the uss cole…we’ve been attacked before, why is 9/11 so big?

after the cole…phones weren’t bugged. cruse ships weren’t docked….the sale of personal watercraft wasn’t restricted…

wait…george, i’m hitler junior, w. bush wasn’t in office….


I was just referring to foreign actors committing terrorists acts on US soil. Pearl Harbor and the war of 1812 fall into what I would say are more “conventional” wartime scenarios (one country attacking another), in the civil war we were fighting ourselves, and while the USS Cole was definately a terrorist attack, it didm’t happen on US soil.

I think the reason why 9/11 was so big was because it showed that a massive strike was possible on the contingous US states, which many thought was impossible. We were attacked by terrorists in the past, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon being an example, but the attacks by foreign agents on US assets never took place on US soil.

Also, 9/11 was a bit different because of the scope of the attack and the fact that multiple targets were taken out at once. 9/11 was a lot more sophisticated and deadly than some zealot with a bus full of explosives.

In many ways I wish 9/11 was more like Pearl Harbor, at least we’d have a clear enemy to fight (some other foreign country). The biggest problem with the “war on terror”, besides the civil rights implications, is the fact that we don’t have a good blueprint for fighting rogue groups. Our military is centered around taking and defeating foreign territories, most of our intelligence gathering entities still had a cold war mentality. Maybe, if nothing else, 9/11 will be a wake-up call for us to shift our nation defending assets to a model more suitable to a fast paced, rapidly evolving global landscape where the enemy can’t necessarily be tied down to a particular geography

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ummmm, the World Trade towers were attacked just a few years before, by a Truck bomb in the parking ramp below the towers. And this was done by Al Quaida. Yet, that didn’t create a big Terrorist Scare in the Country. Why? Because “Dubya, I want to bring on the Apocalypse” wasn’t in office at the time.

Oh, yeah, if you remember a few years back, an ex-aide to Dubya did state that the president thinks he will be the one to bring on the appocalypse and the “Next Comming”

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Oh, yeah, if you remember a few years back, an ex-aide to Dubya did state that the president thinks he will be the one to bring on the appocalypse and the ‘Next Comming'”
-Anonymous Coward

Interesting quote, but do you have anything to back it up. Not defending Texas’ biggest idiot, but I’d like some proof that the leader of our country considers himself to tbe the anti-christ.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There you go jackass, compare our president to Hitler. I didn’t realize we were gassing innocent people in camps around the country because they don’t have blonde hair. I guess I need to get out more.

Perhaps if the previous president didn’t have his fingers inside interns he could have done something about the terrorists. Instead the previous administration took minimal steps and instituted a wait and see mentality. We waited and we saw what happened.

Benvolio says:


I bow to the majority. I read this article and viewed the point of it being a technical issue, not a privacy one. I took the connotation of “privacy” to refer to database security, not the content. Database security is not something that is an issue just for information about people. There are databases that have information about payrolls, secure locations, FBI agents and on and on.

If you are reading “privacy” as someone’s personal information, so be it. You have every right to interpret it that way. We have the right to disagree in the US.

I can completely agree that marketing companies may have more information about us that the government.

Being a government contractor, Dimiano I LOVE your comment! I am cleaning up some code and it’s scary.

Brad Eleven (profile) says:

Future Shock

Alvin Toffler predicted this back in the Seventies. For a less-boring read, look at “Shockwave Rider”, a novel based on what Toffler saw.

In short, the prediction was that the world would be online, with the information available to all. The power would flow to those who could best search this information.

So we’re getting there: the information isn’t public yet, but it may as well be, since commercial data collectors refuse to encrypt their data (and obviously can’t secure it), and government data collectors refuse to do anything reasonable, e.g., they don’t even address physical security (laptops taken offsite).

What’s amazing about Toffler’s work is that he grokked phone phreaking, e.g., his research was too early for the advent of personal computing.

“Okay, we’ll all need new identities. I need a touch-tone phone and 45 minutes of privacy.” ~John Brunner, SR

Board@Lunch says:

Privacy & big Databases

Fact: If you have a credit card, own a home, pay bills, buy online…any number of things where your name and soc # are required, your data is collected in tons of databases. The chances that those databases are less safe than the goverments is very high.

Will this governement database make us safer? Could be. Will it be abused? Absolutly, humans are involved.

But really, the big issue is how do YOU put forth your information into the world of bytes and bits? Do you create a wake of credit orders? Are they secure systems? Is your state’s RMV safe? Your supermarket where you pay with your debit card? Those systems pose a much larger danger of abuse than one big database with a limited number of straws into it.

In the end, your privacy is becomming more and more up to you. If you cut down your wake of personal information, then you’re safer. Is that a pain in the *ss to implament. Sure is….fact.

Now dob the tears folks and get on with your life…greenhouse gasses are going to get you first anyway. 🙂

txjump says:

oh my goodness

if you are really complaining about not having your finger nail clippers on the plane or a bottle of water (especially when drinks are served!) then you are seriously spoiled.

I understand the nuance is that your “freedom” to carry a little piece of metal wherever you want has been *gasp* violated. But seriously, is a finger nail clipper all that big of a deal? You can’t take glass bottles into a stadium or near a public pool. You can’t take your own food or drinks into a movie theater but ya don’t complain about either of those.

My guess is that when you order a burger without tomatoes and it has a tomato on it, you send it back and complain. Life is more important than these little rules. Be grateful you aren’t mutilated for speaking against a government party. Be grateful you have the right to make money and even fly. Be grateful you have a choice about how you raise your children or that you can pick your religion.

Pick the tomatoes off the burger of life and get on with enjoying it.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: oh my goodness

And when all of your little liberties are gone, you’re going to look back and say “where did it all go”. And then you’re going to remember saying “oh, it’s a little thing. It’s ok.”

So… let’s get started debunking your points…

You can’t take glass bottles into a stadium or near a public pool. You can’t take your own food or drinks into a movie theater but ya don’t complain about either of those.

Glass bottles at public stadiums and pools is for public safety. Not to stop people from hijacking a floaty with a broken bottle.

And the food and drink in a movie theater. That’s not a law. That’s a theater policy so they can charge you for their food. And actually, I do complain about that. Not that I’m not “free to do it”, but because I hate paying $5 for a handful of crappy popcorn. So, I don’t buy it.

My guess is that when you order a burger without tomatoes and it has a tomato on it, you send it back and complain.

What the hell are you talking about? I’m saying I’m being told that I can’t bring innocent pieces of convenience with me, and you’re talking about condiments?

To steer your statements back to where you probably meantfor them to go…

The government isn’t passing laws that say I have to have tomatoes on my burgers. If they were, then yes, I’d bitch about that too.

Seriously man, you’re way off base. And I am grateful for all the things you said and more… I’m just not going to accept them as a consolation prize for giving away all of my little liberties until I wake up one day and find I have none left. Sorry.

Anonymous Coward says:

to #39, yeah.. served drinks on a plane. 4 ounces and if you want more, it’s like 5 bucks a pop. i ain’t gonna pay that.

no glass bottles in stadiums…fine. we take plastic bottles. no drinks/food in a theater? baggy pants…and there, they don’t strip search us and give us the anal probe.

to #30, if you think the USS cole isn’t us soil, i say go attack it. or tell the soldiers on board that. see what they say. and if tim mcveigh is a terrorist for blowing up the oklahoma fedeeral bulilding, the civil war was an act of terrorism. what’s the difference between a country and a religious group attacking. sometimes the lines can’t be compared. a country is a religious gropu, and vice versa.

so, by do this, we say osama won. he got us. HE GOT US. we are scared to fly, scared to travel, scared to talk to really tanned people…..

come on. he won. anything else is just wrong.

mroonie (user link) says:

Bigger database....more protection

WHY is the FBI informing the public about this huge database? It’s like they’re asking for someone to come and hack into it……

I mean, if they couldn’t even figure out how to get their new fancy shmancy computer system to work, I doubt they would know how to go about protecting their data. They’re just creating more work for themselves because not only are larger databases harder to update and manage, but more importantly run the risk of losing ALL their information, ALL at once.

I hope they’re using several different forms of protection. I’m sure that with such a complex computer system, it’s be hard to tell what it is and isn’t doing…..

txjump says:


you never have to pay for water, soda, oj, tea, coffee. you gonna tell me you can’t last a flight without alcohol?

you must be going to a really special airport where they strip you and do an anal probe…or maybe you are wishing they would do that to you. and no, they dont search you when you go into a movie theater but nobody tried to fly a movie theater into the wtc.

A country is not a religion and a religion is not a country. A country can however foster one or more religions.

and speak for yourself, you might be afraid to fly, travel or speak to dark skin people. But I am not, and neither are most Americans.

Anonymous Coward says:

to #50

that’s funny. then why do airlines give you half a glass of anything? and there’s no way i’m going to pay 10 bucks for a beer.

well, with security these days, it’s pretty damn near close to full strip search. obviously you have no logical reasoning. hyperbole. over exaggeration.

and no, noone has tried to fly a theater into a building, however if they were able, i’d be pretty damn impressed.

remember also, a religion can foster one or more countries. think….puritans and the good ol USofA.

i don’t like flying, not coz of osama, but because of other phobias. if osama’s gonna get me, he is. be it by a car, truck, on the DC metro, or a new york ferry.

i wasn’t speaking for any single person, i was speaking for the goveernment/country. because if everyone wasn’t afraid to fly, we wouldn’t need these security measures. remember, in a republic, we ask other people to make decisions for us. we elected these people, and hell re re-elected the same ones, or new ones asking them for this. if we aren’t scared to fly, let’s get rid of all the TSA and FAA regulations. see how many people would fly.

txjump says:

Re: to #50

if you decide to go to a high price restaurant with friends, you decide to limit your intake of beer due to the high cost. how is that any different than an airline?

i have logical reasoning, i don’t find a hyperbole usefull in making a point since in and of themselves they do not represent fact.

good ole US of A was started by puritans who were persecuted for being so. thus they agreed that freedom of choice was important and why you can have catholic church sitting three blocks from a baptist church sitting three blocks from a hindu church etc…

didn’t say you were speaking for a single person, i said you should have been speaking for a single person, yourself. don’t speak for a country of people when clearly statistics are not on your side.

in implementing the TSA and FAA the government was trying to do it’s duty to protect it’s people. im not saying it was a perfect solution but if they did nothing then people would have screamed that they did nothing. worst case, they error on the side of safety.

as was mentioned earlier, the last administration took a wait and see approach and we didnt like it. so the next administration took some action and we complain that they took action.

Chris says:

To the idiot who posted #45

Clinton if you hadn’t noticed actualy did a great deal of things for the country. Like oh give us the biggest surplus we’ve had in a great while. Then Bush went and made it the largest ever. Bush Sr. was the one who told our generals not to go in and take sadaam out of power when we easily could’ve and actualy had the support of Iraqi people during the Desert conflict. Bush Sr. was the one who initianted the IRAN CONTRA scandal. The US Govt is the one who put Bin Laden into power, and if he’s clever enough to take a handout to get even with the biggest raper of other nations then props to him.

I’m not advocating the slaughtering of innocent people, or attacking civil institutions to get back at a government, but seeing as the United States has caused more harm to the rest of the world through it’s “imperialistic” greed-mongering agenda it was only a matter of time before someone lashed out against it. If you think the WTC was the last attack we’ll see on this country you’re poorly mistaken.

Sly Bald Guy (user link) says:


These types of databases, or access to data has been around for several years now. There’s a program called Non-Obcious Relationship Association (N.O.R.A.) that was developed in the late 90’s by Systems Research Development to help catch casino cheats. It did this by scanning 15 billion public and private records (credit card transactions, utility bills, etc) to find relationships that wouldn’t be obvious to the average human. After 9/11 they saw a market to apply this towards terrorism and actually tested it against the 9/11 terrorists. If I remember correctly, it identified all but one of them.

The company has now sold to IBM, who is notorious for helping the government with data mining projects.

John doe says:

you’re all full of shit…Just take a big enema and be done with it..The govt.is gonna do what it’s gonna do ,and you cannot do anything about it ,so quit your bitchin’ and deal with it ,or just drop out of the system change your name your s/s #,become an expaitriate ,maybe leave the country ,find an Island ,the (the govt.) won’t bomb ,(good luck) and shut the fuck up………

txjump says:

to #60

wow..tell thousands of families that were ruined that it was a simple terrorist act.

if you have a point to make, fine. but dont belittle the tragic loss of so many lives and families.

which would you rather have lost, your precious nail clipper, a bottle of water, and an hour of your time when flying or your daughter, your spouse, your mother, your father…for a lifetime?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: to #60

txjump I’d rather have my freedoms and take a chance of losing my loved ones or my own life. I don’t fear that would ever happen, but I do fear what will become of this country for my kids and maybe someday grand-kids, if we continue to let the government take away small rights from us.

Which yes, is a bottle of water today, a fingernail clipper yesterday, and who knows what it will be tomorrow. I fear that more than anything a terrorist would do. I’d still have a better chance of winning the Powerball Lottery 10 times in my life, than being killed by a terrorist, even if we had the safety and security of pre- 9/11 standards.

Anonymous Coward says:

simple, i don’t go to high price restaurants or bars. but when did i ever metnion i only consume alcohol? nice ASSumption pal.

just because you don’t find hyperbole useful doens’t mean it isn’t useful.

yes, the usa was started by puritans who were persucuted for being so, yeah..so their religion founded a country. and england founded the church of england. as for the churches, why do some of them get burned and others dont? anyway…

what statistics arne’t on my side? sure you didn’t offer any counter point, so until you prove me wrong, you can go suck a W dog…

so, the gov’t is damnd if they do and damned if they don’t? shitty situation in my book. i’d rather have my freedom to say kill and blow up on the phone and now worry about anything. yeah…killed the boss in the latest game, or blow up a picture for a wedding poster. remember carnivore? searching for KEY words…not context. so if there’s an automated program and hears “kill” or “blow up” damn….i’m in trouble.

the last administration waited, and what…nothing happened. after they were out of office….THEN it hit. bush had 9 months to prepare for that day…did he? nope. wait and see…

txjump says:

Re: Re:

someone said something about the price of alcohol on a plane as if the only thing to drink was something that had to be paid for.

and no, a hyperbole is not useful when debating because it only discounts your own argument.

tell me what percentage of people permanently stopped flying after 9/11? you didnt use statistics to show that people are scared of flying. but here you go:




Americans as a whole did not go after dark skinned people in hate crimes against them. There were very few incidences of hate crimes against them even shortly after 9/11. and i would presume they were by uneducated idots who fail to understand racism.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: #37

OK… set me strait, Texan. Oh wait.. you can’t.

“President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard.”

“On November 8, 1994, President Bush was elected Governor of Texas. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive 4-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998.”


So let’s see… raised in Texas, served in the Texas ANG, and was the GOVERNOR OF TEXAS TWICE. Yup. Sounds like a Texan to me.

Hey, we Floridan’s know that Jack Thompson wasn’t born here. But we shamefuly bear his presense anyway. Nice try tho.

txjump says:


so atttempting to prevent a hijacking is not public safety?

youre right, the food issue in a movie theater isn’t a law. but it is a rule and most people dont like it but they dont complain about how terrible it is. probably the majority of people do follow the rule.

my example about the hamburger is to say that you would complain about the slightest thing and let it affect your enjoyment of the experience. the inconvenience of not having things exactly your way …

i would hardly consider the freedoms i enjoy as an American a consolation prize. i would however consider trading some small conveniences for a gamble at a bit of precautionary measures.

the TSA isnt taking away your convenience items because they dont think you deserve them. and turning the lack of nail clippers (which can be taken if you check them) and a bottle of water (which can be replaced with a cup of water from the flight attendant) into a liberty seems a bit extreme.

what you have said is that your freedoms of speach, religion, and pursuit of financial freedom are consolation prizes and your little inconveniences for a gamble towards public safety are liberty violations. is that another hyperbole?

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: 70

No I don’t think it’s hyperbole. It’s an example. Yes, the ability to scrape some dirt out from under my fingernails is a trivial thing. It’s certainly trivial compared to the lives of people on that plane.

But it’s still a liberty that’s being denied to us. For whatever reason. And it’s the reason that’s causing me to stand up for my right to a small sliver of metal.

I don’t believe in baby-with-the-bathwater tactics. There is no need to resort to such all-encompassing extremes to ensure the safety of citizens. Do steps need to be made to stop people from hijacking a plane? Sure. Do those attempts need to address every single possibility to the point that you may as well be strapped into a strait-jacket before takeoff “just in case”? No. And while we’re not there yet, it really wouldn’t surprise me.

Everything in life is a risk. And while it should be the government’s job to help us manage those risks, laws should not be made to prevent the ability to commit these kinds of crimes at the expense of law-abiding citizens. The law should be there to tell you that it’s wrong and what happens if you do it. It’s up to social conscience to dissuade crime. Otherwise, you’re giving up your liberties, one nail file at a time. To quote a movie on the subject: “He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.”

No, I’m not saying that my freedoms are consolation prizes. What I’m saying is that I won’t let them become that. And if we give up the little things now, how long until the larger freedoms are taken away “for our safety”?

And, again, it’s not the little sliver of metal that I’m talking about. It’s being told that I cannot carry one with me. Which, yes is a liberty. Chains are chains, no matter their size.

txjump says:

Re: Re: 70

awesome point. and thats the kind of point that should be made in this debate. its very eloquent.

i never said that i belive that the tsa is accomplishing much by taking away a nail file or a bottle of water. or that we dont have the right to do something about it. but i do think at this point they are in search of a solution and until we find one, we are going to have to muddle through this. we have to have some patience and understanding that nobody has the answer and that complaining for the sake of inconvenience isnt helping.

the complaints most people make are from the point of “i can’t do things my way” or “I’M being inconvenienced”. not as a complaint for the overall process to be hashed out.

and the other thing that bothers me about these complaints is that plenty of establishments have rules about what you can and cant do. not many people complain about them, they accept them. but when it comes to the government making a similar rule, people are terribly inconvenienced.

The law should be there to tell you that it’s wrong and what happens if you do it. It’s up to social conscience to dissuade crime.

This is very true, and it works on most of the population. The problem here is that we are dealing with people who are willing to kill themselves in the process of breaking those laws. So how do you use punishment to dissuade them?

And yes, if we continue to give up the little things until we have no more little things to give up, what’s next? My guess is that if the laws truly beging to to affect our ability to fly, we won’t fly as much and airlines will rally against the legislation because they dont want to see their revenue drop.

Everyone is trying to walk a fine line right now. If the government or the airlines is percieved to not be doing enough to promote safety people will be mad and terrorists will think its free gratis. Then when something happens people will say “ya shoulda been proactive”.

yet if either of the two sinch down too hard everyone will be yelling that they have lost their freedom to fly because it takes 10 hours to get through security.

so am i willing to let them take small measures to find that balance? yes. am i willing to let them do a real strip search or confinscate my luggage for a day? no but neither are the airlines, who will lobby against such measures. and hopefully we will vote out the yahoo who even suggests legislating such measures.

Gabriel Tane says:

Re: Re: Re: 70

Thank you for the complement. I think this is the second time I’ve seen actual discourse on this website. I had to read it twice to make sure you weren’t just being sarcastic.

“so am i willing to let them take small measures to find that balance? yes. am i willing to let them do a real strip search or confiscate my luggage for a day? no but neither are the airlines, who will lobby against such measures. and hopefully we will vote out the yahoo who even suggests legislating such measures.”

I think we’re both going in the same directions, just taking different routes. Yes, I agree that some of the small allowances need to be made to help smooth things along… as long as we the people maintain our diligence. If one day there are no more people like you and I and some of the others around here… that is the day I fear. Then, there would be no one to question and no one to give the alternate perspectives. If we allow our liberty to be taken, then we truly have only ourselves to blame.

Feels good to do a publc service. 🙂

“This is very true, and it works on most of the population. The problem here is that we are dealing with people who are willing to kill themselves in the process of breaking those laws. So how do you use punishment to dissuade them?”

I’ll be honest. I don’t have a “fair” or “just” solution to that question. If we allow such extreme actions to goad us into extreme reactions, in which we lose ourselves, then they win. My first reaction is to answer such actions with an iron-fisted response. To send out a message that such attacks will not go without severe punishment.

But I know that’s not right.

I also know that we cannot just turn the other cheek. Weakness just seems to encourage these fanatics.

It’s an even sharper razors edge that we currently walk, which risks a much deeper cut.

I may sound like a “down with the government” man, but you’re right in that they are doing about the best job they can. I think they are taking it too far with the “no fingernail file”-type rules, but again, that’s my dislike for baby-with-the-bathwater tactics.

“If the government or the airlines is perceived to not be doing enough to promote safety people will be mad and terrorists will think its free gratis.”

That’s a problem that lies with people at-large. Americans (in general here) need to stop expecting everyone and everything else out there to protect them from every little stubbed toe. Yes, the airlines need to safeguard us while we’re on their planes. Yes the government should do what it can to defend us from attacks. But we need to stop blaming them when a crafty sonnovabitch finds a way around it that no one saw coming. Hell, I still can’t believe a small group of people took over planes with box cutters.

There comes a point where we all should say “Yes, that was horrible, tragic, and evil. I wish the government could have done more, but (and here’s the important part) they did the best they could. Now, lets go take care of the bastards that did this.”

You see a so-called underdeveloped nation that are always fighting someone. If they are attacked, they strike back. They don’t rail at their governments to crack down on the laws to prevent this from happening.

Hell, we’re the most powerful country in the world… and no one fears our reprisal. Ever wonder why? I’m not saying we should rule this world with fear, but we sure as hell should be respected. Unfortunately, we stopped showing that we deserved that respect long ago.

Now, if the government could have done more, then yes, call them out for it. But we need to stop the knee-jerk reactionism and stop blaming everyone else for not doing everything under the sun to keep us safe. As I said before, all life is a risk.

So… my closing point: we need to accept the risks of life, work with the government to help protect us while maintaining our diligence over our liberty.

If we go crying to big brother “oh protect us! save us!”, then all we do is show how terrorized we can be. If we stand back up, let the government help us dust ourselves off (after helping soften the blow), square our shoulders, and keep living our lives… we win. We win the right to say “not only are we stronger than you, we’re better than you.”

Geekoid says:

I hate it when...

…writers use the word “Hack” for anything to do with a computer. Just because the information was compromised, does not mean it was “hacked”. I’ve read more about this recently, and it turns out all 5 of the people were employees and obtained the information through “social” means. In other words “hey, can you get me some information on so-and-so?”. NO HACKING!

Anonymous Coward says:

if i ordered a burger w/o tomatoe and got one with, i’d send it back. just the same as if i ordered no mayo and had mayo on the sandwich. i woudl let it ruin my expierence. why? i the product which i specked out wasn’t fullfilled, therefore i have the right to as for a replacement.

i’m sure that if you ordered a computer with 1 gig of ram and ended up with 128mb you’d send it back? or would you say the hell with it, i won’t let the small ammount of ram ruin my expierence playing oblivion?

txjump says:

Re: Re:

thats kinda the point. pick the tomatoes off and move on. i didnt say you didnt have the right to ask for a correction. but you could make the best of it instead of an ordeal of it.

and my point in using the burger example was that it was a short term experience with an simple work around.

a computer is a long term purchase that you will have to deal with for a very long time and an insufficient amount of ram prevents you from accomplishing the task.

being mildly inconvenienced by having to pick off the tomatoes doesnt have to prevent you from enjoying the experience. being mildly inconvenienced for a few hours does not prevent you from accomplishing the task of getting from point a to point b.

Anonymous Coward says:

If GWB is as stupid as the liberals say, then how the fuck can he be a threat to any of you?

Lets review, Carnavore began under Clinton, CALEA was under Clinton, so all this privacy bullshit is GWB’s fault? Come on, think about it you tards.

Google has a pretty big ass database, yet you see them as no evil (oh, lets forget China)

You think its dangerous for the FBI to have a huge database? Why would you think that? A contractor had to hack into it just to add a printer access, you think they can actually do anything with it? Hell, for $50, you can buy any data out there anyway.

kantankerus says:

ever hear of NCIC ??

way bak in the days…lol..the 1980’s, i worked at a police dept…i was the TAG person [Terminal Agency Co-Ordinator] and Keeper Of The Records. Wanna talk about huge gov’t databases ??? we’ve had ’em for years, way before the internet even. Thse databases arent anywhere near the internet, nor will you find someone taking the things home on their laptop. and i am very doubtful a script kiddie can topple or break into them. we have had lard gov’t for many years and they are apparently secure. you have to be connected by a private, dedicated wire.

txjump says:


i never said you had to choose between carrying a nail clipper and losing your loved one. if it came down to that though, im glad im not your loved one.

but i did say that its a over the top to compare carrying a nail clipper to practicing your own religion or choosing your lifestyle.

actually i do believe that where theres a will theres a way. and they have proven that they have a will to hurt us. so they will always try to find a way, regardless of the pre-flight straight jacket measures or if we all had to sit naked on steal benches.

if tsa trys to put me in a straight jacket or whatever extreme precautionary measure…no. but if tsa thinks they can help improve the situation with a simple nail clipper removal…i will let em try.

txjump says:


Hehehe…sometimes ya make an intelligent argument and your debater starts flaming you instead of discussing the point. thats my oh so favorite. or they correct your stupid punctuation and grammar. gesh.

I think we are in agreement on the big picture. Because I do believe that the government cant legislate against these people. And as I mentioned before, I don’t really think that the nail clipper/file is thing is a big help. But we never know how much scheming the terrorist have had to do because of it. they know that at this moment they have to come up with something else (ie shoes laces and bottles of goop).

just to offer an alternate view, is it not also throwing out the baby with the bath water to not take any precautionary measures? to heck with even the slightest safety measures because they violate my right to have my nail file. and that was why i was saying we have to work towards a balance. we have to find the least invasive measures that return the most reward.

once the laws of diminishing returns sets in, we have exceeded the balance between safety and convenience.

i decided a long time ago that i was more libertarian than any thing else. which is someone who advocates maximizing individual rights and reduces the role of the state. however, that does not mean i wont abide by the rules. if i dont like them, i have to do something about them instead of complaining.

thats where i get pissy. people just want to rant about how terrible things are but when was the last time they voted in a state election? state elections are the foundations for many of the career politicians that we ultimately have to choose from at the federal level.

There comes a point where we all should say “Yes, that was horrible, tragic, and evil. I wish the government could have done more, but (and here’s the important part) they did the best they could. Now, lets go take care of the bastards that did this.”


Thanks for the constructive debate. 😉

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