Homeland Security Privacy Blunder Highlights Trouble With Big Databases

from the and-there-it-is-again dept

Just yesterday, we wrote about law enforcement’s obsession with putting together big databases, and how such things are almost guaranteed to be a problem, when someone either misuses it to get information they shouldn’t be looking at, or when someone else hacks into it. There’s also the third possibility, which is that the government agency managing the database could screw up and share it with people who aren’t supposed to see the data. Apparently, that’s exactly what happened, as the Department of Homeland Security is now admitting it goofed up in sharing information from the Secure Flight database with the Transportation Security Agency — something that they explicitly promised not to do when they set up the program. These types of mistakes appear to be fairly common. In almost every case, it seems to be a situation where whoever is designing or managing the system just doesn’t have incentives in place to actually make sure the data is secure and follows the rules that were agreed upon. It’s only a matter of time until similar problems are found with other big database efforts.

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Comments on “Homeland Security Privacy Blunder Highlights Trouble With Big Databases”

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katphish says:

the threat of terror has historicly been rooted with controlers of wealth. Since roman times the “money changers” have struggled to maintain their exclusive control of the issuance of our money.

They are the people who profit from war and terror, and they are the people responsible for this one world government and data collection. Our fear of each other helps these people maintain thier control over us.

The only reason there have been no terror attacks as of late, is because we have givin them everything they have asked for. When they need more control or they sence we are starting to wake up to the nightmare, they will scare us into submition again with anouther fake “terrorist attack”.


Joe Patriot says:

You trust the Government?

With everyone in Washington talking out of both sides of their mouth, is this any wonder? Now I’m sure it was just an honest mistake…

Terror… I’m more terrified by my government and its agents than by any Muslims.

The time will come when things will change. But, its probably going to get worse before it gets better.

oceanstarz says:

we are so toast

The very nature of databases on computer networks means that these ‘mistakes’ will not go away anytime soon. Once data has been exchanged the event is a done deal.

Before 911, the very notion of ‘consumer’ commercial databases being merged with government databases was considered to be a bad thing all around. The idea that these ‘mistakes’ are in fact ‘errors’ is absurd. These moves have been calculated and built on the understanding that most Americans don’t have a clue.

These agencies know exactly what they are doing, and after a few more ‘ like mistakes’ like these, there will be no reason to go to Congress, or whomever it is within the beltway to get approval, for there will been no more need. The data-merge will have been accomplished with very few ‘citizens’ understanding that their civil liberties have further been degraded in the name of the ‘war on terror’.

These events are irreversible and permanent. We are so toast.

charlie potatoes (profile) says:


the words ‘mistake’ and ‘goofup’ appear in this story.. that implies it was not intentional… a rather naive concept…
mistake is when you turn the wrong way down a one way street, perhaps..
goofup is when you mistake the sugar for salt in a cake recipe.
This cries for someone to fall on his sword… Where is accountability? why don’t we demand it? why do we let bush rule by decree? jeeze im ranting again… where is my brain? sorry.

oceanstarz says:

"Phooey, I Burned the Damned Muffins"

Mr. Potatoes,

You are not ranting here, unless by ranting you are referring to speaking an uncomfortable truth.

Phooey, I Burned the Damned Muffins, is a ‘mistake’, “So sorry, I put a pencil in your eye” is what we are talking about here.

There is a scene in the movie “12 Monkeys” where Brad Pitt is talking to Bruce Willis while they are both in Bellevue Insane Asylum where he refers to “Secretaries of Secretaries and other assorted Minions” talking about his fathers business, and I think that is precisely what we are talking about here. Shadowy bureaucrats behind the scenes and firewalls with all the good intentions to save America and it’s children from ‘terrorists’, all the while facilitating a lock-down on what little rights we have that are left. As they have said “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” and we are barrelling down that road at breakneck speed with nary a chance of surviving with our civil liberties intact.

Call it what you will, but the Bill of Rights at this point is being used as toilet paper to wipe the ass of various controlling corporate entities as we, the American people stare like “dumbfounded dip-shits” at the brightly lit advertising pasted on the high canyon walls of the corporate archologies.

Our God will not save us, nor will the Secretaries of Secretaries and other assorted Minions”

The only thing that will save us are our pipsqueak ‘rants’, that and perhaps creating our own political lobbying corporations to feed money to the corrupt politicians of this great land so perhaps we can ‘buy’ our own seat at the table of the feeding trough called Washington DC.

Ther, I have gone and spoke the truth.

*waitng for the sound of jackboots to arrive*

Gearld Castellucci says:

Not a Mistake!

No mistake was made her. These folks knew whet they were doiing. I work in a govenrment program, and I have to get permission to go to the toile from highter ups, who themselves get permission from higher ups. Once the govenrment gets data like this, they will use it any way they please, and if caught, say they are sorry. The axium is that it is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to get permission. No matter what happends bureaucrats almost never go to jail. Especially not the top bureascrats.

OceanStarz says:

Say It Ain't So !

Well Sanguine Dream,

You said a mouthful as well as summing it up in a nutshell.

The agenda has been laid bare after 5 years of professional obfuscation by our Royal Executive Branch of Government, and let me tell ya, it ain’t about capturing Bin Laden.

Hmm, what could that agenda be ? Might it have something to do with a little read and mighty large document called “The Patriot Act’, a true oxymoron in every sense of the word.

Since the topic on this page is Gov. Databases, as in the new brilliantly labeled OneDOJ, lets talk about a phenomenon that occurs on a regular basis in the various individual states of this republic of ours called ‘selective enforcement’ of the law, to wit;

How is ‘The Law’ enforced, on what basis, by whom and more importantly ‘on whom’ ? Who has access to the keys of this and other aggregate data bases and what kind of filters are being used to determine culpability of ‘said’ ‘acts of terror’, both premeditated and actual.

There lies the kink of it my fellow commentors. Little known aspects of the Patriot Act only hint at the nuts and bolts of the true future patterns of prosecution called ‘The Bank Secrecy Act’ or BSA for short. In the BSA are the true tools for ‘Anti Terrorism’ prosecution, which gets at the heart of the matter. Money, Wire Transfers and the very big word of this decade ‘Money Laundering’.

If any one is bothering to pay attention, law enforcement in this Republic of ours is proceeding to utilize the tools of the Patriot Act and corresponding Bank Secrecy Act in new and vibrantly creative ways to prosecute all sorts of crimes, both national as well as international, incorporating the secret laws of the BSA.

While you might say, “Well, hell, that’s the way to after those gosh darn terrorists,” the fact of the matter is that our most sacred and basic freedoms of the bill of rights point to the original Entrepreneurial roots of our founding fathers. The freedom to conduct business without having the door kicked down in the middle of the night and all our hard earned lucre being taken by the Government. Yet this is what the BSA laws are set up to do.

Check it out next time you open a bank account or try to wire cash to a family member stranded in a distant land. Gee, why are you making a copy of my passport or drivers licence ?

These laws are now part of the secret web ready to ensnare the unaware and unprepared. When asking simple questions to the wrong people (ie your local bank officer) about what is legal, you could end up on a world of merde, without even knowing it.

The rich and powerful have access to this information through attorneys and financial advisers, and their ‘patterns’ are set. However, a brief query in Google will reveal that many crimes being prosecuted in this country involving financial transactions in which money is being generated through web based transaction are having the tag of ‘money laundering’ attached by prosecutors using the secret laws of the BSA and the Patriot Act to increase mandatory prison time.

No where to run, no where to hide. The tag of our illustrious and fabulously free future. Yikes !

Whirler says:

Go Get 'em

Society is as smart as the most intellectually challenged; Software is only as smart as the programmer; Humanity is destined to make mistakes and history will repeat itself.

System Administrators & Their Agencies need to be held responsible. Are they? No. That’s ultimately the issue here. “Where is the incentive” to not screw up?

There will always be abuse no matter the technology or whatever its use.

The Department of Homeland Security said that they wouldn’t share this information with the Transportation Security Agency when they setup this program. They screwed up and should be held responsible. Bust their ass like they just stole some old lady’s purse waiting at a bus stop. Go Get ’em

bshock says:

Giant databases are a tasteless joke

I suppose it’s useless to wonder whether the U.S. government is criminal or merely criminally incompetent, but I still do so. Gathering more information for the giant databases is pointless for the stated purpose of tracking terrorists. Statistically speaking, the massive errors in this practice will cause far more damage to the public than the few successes will cause for terrorists.

Or to paraphrase Bruce Schneier (if only because I can’t find the exact wording of the quote), “When you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack, it doesn’t help to add more hay.”

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