Okay, can we please agree to stop them from doing this crap?
There is nothing about a plan like this that makes any of us safer…
While Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff calls it "an essential security measure," worries arise about a looming privacy threat in the new agreement between the United States and the European Union, effective August 1, 2007, that allows the United States to keep extensive profiles of inbound airline passengers.
In addition to data such as name, address, flight itineraries, and credit card information, the United States will now database more intimate details about passengers as provided by airlines, such as race, political opinions, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation.
Personal data received, even on people not under suspicion, is to be kept on file for fifteen years and only used "when lives are at risk," such as during a terror investigation.
"We’re going to be able to connect the dots more quickly," says Russell Knocke of the US Department of Homeland Security, "and we’re going to be able to provide our front line personnel with a powerful tool that really can help to save lives."
This is a complete and utter crock of horseshit.
First, let’s talk about a basic truism about bureaucracy, and that is, the more information they have, that more difficult it is to sort through. The dumbest thing security people do is screen every single passenger or potential passenger, and try to guess what they may or may not do at any given time. That approach has never worked, because the potential criminal/terrorist has a major advantage over the rest of us; he knows what he’s going to do, and he knows we’re looking for him. Therefore, it defies logic to think that, by setting up more and more elaborate databases, the terrorist will be caught. he won’t; he’ll just make sure that nothing he does sticks out in any way.
I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I’m not worrying about flying with a terrorist, as long as said terrorist isn’t carrying a bomb, or the means to harm us. Therefore, isn’t THAT what we should be concentrating on in the first place? Screening for THINGS that could be used to kill people on planes is far more effective than trying to figure out which person might do something. Why aren’t airports populated with bomb-sniffing dogs, and explosive detection equipment, instead of wasting time and resources looking at watch lists and trying to match up names and other information?
I’ll tell you why…
It’s because, for years now, governments have been searching for ways to gather all of this sort of information about people, and now they have a pretext for doing so; a fearful public, scared to death of the terrorist bogeyman. Seriously; there is no reason in the world why knowing someone’s political affiliation or sexual preference would flag them as a terrorist, so what is that information really used for?
Gee, i don’t know… secret prisons, an executive order setting it up so that the president himself can decide that you’re a terrorist and take everything you own, and a proven penchant for taking down political enemies, like those CIA agents whose husbands call you out on one of your lies? Why would they want such information?
We have to stop this crap, people. Watch lists can’t work; screening works. And governments with too much information about their citizens are flat dangerous.