Sunday, September 27, 2009

FBI Data Mining

No real surprise I suppose, but Wired reports on how the FBI has managed to accumulate a wealth of information on US civilians covering everything from surfing habits, credit card payments and flight details. Under the guise of an anti-terrorist database, the system is being increasingly used for civil cases. Yet another example of using fear to pass through surveillance laws. I have to laugh at the people who say they have nothing to hide. Don´t forget that that information could be passed on to other non-goverment enterprises, used for insurance claims or credit evaluation, let alone what would happen if the information was incorrect or stolen or the authorities come knocking on your door because of a false positive thrown up by the database.
The British government have plenty of examples of losing electronically stored personal details. Not only that but the national DNA database has not led to a significant reduction in crime. The US and Japan already have my mug shot and fingerprints in a database somewhere just because I visited their countries and I never did anything wrong. Similarly the Dutch are putting in a system in which fingerprint information will be stored on all new passport applications, even though such a system has not been proven to be completely accurate or resistant to fraud. The days of Big Brother come ever closer to reality.