Spurred by an article in the SF Weekly, John Gilmore calls for us to demonstrate how the government’s proposed “Total Information Awareness” program might work by collecting information on the project’s leader, convicted felon John Poindexter. He writes (portions omitted):

It would be good to have an early public demonstration of just how bad life could become for such targeted citizens. Public records can be manually searched and then posted to the net by people who happen to be looking there for something else. Photographs and videos of the target, their house, car, family, and associates, can be made and circulated to demonstrate facial recognition techniques.

Employees could demonstrate denial of service to such targeted people. “You’ve been ‘randomly’ selected as a security risk, I’ll have to insist that [some degrading thing happen to you]”. Or merely, “I can’t seem to get this credit card to work, sir, and those twenties certainly look counterfeit to me.”

People who associated closely with such a targeted individual, such as their families, relatives, friends, neighbors, protective secret service agents, and business associates, might find themselves swept up in the information dragnet. Such a demonstration would graphically reveal the societal dangers of deploying such systems on a wide scale against a large number of citizens — preferably early enough that such a deployment could be prevented, rather than reversed after major harm was caused.

Even if some of the information is incorrect, [it] would highlight the damaging effects.

All in all I think such a demonstration would be highly educational, as well as newsworthy and entertaining.

John M. and Linda Poindexter live at 10 Barrington Fare, Rockville, MD, 20850 and their phone number is +1 301 424 6613. When I called, it was busy.

posted December 02, 2002 11:02 PM (Politics) #


Stirling Engine introduced on 60 Minutes, Segway on Amazon.com
cupcake controls a prior restraint?
photographic beauty
bandwidth and open spectrum
the rss rebellion
Total Information Awareness Demo
Creative Commons Launch!
the next eldred
web publishing is also typography (The Elements of Typographic Style)
Santa Switch
Copyright is Unconstitutional!

Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)