July 25, 2005

More grist from the 'trustworthy government' mill

Schneier on Security gives us a brief rundown on the disaster that is the TSA and Secure Flight. If you intend to fly commercial air transport in the United States in future, and think that Orwell may have had any sort of point, read this now.

When government surveillance programs not only begin collecting data on citizens, but do so in direct contravention of the law - not only standing laws, but their own charters specifically designed to prevent such activitiy - and their only response when caught out is to 'revise their privacy notice' then it's time to shut them down.

Permanently.

It sort of boggles my mind that people are worried about scanners that might be able to see through their clothes, and yet stuff like this seems to not ring bells. I'm not saying that there isn't a risk of abuse of the former. I'm just saying that if my own choice is between the risk of some security screener giggling mentally at an X-Ray-Spex pic of me on a TV screen as I walk through, one of thousands, or the risk of an unaddressable government organization accruing my travel and personal data to put in a 'scoring' system which I cannot find out any information about, nor correct mistakes if they occur, well, duh. If you said 'oh, the risk of someone seeing me naked' is the real threat, I offer for your consideration the splendid job of protecting your interests being done by the credit bureaus (/snark), and their activities are relatively open. Once your data is in TSA, as Mr. Schneier says, all it takes is that one law - or worse, one bad employee - to make it available for all kinds of other reasons to stop you from traveling, or 'keep tabs on' where you go.

All without any form of accountability. If this agency is willing to publicly and casually ignore Congress, why should it feel any responsibility to you?

Posted by jbz at July 25, 2005 1:30 AM | TrackBack

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