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Emissaries from the European Parliament arrived in Washington today with a message of restraint and fairplay for US crusaders in the "war on terror". Worried the US zeal to hunt down terrorists is trampling over the rights of European citizens, members of the European Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will …

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PNR have been around for a long time

To say that the Patriot Act brought about PNR is completely wrong...PNR have been around for a very long time. That six number/letter code you're asked for when looking up a reservation (QX5JL7)? That's the unique-key lookup for your PNR.

The PNR has recently been expanded to include more information...you could legitmately say the Patriot Act has brought about 'an expanded PNR'...but airlines have been keeping personal data on us for a very long time, including name and credit card details.

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How is NOAH ?

I think you will find that it is a Total Information Awareness Environment.

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Anonymous Coward

US crusaders? Register's areas of expertise and proper journalism

I come to The Register for technology news, with a focus on IT, networking, and digital media. The various science tidbits are also useful and interesting.

For these matters I think The Register, snarky attitude and all, is quite useful.

However...

I find the incessant one-sided political drum beat created by items on the front page most annoying and inappropriate. I wouldn't count on National Geographic or NME (New Music Express?) to provide me with high quality technology news. Why should anyone expect that The Register has any particular expertise in world politics?

Of course those at The Register enjoy free speech, which should be the right of anyone. And everyone has political opinions. But it seems to me that those at The Register are taking unfair advantage of their captive audience by pummeling them with political propaganda that has little to do with the reason people come to the site in the first place.

Today's outrage is this sentence that leads off Mark Ballard's article...written, by the way, as a news item without any indication of it being an opinion column or editorial.

" Emissaries from the European Parliament arrived in Washington today with a message of restraint and fairplay for US crusaders in the "war on terror". "

The phase "war on terror" is put in scare-quotes indicating skepticism and irony. The phrase "US crusaders", however, is left unadorned. This phrase, of course, is very popular among the likes of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. The two word phrase references the genocide perpetrated by the Church in the middle ages, and encapsulates the al Qaeda lie that "America and the Jews" want to kill off Islam and its followers.

The combination of this phrase and quoting "war on terror" is an effective piece of deadly propaganda. It leaves the impression the writer agrees with bin Laden and company, and views the western claim of self-defense against terrorism as a lie.

Outrageous!

My suggestion is that The Register avoid political issues not obviously and uniquely related to the realm of IT.

Failing that, political reporting should not editorialize. And if The Register cannot resist the impulse to take advantage of its platform to spout off on all manner of political opinion…political opinion should be restricted to clearly labeled editorial columns.

Thanks for listening

p.s. Please resist the glib retort that George Bush once used the word "crusade" in reference to the US actions in the middle east. It was clearly the unfortunate use of the now generic sense of the word. It was quickly retracted…but was not even a mistake when properly understood. Bush no more intended to imply that this is a war of Christians against Moslems any more than the charity organization "Crusade of Mercy" does.

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Russia, Home of the Brave, Land of the Free

Perhaps we should all move to Russia.. and China's sounding pretty reasonable too these days.

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And you would trust the U.S. why?

Even if the EU got the U.S. Congress to agree to anything, what makes them think that the U.S. government, military, etc. will actually abide by it? We have laws against illegal wiretaps, too, and look what good those have done. Face it, the U.S. is Big Brother (though the U.K. is trying damn hard to match us or go further). If the government wants to trawl through European financial data, they will. If the governments wants to collect all PNR data about airline passengers, they will. Why can they get away with it? Simple. Because without giving the PNR data, the government will refuse international flights, and without the financial data, the government would likely enforce some sort of sanction, embargo, or law against using those services. The U.S. government will stop at nothing, NOTHING, in its alleged effort to "stop the terrorists". And they don't care what laws they break, on either side of the Atlantic.

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US crusaders? Yuh huh.

Well, anonymous poster, what else would you call it when a frothing zealot declares war on an ideology ?

From where I'm sitting, any news outlet that stops short of outright saying "Bush is a warmongering f***tard." is pretty well balanced and restrained. But then, I don't watch Fox "News", and I don't know what a "liberal media" is either.

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Keep up the good work.

Re: " US crusaders? Register's areas of expertise and proper journalism".

I think this critisim is completly misplaced. PNR etc. are technoligy issues, and, many of the real implications of these systems while immediatly obvious to techies are not immediatly obvious to Joe Public.

For instance an average European might wrongly assume that the PNR agreement with the US would place limits on how the information is stored, who has access and who it can be passed on to.

In fact none of these restrictions are in place one the PNR data is handed over the US government can do anything it likes with the data (including sell it to cemmercial companies!) and there are legitimate concerns that the data could be subject to FOI legislation in the US. i.e. Any US citizen could request your credit card details.

So El Reg keep up the good work!

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Whoa there!

Anonymous writes: "It leaves the impression the writer agrees with bin Laden and company".

Quite simply, no it doesn't.

I have some sympathy for the views in that comment, but I think you're sailing dangerously close to "you're either with us or against us"-type waters...

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And to show our mature relationship with the US...

... we should immediately start fingerprinting all American visitors to the EU, force them to stand in long queues for indeterminate periods of time, ensure they fill out (in black *NOT* blue ink) appallingly laid-out immigration forms about the size of a postage stamp (complete with plenty of randomly-positioned easy-to-miss check boxes), subject them to bizarre questioning by a borderline (ahem) offensive immigration officials and THEN we'll have complete reciprocity between nations.

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Crapulous witterings

It all sounds lovely :"Of course those at The Register enjoy free speech, which should be the right of anyone..." - oh no, off the rails and into the ditch - "... But it seems to me that those at The Register are taking unfair advantage of their captive audience ..."

Things are clearly different in the Land of the Free, because here in the UK I choose to read The Register when and as often as I wish, and don't feel any coercion when I do so. Also, just how is expressing an opinion or having a bias (real or perceived) in any way taking advantage? If The Register was tasked with the responsibility of educating gullible and formative young minds, I would agree there was a duty of care. But I'm a grizzled adult, with all my prejudices, bigotries and idiosyncrasies fully-formed and running smoothly. Plus, being an adult, I find I am capable of hearing and reading opinions which differ from my own without feeling the need to curtail someone else's right to express them.

It's a common error to assume that the right of free speech contains a right to be listened to. In fact it does not. If I don't like The Register or its tone, I would quickly look elsewhere. I suggest you apply the same principle. It's sort of like a free market, which is another thing the US doesn't fully understand. Don't get me wrong. I've lived in the US, and I like many Americans individually. But your government really sucks, and you claim, as a so-called democracy, that you voted for it. So you have to take some of the blame for that.

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