back to article NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'

“Excuse me, sir, may I see your passport?” You have to give credit to white-collar Americans, even the seven-foot Richard Kiel cosplay US government thug in front of me: they are so polite. The odd thing was that I haven’t reached the States yet. I haven't even boarded the plane. In fact, I am still at Heathrow and had been …

Pint

Two pub remarks

Two overheard pub remarks about the USA:

"It's full of the dropouts, runaways, and rejects of every nation in Europe. You can't make thoroughbreds by mating donkeys"

"Everywhere below the mason-dixon line is a third-world country with gadgets"

4
1

Re: Two pub remarks

"America is the first country to have gone from barbarism to decadence without the usual intervening period of civilization." -- Oscar Wilde

10
0

Tell me about your Turkish connections

I flew to Istanbul then I changed to a flight to Ankara. From there it was a bus ride. ..

Shall I go on?

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Bananas? Don't mention bananas.

God! Heaven help you if you've made physical contact with a piece of fruit in the last 48 hours and they set that fursking dog on you in bagage reclaim. Then you have to join the 'other' queue, 'manned' by even dumber cretins.

1
0

And on a serious note

The writer's observation, below, is spot on.

if you call up a photo of a sports car and click on "More like this", it’ll present you with pictures of bananas. Ask a computer to extract metadata from a document about cod fishing in the North Sea and it’ll generate keywords such as "spanner", "espadrille" and "buttocks".

It goes to the heart of why wholesale data collection and mining pose such a threat to individual rights and freedoms.

They cannot get it right, even theoretically. The best and most accessible discussion of the problem of this aspect of data classification is in a couple of papers by Tom Fawcett, on something called ROC curves. ROC originally stood for "receiver operating characteristic", referring to the ability of a receiver to classify targets in noise. An analogous phenomenon occurs in pattern matching in digital data, where the term "relative operating characteristic" is used.

Googling "Tom Fawcett" ROC analysis] (without the brackets) should produce relevant results in the first few hits.

When those who govern use automated profiling as actionable information the targeted individual is in rotten fish-head soup.

The question of whether those who govern are ignorant of how data classification works or are simply using the assertion that it does to build convenient profiles on individuals they want to target is irrelevant.

As Grandpa Hargrove observed, In the limit, it doesn't matter whether they are fools or knaves. The damage will be the same.

4
0

Re: Bananas? Don't mention bananas.

I had one of those money dogs accost me at Gatwick airport. I had declared the money and luckily had a post office receipt to prove it was mine. It did mean that my Alcohol intake was a bit low on that flight as they wanted to keep me and have a closer look at my situation.

1
0

Re: Bananas? Don't mention bananas.

"I had one of those money dogs accost me at Gatwick airport. I had declared the money and luckily had a post office receipt to prove it was mine. It did mean that my Alcohol intake was a bit low on that flight as they wanted to keep me and have a closer look at my situation."

I read both those "money" as "monkey". I found it particularly amusing you had a post office receipt for it. Ordinarily I have to pick mine up from the depo.

(sorry).

1
0

Re: Bananas? Don't mention bananas.

"I read both those "money" as "monkey". I found it particularly amusing you had a post office receipt for it. Ordinarily I have to pick mine up from the depo.

(sorry)"

No problem and I was obliged to give it a good spanking when I got to my destination.

Do not be sorry as i promise not to go ape.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Visas

I am told the US State Department global database for issuing travel documents has crashed today - so no visas for YOU matey

3
0
Thumb Up

Re: Visas

It's Sysadmin Appreciation Day...sounds like *somebody* in State didn't sufficiently appreciate their sysadmin.

5
0
Happy

Re: Visas

"It's Sysadmin Appreciation Day...sounds like *somebody* in State didn't sufficiently appreciate their sysadmin."

SAD says it all really.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

US State Department global database for issuing travel documents has crashed

2
0
Anonymous Coward

It is ironic...

That the US won the cold war, yet entering the US is now a more unpleasent experience, and the staff are ruder, than the comparable experience of entering the old communist bloc.

I have to travel to the US on business on a depressingly frequent basis. However, one thing is for sure, they no longer get any of my tourism spend and I never elect to fly on any of their drab, depressing airlines.

13
0

When your tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

If you want to know why the plods and the spooks are so obsessed with metadata, blame British company i2 (now owned by IBM) for producing the #1 tool used by intelligence analysts worldwide: http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/en/analysts-notebook

2
0

Just remember when coming to America, most of the officials you will encounter, are part of an increasingly paranoid and totalitarian section of society with pretty much no ability to apply common sense or logic.

Unfortunately for most visitors, usually the first big cities they hit (such as New York or Los Angeles) tend to be run by people who view the local police as their private oppressor force.

Once you get past that and get to know friendly locals, you'll find a great time, just do your research ahead of time to decide which things / freedoms are important to you & visit that area, as what may be not only allowed but celebrated as part of culture & freedom in one area may be something that will get you locked up for half you life in another area.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

To be honest, I'd rather not bother and just never visit the godsforsaken place! Sounds like a much easier life.

9
0

Or.....

You could just go to a hundred other more welcoming and friendly countries.

1
0

different cultures

Who was it that said 'The US and the UK are two countries divided by a common language'?

Having frequently visited the US, it's my experience that most Brits get into trouble at the border by thinking that Americans are Britons with a funny accent.

Brits rather like a bit of non-conformity, Americans hate it. At the border, the trick is to put yourself in a readily-recognizeable category and conform to it. So for example, if you're going to Nevada, don't bring skin-diving gear, even if you have a good reason.

Don't joke. It's not that the border officials don't have a sense of humour, they don't have a British sense of humour. In their minds, they are under-paid and under-valued. If you seem to be making fun of them, it will not end well.

Finally, don't judge all border officials by those at big-city entry points. If you saw some of the crap that they have to put up with, you'd also lose your sense of humour fast.

2
0
Silver badge

@Maty (was: different cultures)

Regarding you first question, that was Samuel Langhorne Clemens writing as Mark Twain.

As for the topic at hand ... I wonder why the Brits always display such rampant xenophobia when it comes to the Yanks. Gut feeling is that it's fear of the unknown ... I'm in my mid-fifties, a Yank, and have spent roughly 20% of my life in Blighty. Quite frankly, other than accent, slang and word spellings, Brits & Yanks are quite similar. Could say the same about the English and the Welsh, BTW.

Note that I'm talking about the PEOPLE, not the vast stupidity that is security theater. Seriously, Brits, on your next vacation, come visit Sonoma & Napa counties (wine country North of San Francisco). Might open your eyes. Not only world-class wines, but the local craft ales are pretty damn good, too. AND they are inexpensive, to your eyes, at ~US$4 for a 22oz bottle.

4
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: @Maty (was: different cultures)

"Could say the same about the English and the Welsh, BTW."

Are you fucking mental?

2
1

that's nothing

i went thru memphis once (US wife, been to US maybe 25 times, Im an old hand at this stuff) and the finger print scanner decided to break at just the moment it was my turn. Much eye brow raising, retrying, examining my fingers under a magnifying glass, retrying, swabbing my fingers (shit scary as i might hve rolled the odd hashish joint in the preceding weeks) retrying, eventually sent to back room with some majorly sweating russians, chinese, and vietnamese rejects). 30 mins later called back, they'd fixed the scanner.

"So you doing any hunting over here while with your folks? " big cheezy grin.

I could have punched him.

0
0

Day of the Jackal

Are you getting all steamed up?

(Before he gets it along with the Lobster)

0
0
Mushroom

Don't lie to us Dabbs, we know you're a terrorist!

A j-walking terrorist with Turkish connections, moonlighting as an IT reporter, conspiring enter the country falsely claiming to be a "production manager", in order to destroy the fabric of our society through promotion of gross lawlessness. I am only thankful that the brave police officer intervened before you were able to put your plan to unlawfully cross the street into action.

1
0
Silver badge
Windows

Re: Don't lie to us Dabbs, we know you're a terrorist!

Well, we now know how TERRISTS are CLASSIFIED:

The Secret (but UNCLASSIFIED) Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux

There is even a download of the same... 166 pages. No, I won't read it. It's like something amanfrommars would write.

It is easily possible to find some ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE based on articulable and REASONABLE SUSPICION duly signalled by a NOMINATOR who provides PARTICULARIZED DEROGATORY INFORMATION on Mr. Dabbs.

1
0

Re: Don't lie to us Dabbs, we know you're a terrorist!

It is easily possible to find some ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE based on articulable and REASONABLE SUSPICION duly signalled by a NOMINATOR who provides PARTICULARIZED DEROGATORY INFORMATION on Mr. Dabbs.

Or we can just Google various combinations of suspect terms in conjunction with with "Dabbs." until we have a reasonably suspicious profile. This will give us actionable intelligence without having to involve the messy and unreliable human nominator. (A Google search of the terms "Dabbs" and "terrorist" just produced 515,000 hits. What more proof do we need to detain the blighter indefinitely at an undisclosed location.)

1
0

Conversation loop

About three times per year:

Boss: "I need you to go to U.S.A."

Me:"I will not!"

<loop>

He´s sending me all across the world and i love it.

States? No way!

2
0

Re: Conversation loop

I won't even go via the states, not even on just a refuel stop.

Every person had to be 'imigrated' (passport inspection, stamp and fingerprint), we were not allowed any further that the single room overlooking the aircraft, and as soon as they reached the last person, we all had to be 'emigrated'. It took four sucking hours.

All this for a sucking refuel stop and the sucking plane had finished refueling within half an hour.

Never...never...never again.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Conversation loop

The experience has apparently affected your 'f' key as well.

0
0

"suck the Ambassador’s cock in the middle of Grosvenor Square at midnight."

Playmobil or it never happened! :-)

2
0
Anonymous Coward

First Trip to the US story?

The vivid memory I have of my first trip to the US is having a drink in a bar, with a colleague and a mate (who was living there at the time) to see two cops chase a guy through said bar shouting "EVERY BODY DOWN!!!" swiftly followed by multiple gunshots outside as they shot/killed the perp.*

That was in Sunnyvale, of all places.

Didn't stop me visiting again. At least there was no "mistake" involved.

*Turns out the guy was running around with a fake gun trying to get shot.

0
0
Joke

Re: First Trip to the US story?

was Buffy there....?

P.

0
0

Arab Princess at US immigration

Back in the 90's (long before 9/11), a colleague of mine had to go to USA for a training course. At New York airport he found himself waiting in the immigration queue behind an Arab princess, and the immigration officer definitely DID NOT LIKE Arabs, princesses or otherwise. From his vantage point at the head of the queue, my colleague heard the following conversation:

Officer: What's your name?

Princess: Princess XXX of Saudi Arabia

Officer: What's your job?

Princess: Er..., I'm a princess.

Officer: No. What work do you do? What is your job?

Princess: Err... Well, as I said, I'm a princess. I don't actually have a job as such.

Officer: OK. So you're telling me you're unemployed. Well, then, what's your husband's job.

Princess: He's Prince XXX of Saudi Arabia.

Officer: I'm not interested in his title. What's his job? What work does he do?

Princess: Well.. he's a prince. He doesn't actually need to work.

Officer: So. You're telling me you're unemployed, your husband is unemployed and you want to enter America?

At thi point, my colleague decided to move to another queue, so he never heard how that conversation ended.

1
0

Geordie metadata

Sorry, but your Geordie accent sounds more like Glaswegian

0
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018