back to article Bush makes last-minute grab for civil liberties

US citizens could be investigated without just cause under a new plan from the Justice Department, while those who choose to leave the country will have their records kept for 15 years and available to any litigious attorney. The Justice Department plan won't be unveiled in detail until next month, but the New York Times is …

COMMENTS

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fuck NuGov!

    Wherever it may be and whatever colours it's wearing!

  2. Alan Fisher
    Linux

    Why am I not surprised?

    I can't even feign surprise or get my eyebrows to raise themselves......

    All hail discordia! (there, that's me tagged now..I'll expect a visit soon...)

  3. Trotsky

    Any privacy laws will be ignored by govt

    Does anyone seriously trust the FBI etc to obey the law and delete any data? They can easily just misplace a few laptops with the info on it. I think these laws are indirectly good - people need to be made aware that they have no privacy anymore, no matter what the laws say.

    Bush is just doing us all a favour and trying to communicate this fact to the public.

  4. Pierre Silver badge
    Alert

    Right to grizzly arms?

    As we're told /ad nauseam/, the right to bear arms exists to prevent dictatorial abuse of power from "those in charge". Shurely an insurrection is to be expected before the end of the year, then. C'mon, plantigrade-armed people, put your act together and do your duty.

  5. ZM
    Pirate

    FFS

    I'm not surprised, either...

    What if we emigrate to another country? Will our data be kept for 15 years as a citizen or 75 as a foreigner?

  6. Webster Phreaky
    Paris Hilton

    Bill Ray?" or Billy Ray? LibTard anyway.

    Say Billy Ray ... what would you prefer you LibTard; Bombings in the streets of NY, Washington DC (no not the daily shootings because the lib blacks run the city), Chicago (no not the daily shootings because the lib Dems run the city), LA (no not the daily shootings because the lib Mexicans and Blacks run the city); or maybe Bus Bombings like London or Israel or Train Bombings in Spain because you LIBTARDS are affraid to scrutinize your own shadow let alone the shadows that the radical Muslims cast??

    The ONLY people that fear being watched, are ones that HAVE A REASON to be Paranoid because they ARE doing something wrong. What are you Bill Ray doing wrong? LIBTARD.

    Libtards and Democrats, clueless like Paris Hilton.

  7. Michael
    Black Helicopters

    *sigh*

    I get what they're going for, but man, they have a real knack for missing the obvious ways their plans could be misused...

    ...or maybe they're counting on it...

  8. Ken

    The Reg too?

    Jeez - I wasn't worried until that last bit. Even El Reg would have access to the database? Unacceptable!!! Only quality US pubs like the National Enquirer should be able to look at those records.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Alan Fisher

    I'll second the inability to be at all shocked by this turn of events. Hell I can't say I'll even be surprised when this gets enacted. The sad fact is this kind of activity is ever increasing and will continue unless folks who have the power to actually force these kinds of Orwellian measures out of our lives come to the party.

    So stand proud and tall, lets all drop trou and submit to the inevitable body cavity searches that are coming. After all we are all guilty until proven innocent right???

    I'd ask for my coat but it's been confiscated along with everything else by homeland security because I failed to properly genuflect at the presence of Der Fuehrer bush.

  10. Adam Williamson
    Black Helicopters

    Well...

    Given that history shows "being liberal in the 1950s" and "being in favour of peace in the 1970s" were previously perfectly reasonable grounds for opening an investigation, does this really change much?

    Sigh.

  11. cirby

    Wow...

    ...if the US keeps this up, in ten or twenty years, they'll be almost as bad as what the UK is already doing.

    Horrors!

  12. Joel
    Unhappy

    "I'm still in the White House..."

    Yes, we know. And no, we don't appreciate the reminder. We're trying to forget. Only 5 months 1 days 19 hours 12 minutes 41 seconds to go.

  13. Kevin Kitts
    Stop

    Not surprising...

    Quote:

    "The border-crossing database being created in the name of Homeland Security came to light last month in a Federal Register notice, and is intended to form a record which can "quite literally, help frontline officers to connect the dots", according to a Homeland Security spokesman."

    Anyone who knows statistics also knows that in a group of dots, you can draw many lines, and not all of them fit correctly.

    Anyone who knows how to abuse statistics also knows that you can connect the dots and come to any conclusion you want.

    If this passes, it will be the CrystalYolk (The Night of Breaking Eggs). Everyone knows that you need to break some eggs to make an omelet, but this law proposes breaking all the eggs to get at the right yolk.

    Actually, the comparison to CrystalNacht is eerily similar on more levels than that, now that I think of it. Next, I suppose there will be jack-booted government agents coming in the middle of the night to take away all the undesirables, including intellectuals like me, simply because free-thinking is the most terrifying thing of all to a government intent on absolute order (and absolute power). Add to this that any petty crime can be considered terrorism (it terrifies the public), and this is the kind of knee-jerk reaction that ensues.

    This isn't the America I grew up in. If I live long enough, I might write a history of America over the past 25 years, so when we get our democracy back, the words "never again" will have a new meaning in the US.

  14. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    Appalling...

    So when exactly will Congress roll over on this one? Immediately -- or after a decent mourning period of a month?

    "When there exists a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information."

    Hints, leaks, winks and nudges and "unnamed government spokespersons"...

    What passes as "legitimate public interest" these days?

    Well, there was a "legitimate public interest" in the disclosure of any information in the passport file of Gov. Bill Clinton's that could be used to make the people "connect the dots" into thinking that he might morph into a dirty commie bastard once elected president.

    There was a "legitimate public interest" in the disclosure that Bruce Evins, now being railroaded as The Lone Anthrax Man, had a private P.O. box in which he received photographs of blindfolded women. This obviously relevant info is used to make the people "connect the dots" into thinking that he might be a pervert psycho bastard obviously keen to brew up those potent anthrax letters, so useful in justifying hot bomb, bomb, bomb action.

    etc...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumably UK,NZ, Israel, Australia, India... get access

    Well presumably the information sharing agreements means that all the lovely privacy invading information on Americans is available to UK, NZ, Israel, Australia, India, etc. and via those countries info sharing agreements in turn to Europe, eastern block countries included..

    And via those countries leaky systems (and data disclosure) to the whole world and maybe a few martians and too.

    Yeh that will teach them to elect Bush. All their info will be available to everyone, and best of all, it's not just the external border, because those machine readable IDs are soon to be required on internal flights to. You can bet that Bushie demands that info too.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    For sale

    FS: US Constitution. Priced low to sell fast!!

    Recent change in circumstances means we no longer have any need for it, except for the second amendment which we cannot do without and which is not part of the sale. Constitution should operate well even with that part missing. Owner is leaving in a few months and needs to get rid of it before he goes, so any reasonable offer will be considered.

    Thanks for looking!

  17. Jodo Kast
    Go

    The 1974 Privacy Act

    Once we get a quality POTUS up in here, these new Anti-American laws will be dealt with.

    For instance, the 1974 Privacy Act is specifically about issues like this.

  18. PunkTiger
    Unhappy

    *facepalm*

    Please, for the love of All Things Good In The World, isn't there a way we can get this twat out of office early? Send him on an extended cruise to Nowhere? Lock him in the bog until January? Give him a "Time Out" in the corner for the next few months? The man has been a source of hideous embarrassment and outrage to Americans since 2000, and I'm tired of it.

    Can't we just tell him to please go away?

    /Sad face, because I am.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Public Activities are not Private; U.S. Fed Gov't is obligated to regulate commerce

    In the United States, actions committed in public are not subject to privacy laws.

    Walking across a border is not a private thing - it is publicly observed by 2 nations as well as by everyone standing around you.

    The United States Constitution grants the right to Regulate Commerce to the Federal Government.

    Moving across state lines, including to/from a foreign nation, is a Federal obligation to regulate since it is illegal for individual states to do.

    These are pretty simple concepts, people don't seem to understand privacy in the United States.

  20. Peter Ramins
    Unhappy

    The last thing

    My country did to make me proud...

    Well, the ongoing space efforts.

    That's it.

    So we got NASA going on for us, at least. Until the TSA starts hassling astronauts.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Public Activities are not Private; U.S. Fed Gov't is obligated

    "Moving across state lines, including to/from a foreign nation, is a Federal obligation to regulate since it is illegal for individual states to do."

    Exactly, he'll grab and record their internal movements as they go from state to state inside the USA, and that will be made available to foreign powers via the information sharing agreement he signed.

    You elected him, he turns on you, suck it up. Your the enermy in your own country.

  22. Steve

    @ Webster Phreaky

    Jesus, when did you turn into Bill O'Reilly?

  23. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Well...... Is it the State of Play or is it not?

    This article has a point of view which is difficult to dimiss and deny sanely ..... http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/home/Frontpage/2008/01/02/02073.html

    And it is simply complex folk like you and me who idly chat and exchange simply complex views on the Internet that they cannot stop, which will leave them exposed to the evidence of their own abuses and those nearest and dearest around them who played dumb and stayed schtum will, by guilt of association, be also accused of wilful abuse. Share what you know is the truth, IT sets you free from a Life of Lies built upon a Framework of Deceit, which must mean that the Reality you are Living is a False Structure servering to False Needs and Feeds. Hmmm? An Artificial Reality. How about Building on the Simple Truth instead for a Global Change of Perception or do Lies and Deceit suit you Better?

    Yeah .... I know. That is a really stupid question if the answer is obvious.

    So what is IT...... that answer? Register it here so that you can be identified and suitably and accurately certified/logged/tagged. :-) It is the norm Phorm is it not?

    Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.

  24. Anton Ivanov
    Flame

    Re: Bill Ray?" or Billy Ray? LibTard anyway.

    I suggest you queue up for "The Man Under Surveilance" when it will be translated into English:

    http://www.book.store.bg/c/p-p/m-481/id-18686/sledeniat-chovek-spomeni-predizvikani-ot-dokumenti-veselin-branev.html

    This is a book done by one of the Bulgarian movie directors ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0105077/ ) in cooperation with the agents that were assigned to follow his activities during the "socialist" times. Quite an eye opener. It is unique amidst books about 1984/Animal Farm regimes as it is probably the only book where the "victim" and the "hunter" have cooperated to write it.

    It will REALLY help you understand exactly what does a man have to fear when he has been put under surveilance and what does it end up with... And what do we owe the LibTards...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Proof reincarnation is REAL!

    After all, we've just witnessed the reincarnation of J. Edgar hisself!!!

    Dead vulture, because there is just so much carnage these days...

  26. Christoph Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Business as usual

    So even the Democrats are only worried about what happens to "an innocent American". And to hell with those funny foreigners, everyone knows they're not really human and have no rights whatever. And they turn round and resent the US when told they're not really human, so obviously they're not to be trusted.

  27. Pierre Silver badge

    Mister Phreaky, thou art a moron (I bit)

    I do not expect a whole lot of privacy when crossing a border. However, me crossing the damn line means me handing wads of very private details to the border officer, including adresses, previous states visited, even details on my health condition. All this information will now be freely available to people who are likely to misuse it, such as FoxNews, or worst: national agencies with too much time and too few targets. I'm not deliriously happy about that.

  28. JohnG

    Worldbridge database?

    In case you aren't aware, visa applications at British Embassies are outsourced to Worldbridge (an American company). They also handle the acquisition of biometric data such as fingerprints from visa applicants. What's the chances the FBI will be snooping that database too?

  29. Andy Bright
    Thumb Down

    err what?

    When did a politician from any country really give a shit about someone from another country? I don't mean the soundbites, I mean the actions, the refusal to cow-tow to the party line or risk being seen as soft on terrorism?

    The answer is never. Furriners are always treated with suspicion and contempt, no matter which country to chose to visit. Except Holland. In Holland they get you stoned instead. I suggest we adopt that model and right quick too.

    There would be no more terrorism, I guarantee it.

    "Yeah I'd love to blow up the building man, but all that noise would be far too hectic.. shit even I'm not even sure I have the energy to make a cup of tea and you want me to drive where and do what?"

    As for privacy in the US, the Constitution guarantees very little. Democratic Congress? Fuck off, they won't stop this, they'll probably support it. Not one of them has the balls to stand up for anything in an election year. If they did they would have refused to fund Iraq, which they could have quite easily done with the majority they have and the fact the House of Representatives holds the government purse strings. They didn't even have the balls to do that with close to 90% of the public demanding they did so. And they wonder why they are held in more contempt than the President. They were told to end the war in Iraq by the voters, and didn't do it. The Republican Congress paid the price for cow-towing to the President and his abuse of the Constitution (an act of treason by the way, he swore an oath to protect it) and the Democratic Congress will face the same fate when they go up for re-election. Maybe the next lot will grow some balls, but I doubt it. I wonder how many times of throwing out a party it'll take before someone gets a clue and takes a risk.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alan B'Stard was there first.

    You poison your own campaign when things are unmanagable, let the new government take the blame for the mess and then come back just when they've finished cleaning it up.

  31. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    @amanfromMars

    I find your marshon perspective helpful in this case. I was speaking to someone today who sees the same things as me but comes to a different answer. He sees the human rights act as a friend to the terrorists and stopping the government doing it's job. But he still sees the government failing in it's job and attacking the wrong people. I see the human rights act as helping protect us from a government that is going wrong. Clearly he has more faith in the way the government can use it's powers for good than I do.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So will McCain Lieberman back this? Christoph.

    So what's the McCain Lieberman ticket going to say about this. I bet McCain will back it, he'll wish to hell that idiot in office would just shut up, but he'll grit his teeth and go along with it. That's my guess.

    No idea how he'll sell it to middle America, can't imagine they like the TSA guys entering their details for big government to track them.

  33. alafair
    Unhappy

    @Webster Phreaky

    I live in the South...in an area where liberal is a dirty word and republicans have an iron fist on the political processes. Guess what? There's still murder and mayhem on a daily basis.

    I was also a soldier, and served my country. My family has a tradition of service; with very few exceptions ALL of my cousins have served. Some have died fighting in this "war on Terror". I served because I believe in the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. I am disgusted that Americans have been brainwashed to believe that "only the bad people have something to fear". I want the freedoms I served for, the freedoms my cousins have died for. Damn it, I want my country back.

  34. Watashi

    Like The joker said...

    "Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying."

  35. Chris G Silver badge

    Bush????... Hmmmmm

    Isn't another word for that C**T!

  36. Captain DaFt
    Black Helicopters

    @ Wbster Phreaky

    "The ONLY people that fear being watched, are ones that HAVE A REASON to be Paranoid because they ARE doing something wrong."

    "Bad laws make criminals out of honest men" - Unknown

    "give me 5 lines written by the most honest man, and i will find something in it to hang him." - Cardinal de Richeleu

    "They only need a small excuse To put us all away" - Andrew Lloyd Webber

    In short, look at anyone hard enough, you can find a crime to pin on them, no matter how innocent they may think they are, if you're determined to arrest them.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Four words for you

    Brian Doyle homeland security

    Type that into the search engine of your choice and tell me you think law enforcement should have carte blanche to investigate whoever they feel like on a whim.

  38. heystoopid

    Now

    Now why do I have the feeling that he will not be voluntarily vacating 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 9th 2009 ?

  39. Nebulo
    Thumb Down

    What we need here

    is the Anti-New-World-Order Screensaver, get a bit of distributed computing power we can use against these bastards. On both sides of the Pond, and anywhere else where they work their evil.

    @amanfromMars - I remember hearing a few years ago (sorry, no references) that somebody's research showed that "top" politicians and businessmen share a psychological profile with psychopaths, with the same scary fixation on their objectives. You and the Canadian are right. Maybe we should all be taking scary fixation lessons so we can fight back more effectively.

    Somebody get working on that screensaver. I'll get myself a bigger CPU specially when I read about it in the Reg.

  40. David Shanahan

    The Shrinking Gap...

    Between the USA and China, North Korea, Burma, etc. Soon you'll need a microscope and DNA tests to tell them apart. The news that McCain is now leading Obama in the polls is just bitter, bitter icing on the cake - tragically it seems the American people have become too stupid for democracy.

  41. jchacce

    Webster Phreaky, read some history!

    You state only those doing wrong have to worry. Wrong! History shows that a surveillance state and too much power in the hands of government victimizes innocents, free thinkers, questioners, outspoken dissidents, intellectuals etc etc. I suggest you read the Gulag Archipelago, the accounts of both the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions, the way of life for people in any dictatorship, fascist state or monarchy and learn why the constitution of the US was written to begin with. In your study you will undoubtedly find a few good examples as well that existed for short periods. The founding fathers were aware of the possible and probable abuses of power and a look at contemporary history will affirm that hindering free travel, surveillance , and other such "measures" has the possibility and probability to lead to abuses of power or mishandled or intentionally misread intelligence for unrelated purposes being used against innocents . These are actually examples of abuse or mishandling of power. Centralized power controlling a population has the inherent characteristic of missing it's stated intention of creating a safer more prosperous area, whether real or made up, and eventually abusing all the power it is given and innocents get victimized. You are assuming all leaders and police are honorable. Maybe yes today, but tomorrow?...Do you know a set of people, any set of people, that has not a corrupted spirit or sub set of corrupted folks in league in it's midst. It is a unfortunate human condition, and to guard against criminals or morally deficient people, or ones who "have the answer for you" having power over you, you must create a system of checks and balances to protect against the possibility of innocents being swept up by paranoids or ones seeking more power for themselves or partners. Hence: the constitution of the US and similar systems of government around the world today. It is a good idea to limit government to a helpful hand role and not give it the power as nanny state and let it decide what is good for you. This has the possible outcome of you being locked up from the words of a slanderous neighbor, or your innocent actions being misread by "intelligence officers", and you labeled as a criminal. It happens! You are completely missing the implications.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So webster

    Is an AI bot hosted on FOX news server.

    Come on folks Webster being tard shouldn't shock you.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Nebulo's "screensaver"

    "Somebody get working on that screensaver. I'll get myself a bigger CPU specially when I read about it in the Reg."

    I've got ~30 perfectly good Xeon PII and PIII here that sit around doing litterally nothing (they're stacked in a cardboard box). I also have ~30 moboes that happen to accept 2 PII or PIII each. Plus a handfull of SCSI HDs, a few tens GB of RAM in 128M and 256M tiny (but server-grade) packages, cases, network cards and a good hub.

    So sign my soon-to-be Beowulf thinggy in (as soon as I can be arsed to put the parts together, that is. -I'll also need a better 'tarwub connection).

    PS I know, using this (overly unimpressive) computer power to work on cancer, cystic fibrosis -or watever else is fashionable at the moment- would be better for the Human kind. But that's already what I do for a living, so I'll stick to the liberty-enhancing thing in my free time, thanks.

    PPS actually I just realized that this, hum, "screensaver" probably already exists: just install Windows and visit a few questionable sites based in China or Eastern Europe, you'll be enrolled faster than you can say "botnet". And you'll even be able to claim innocence (in the old-fashionned meaning of the term) if probed by the Feds.

  44. Eugene Goodrich

    Pedantism

    "Literally" connect the dots? Are our national security folk using some sort of connect-the-dots puzzles to look for dangerous folk? Or are they just playing at connect-the-dots because they're really, really bored and don't much like work? (And can't write posts on The Register.)

  45. Pierre Silver badge

    @ AC "So Webster" and E Goodrich "Pedantism"

    "[Webster] Is an AI bot hosted on FOX news server."

    That could be. Except for the "i" in "AI".

    "Are our national security folk using some sort of connect-the-dots puzzles to look for dangerous folk?"

    They appear to be. You might want to use "fishing trip" instead of "connect the dots puzzles", but that's what they are doing, essentially. Too much ressource, too much time, too few legitimate targets... after all, their fundings (and their existence) depends on their ability to find culprits. If there aren't live culprits (as it happens fairly often with kamikaze attacks), they will create some. That's conservation instinct. But they'd never deliberately twist the facts or create "evidence", of course. Oh wait, what did GWB say about these weapons of mass destruction, again? And what about these infamous anthrax letters? If someone's looking for me, I'll be in an other galaxy for the next few centuries.

  46. NT
    Black Helicopters

    @ amanfromMars

    Every now and then, I actually understand the occasional fragment of one of your posts. In this case:

    "And it is simply complex folk like you and me who idly chat and exchange simply complex views on the Internet that they cannot stop"

    You're very wrong, though. The Internet isn't some independent global Freedom Network Of The People. It's owned and run, lock stock and barrel, by the US Government and a few major corporations. If it was ever considered to be a serious enough threat -rather than the fantastic bread-and-circuses distraction it's been so far - it'd be gone.

    But I don't think we've much to worry about on that score. The Internet might carry a few defiant messages to and fro - but they're a tiny drop in the ocean of millions of people broadcasting excited news of every fart and piece of navel fluff. Most of the ones that do get noticed can be safely written off as the rambling of conspiracy theory nutcases. After all, what's the average Net user going to care about the obsessions of a bunch of tinfoil hat merchants, as long as eBay and Facebook and YouTube still work?

  47. NT
    Flame

    @ Eugene Goodrich

    Argh.

    I really, honestly think that the word 'literally' ought to be rejected outright by anyone hoping to be taken seriously on anything.

    How on *Earth* have people managed to take a word that so definitely carries a meaning of 'true exactly as stated' and made it mean precisely the opposite?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Pierre

    Ok so I'm using the "i" in AI in the loose form.` They say if you take thousand monkeys and lock in a room, in a thousand years you will get Shakespeare's greatest works.

    In this case , the monkey has been trained to spout insane right wing propaganda . In fact when reading Websters post I thought I was reading something stopthepropaganda would write.

    boot note: I was not talking about the monkey in the white house. I'm still trying to figure out how the republicans pulled that scam off.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Christoph - Business as usual, terrorists pimp Democrats

    @Christoph, 'So even the Democrats are only worried about what happens to "an innocent American".'

    Former Democratic President Bill Clinton, during his Administration, created a rule to keep the FBI from accessing CIA Terrorism information. The result of this executive branch rule resulted in the World Trade Center 1993 bombing, Oklahome City 1995 bombing, and ultimately 9/11 2001 bombing.

    After 9/11, this executive rule was removed by the G. W. Bush Republican Administration and the FISA courts ruled that there was legal for the FBI to inquire with the CIA for existing terrorist information before the Clinton Administration as well as after the rule was removed, after 9-11.

    Democrats seem to care more about what happens to terrorists... which is why global terrorist organizations overwhelmingly support Democrats over Republicans in the United States, both in rhetoric as well as in funding.

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52747

    http://michellemalkin.com/2008/04/22/which-terrorists-support-which-democratic-presidential-candidate/

  50. David McCoy
    Thumb Up

    re Now by heystoopid

    I agree with you. I have a bet going with an american friend of mine as to whether or not there is going to be a Presidential election come november.

    I just hope he and his family have gotten out before then so I'll have a chance to collect.

    is it just me or is amanfrommars suddenly making a lot more sense in his posts?

  51. jake Silver badge

    @Webster

    "The ONLY people that fear being watched, are ones that HAVE A REASON to be Paranoid because they ARE doing something wrong."

    So, Webby (may I call you that?) ... why, exactly, are your bedroom curtains closed when you & the wife/hubby are in bed? Do you close your living room drapes at night? Do you have a plate-glass exterior wall in your shower?

    What are you hiding, Webby? Or, wait ... are you a ... ::whispers:: "libtard".

    OK, so I bit a 'bot. The rest of you can shoot me. My point is still valid.

    --

    jake

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Come on Gordo ....

    It looks like, despite some good early work by Labour, the Yanks are going to beat us to it. The UK has obviously lost all its skill, flair and creativity when we get beaten to the finish line of civil liberty removal, by the oh-so-easy tactic of turning your regular law-enforcement people into the Secret Police.

    This PROVES the incompetence of NuLab, when they missed the chance to really innovate and do something like this first.

    Our friends on the left coast of the Atlantic must be overjoyed by this great news.

    Yes, I'm being forced to go there soon, so I'm Anon,

  53. Dangermouse

    America? Fuck, yeah!

    I'm sure I have mentioned this before as a Brit, but I have worked in San Francisco in the dim and distant past - before the current chimp came into office. Thoroughly enjoyable experience, too.

    However, I now know that I will never set foot in that country again. They will never get any more taxes because I will never work there again, or my tourist money because I will never visit there again.

    I sincerely hope that enough people follow my lead.

    Oh, and I never realised that Bush and his fellow idiots were intelligent enough to be able to do dot-to-dots.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you can't blame George Bush for this

    It's not the republicans that are the ambulance chasers it's the democrats. It's the democrats that want the laws to be restricted so they can sue the telcos that give government officials information on terrorists. It's the trial lawyers, you know who they are.

    Honest law abiding citizens have nothing to fear if their telephone calls or internet traffic were to be intercepted, we aren't having affairs while our wives are dying of cancer, we aren't off blaming the US for global warming while you can't even breath in china without a mask on.

    I'll blame George Bush for alot of things, but this sure isn't one that he's the bad guy on.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Alan Fisher

    Hail Eris

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Webster Phreaky

    Freak of The Week.

    Bush-tard.

    Paris Hilton would not want to be associated with you.

  57. Ascylto
    Flame

    WAR! And Rumours of WAR!

    Hey, Webster, Bill Ray uses an Apple Computer!

    The fuse having been lit, I shall now retire.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Annonymous Coward re crossing borders publicly

    Yep - walking across the borders is a public action.

    The US government keeping (as the UK does) all credit card history, travel history, my parents names, my date of birth, my purchase history, details of my travelling companions, DNA etc etc for 75 years is a bit much.

    Did you even think about this?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @PunkTiger

    No - you can't just tell Bush to go away or stand in a corner until he says sorry.

    You could all rise up and march en masse (and I'm thinking two thirds of the US population) to the Whitehouse and remove Bush, Cheney, Bolton, Rice and McCain etc - but you won't.

    You'll probably vote in McCain, or impeach Obama for having a blowjob and then put in Hilary Clinton.

    I'm so paranoid and depressed right now.

  60. Secretgeek
    Boffin

    As an aside to all this reasoned debate.

    "...quite literally, help frontline officers to connect the dots."

    'Quite literally'?

    I figured out dot-to-dot puzzles shortly after I learnt to count (before then everything looked like the Flying Spaghetti Monster). If US security require a humongous database with a gatriliion Hz of processing power simply to help do a childs puzzle then the security of it's borders is probably the least of its worries.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hail Leader!

    Bush the Righteous II maketh another decree to control the dumb fat Empire.

  62. dervheid
    Unhappy

    Once again, authorities in the 'Land of the Free'...

    make the Stasi and KGB of the cold war era look like a bunch of friggin amateurs!

    NT, love your 'bread and circuses' take on the internet.

    If only it weren't so true.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    In b4 V for Vendetta quote!

    No-one's done it yet?

  64. Tony Paulazzo
    Alien

    All hail discordia

    If you've read the Illuminatus you no longer have to fear the black hats, so long as you know where the fnords are. And if things get too hot you can always jump into the universe next door...

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Feeding the troll

    At last, WP has come out as a liberal hating doofus. I'm not particularly interested in trying to reason with him (it's a hopeless cause), I'm only surprised that he failed to mention Steve Jobs or Apple in his beat-off stream of nonsense. And as we're freely quoting others, here's one for WP:

    "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." by the USA's very own A. Lincoln. Now there was a man who knew the limits of gum'ment.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Well, given their track record...

    Given their track record, we have no reason to trust this country. There are several examples of people being added to the no-fly list, simply because they have publicly opposed the shrub. People who have said "I left the US because of GWB" to the press, have been added to the list of persons that should be held for questioning whenever they reach a us-controlled place (there is proof of this being the reason), so it's obvious that GWB's definition of "Terrorist" is "anybody that publicly disagrees with my policies".

    Add to that the policy of confiscating anything that can potentially be used to hide an "illegal" (in their mind) mp3-file at the borders, And we have a country that makes Stalin Russia seem like just a "nice try". This is a country where corporate interests has taken over all rights, and the general population is kept dumb through the corporate-controlled mainstream media. Pretty much invites rules elsewhere such as "american businessmen not welcome before they have gone through an education programme", and "american soldiers not welcome".

    Maybe it's time the United Nations finds a new place to build a new complex. Perhaps in a democratic, not corporistic, country.

    --anon

  67. Kwac
    Unhappy

    @you can't blame George Bush for this

    What is your salary?

    When was the last time you masturbated?

    How many lovers has your wife had since you married?

    When was the last time you took a works' pen home?

    Why shouldn't we know everything about you?

    You've got nothing to hide, right?

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Nothing to fear from El Reg

    If Google turn up at the door offering millions to buy you out, you'll be turning them away then.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would staggeringly hilarious

    If it weren't so sad.

    Listening to folks scream republican/democrat, as if there were a difference.

    Both aspects of the thin pyramid top of the politik and their appartchik, who are the largest employers in the USA, represent NOTHING in regard to day to day lives of the proletariat. They are an elite class that doesn't know anything about the people whose best interests they claim to represent.

    On the one hand, Some claim that Obama will save us all. Obama, who is different from his so-called opponent only in his age, as a junior senator has not yet had the time to acquire the riches of the more senior McCain.

    On the other hand, we have McCain. A man who retired from a very successful and honorable career as a naval officer, with the rank of captain, stepped immediately into a congressional seat, from there into the senate, HAVE NEVER HAD A REGULAR JOB IN HIS LIFE. No can't even remember how many mansions he owns, can't even track his own wealth, it's so huge.

    And all around him, the knee-pad conservatives, grovelling and scratching about on their knees to the rich and powerful. What a sick bunch.

    This is an oligarchy, purely and simply described.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Tony Paulazzo

    Hail Eris, all hail Discordia!

    PS - to jump into the universe next door; do I just slip in between two dimensions as in 'Dirk Gently - The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul; or do I have to drink the Kool Aid first?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's new?

    I thought Hoover did this, has someone stopped?

  72. Chris Cheale

    C'est ci n'est pas un "title"

    > Perhaps in a democratic, not corporistic, country.

    Good luck in finding one.

  73. StarsAndStripesForever
    Boffin

    So-called Privacy advocates

    I suppose having several planes crash killing hundreds and 3000 civilians killed from plane bombs is a better solution.

    History is replete with examples of what happens to governments who coddle terrorists. They fall!

  74. Alan Fisher

    Illumintus Trilogy

    Strange thing is that the Illumintus Trilogy was meant as a joke....someone obviously forgot the tell them that....

    I approached those books with a very open mind and find that, scarily, a book which is as old as i am, is decribing what seems to be going on in the world today....

    I'm going to hail Discordia now and polish my golden apples in readiness before everyone else joins in!

  75. Alan Fisher
    Flame

    It had to happen...

    like AC said, what's the difference these days?? We see Obama trounce Hilary partly because of his seemingly limitless wealth. McCain is super wealthy too.....what else can happen in a country where those aspiring to high office can only come from the superrich upper class which everyone there pretends does not exist??

    No 'in touch with the common people' presidents in the ol' US of A! Rome is alive and well in that only the Rich can be in politics and the rich will always come first for politicians. Never make the mistake of thinking that the people we vote for really care, it's all about power, my friends.

    Of course the revolution is coming and it will and I'll be lobbing the golden apples at the fuzz! lol

    Fire because politicians are starting to light it, or at least add some petrol to the flames (or maybe it napalm?...)

  76. James H. Byers Jr.

    Take a deep breath..............

    I would wait to see the official information. The DNC controlled news media almost always lies about this type of story (New York Times is one of the worst) to get the uninitiated and nieve all lathered up making them excellent canon fodder for the DNC disinformation program to come.

  77. Daniel Hutty
    Pirate

    @Webster Phreaky

    So you implicitly trust, not just the government, not just each and every government agency, not just the MEDIA, but *every single employee* of all of the above who might get hold of your details?

    Every under-paid Joe Bloggs in, for example, border control who could concievably have access to your address, and from your travel records establish that:

    (a) rich enough to afford regular trips abroad; that

    (b) you go away on holiday the first week of month X each year, and that

    (c) his cousin Billy-Bob lives in the area and owns a crow-bar and a pickup truck.

    You trust every member of each of the above services - AND THE MEDIA - to be a fine honest upstanding citizen who embodies the ideal of the American Way? No Joe and Billy-Bob Bloggses?

    Good to see the indoctrination program is progressing nicely...

    tl;dr - While it's true that only the guilty need fear the innocent, only a fool would trust *everyone* to be innocent.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Truth

    @Alan Fisher - The Illuminatus Trilogy was meant as a joke; but then jokes are only really funny because they contain an element of truth you can identify with.

    As pointed out in said trillogy.

    @StarsAndStripesForever - We were doing all right before two planes crashed into the WTC, democracy and civil liberties were still potentially ok. No need to suspend them until now.

  79. Stephen Gray

    @you can't blame George Bush for this

    "we aren't off blaming the US for global warming while you can't even breath in china without a mask on" You really are a fuckwit and I suspect actually quite proud of it too

  80. Stephen Gray

    @StarsAndStripesForever

    Nothing to do with the shit security at your airports, Yes Sir a 3 inch blade is just fine....

  81. Sorry Dog

    I know what Georgy is up to ... he is from Texas afterall...

    Not to look for more paperwork or anything but maybe this can streamline the hiring of illegals at the local home depot.

    Not sure if Pablo Espinoza (who has a legit card after swimmin the grande 15 years ago) is really not Jose Morales?(who is Pablo's 3rd cousin in law and is using an inkjet and Pablo's number)

    Just call Homeland and text'em the pic from your camera phone. Of course they'll have to setup print readers and camera's at the New Mexico border.

    ...Or since Pablo's brother already works for me I can call'em and find out if he really brought me a bottle genuine El Petron or if he filled up an empty from Don Pepe out of a Brownsville Chevron.

  82. Dave Rickmers
    Pirate

    Disinformation is a two-way street

    Bury them in so much bullshit they'll go crazy trying to find meaning where there is none.

    I'd say more, but I have a kilo of China White waiting at the airport.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Connecting the dots

    Me: But I don't have any dots!

    FBI: We'll connect'em anyway.

    So the republitards have morphed into the Stasi? Welcome to Pinochet's Chile.

    This will require a raft load of information technology.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The year 2050

    Mexico to the US. You need to do some thing thing to stop all of these illegals from coming into out country. Its not our responsibility to take care of your citizens

  85. Andus McCoatover

    @amanfrommars

    ...Net user going to care about the obsessions of a bunch of tinfoil hat merchants, as long as eBay and Facebook and YouTube still work?<<

    Sorry, missed the fact that Facebook and YouTube need, er, the internet. Forgot the tinfoil.

    Gerra grip, read "Stranger in a strange land". Or, move to Finland. Same thing.

  86. Tom
    Black Helicopters

    Eh.. dont care.

    They want to keep track of all my comings and goings great.. then I don't have to ask.. hey what did we do two weekends ago and get blank stares.. I'll just ask my local G man. Why should anyone give a crap that isn't doing things they shouldn't. I say lets get it on. We can still say and think what we want... its not like 1984... it is like in that they record everything but I doubt I'll end up in a room with a rat cage hanging off my nose.

    Let them black helicopters fly. As long as they don't wake me up at night.

  87. NT

    Andus and Tom

    @ Andus McCoatover

    "Sorry, missed the fact that Facebook and YouTube need, er, the internet. Forgot the tinfoil."

    Firstly, that was me, not amanfromMars. However, because of a lack of pronouns in your sentence, I'm not sure whether you're saying *you* missed that fact, or that you think *I* did.

    If the latter (and only if), no I didn't. I meant - and I may not have been clear - that the average net user isn't going to pay much attention to the sort of exchange that amanfromMars spoke of, since they're plenty busy with their daily distractions, like Facebook; and therefore the Internet won't have to be restricted or shut down because it's no threat. If such people *did* all suddenly decide to look up from doling out their personal information at the CIA's social-networking trough, or happy-slapping passers-by for teh lulz on YouTube, then there might be a bit more of a problem for the Powers That Be.

    @ Tom

    "Why should anyone give a crap that isn't doing things they shouldn't."

    If you've managed to miss the flood of replies to that very question offered in the comments for every single privacy-related article on this site, and others, then there's really no hope for you.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    And this surprises anyone how?

    After the US Congress kept giving the government more and more power to violate individuals rights how can anyone be surprised when they make use of those powers (or, as in this case, announce that they will use those powers.) The stinker is that both the Democrats and Republicans support this.

    The same trend is happening in the EU so it all balances, there isn't anywhere you can avoid this.

  89. Pierre Silver badge
    Flame

    @StarsAndStripesForever

    My opinion is that you usurpated the icon you used. Your comment clearly shows that you are alien to any reading skill, thus in no need of glasses whatsoever. History is not what Fox News says. History existed before 9/11. I know, it's hard to believe, but still true. And 9/11 was quite an insignificant event when compared to terrorism in the world (you know, that tiny unimportant part of the world that happens to be outside the US). Actually, quite a few people in the world happen to remember 9/11 as the date when the US put Pinochet in place. Which caused a number of casualties that makes the WTC events look like a Walt Disney Pictures picnic. Go and learn what "history" means, then you might be allowed in the grownups' conversation.

  90. John Stirling

    @starsamdstripesforever

    No, history is not replete with examples of what happens to countries soft on terrorism, but is replete with countries that are thoughtlessly tough. 9/11 was an\ example of the latter not the former. Intelligent toughness isn't something we've seen a lot of either yet, unfortunately.

    On the other hand it is really really replete with examples of what happens when the leadership of a country get too much power over the private lives of it's citizens. I expect the current US leadership to add the word 'democratic' into the title of your great country, during their process of removing it from the method of government.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't everyone the media nowadays

    these databases are getting ridiculous.

    I am beginning to think the only way to counteract them is if someone builds a database on the all the personal details of everyone involved with government, and then just makes all the data publicly available.

    If they have nothing to fear, hey why should they hide.

    We could do it using the theory of seven degrees of separation, and be done by monday.

    Of course that would mean nearly all undercover operations would be blown, people would be able to complain directly to a person's home address who was a member of a government dept. that imposed a sanction, business could refuse to serve members of certain traffic departments, just by sticking up their face with a sign below saying do not serve, etc etc.

    Yes, people could be just as petty as the government. This is why no group should have too much information on everyone else, it makes everyone vulnerable, privacy should be the norm, not something that should be fought for.

  92. asdf

    a certain document.....

    ......"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security".....

    some here may recognise these words.

  93. elderlybloke
    Paris Hilton

    Re Bush??????? Mmmmmm

    Dear Chris G,

    I beg to differ, you see a C**t is useful and George Bush is not.

    Peace man.

    An obvious choice of icon.

  94. skeptical i
    Stop

    We screwed up, you pay the price.

    @ StarsAndStripesForever:

    It is my recollection that the 'Murkin intel- gathering/ privacy invasion apparatus was working just fine before 11-SEP-2001; reports about how Osama bin Laden had plans to attack the U.S. were handed 'round to TPTB who promptly ignored them and the rest is history. So how about we make smarter and better use of the data already being collected before launching yet another fishing expedition that will do more harm than good?

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which address will McCain provide at the border?

    "Honest law abiding citizens have nothing to fear if their telephone calls or internet traffic were to be intercepted,"

    That's funny, from a President that used GOP email addresses to avoid being tracked. I guess he wasn't 'honest' or 'law abiding' then by your definition.

    When McCain is at the border and required to give his address and home details to be entered in the big tracking database of potential criminals, I wonder what he says? Which home address (of the ones he remembers) does he give?

    For those who missed it:

    " Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own. "I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M."

    This is not a man in charge of his own families purchasing decisions. If he doesn't control which houses they buy in his own family, what hope has he got of being in charge in the Whitehouse?

    What a loser.

  96. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Alien

    Agreeing to Disagree allows for Natural Selection of the Fittest for Purpose*

    "You're very wrong, though. The Internet isn't some independent global Freedom Network Of The People. It's owned and run, lock stock and barrel, by the US Government and a few major corporations. If it was ever considered to be a serious enough threat -rather than the fantastic bread-and-circuses distraction it's been so far - it'd be gone." .... By NT Posted Thursday 21st August 2008 23:59 GMT

    Ok, have it your way then, NT. I wouldn't like to waste our time disagreeing about something which is intangible with no Physicality to Control.

    I tend to veer towards and would support the thinking that because of such Intangibility, it can never be threatened, although the fantastic bread-and-circuses distractions will be easily changed to something more palatable and agreeable.

    Quite how one would own such a Virtual Space, for that is what the Internet is, other than with a more dDominant/Enlightened Intellectual Property, is something which I would wish to read/hear/see.

    *.... an IntelAIgently Design Theory?

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    data is power, and it doesnt harm the credit reference agencys executive bank ballance eather

    "By KenPosted Thursday 21st August 2008 17:35 GMT Jeez - I wasn't worried until that last bit. Even El Reg would have access to the database? Unacceptable!!! Only quality US pubs like the National Enquirer should be able to look at those records.

    "

    lets face it ken, its only fair ElReg gets to see and use the US database, after all the US gets to see YOU walking down your UK street as the UK CCTV is fed directly and real-time into the mass US cacheing kit, to sit next to the UK DNA database, and ID cards cache, just ask "Jacqui Smith" queen of the Thought Police and her good friend and mentor "David Blunkett".

    and its all gone very quiet on the use of databases to store information on (Your?) children could be used for predictive profiling, with the state singling out children deemed by computers to be likely future criminals.

    hmm , perhaps kent can start a new venture and sell these people travel insurance by advertising their database entrys back to them

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    its called voting, try it sometime and they might not get back in if you all vote an outsider in

    "facepalm*

    By PunkTigerPosted Thursday 21st August 2008 18:16 GMT Please, for the love of All Things Good In The World, isn't there a way we can get this twat out of office early?...

    "

    YES tthere is ,its called voting and you should have done it last time he was up.

    every time YOU dont bother to vote gives his and his like a way to stay, spoiling your vote doesnt count anymore ether as again they find a way to stay in.

    its simple dont make excuses just get off your arse adn make a point of picking one outsider (libdem in the case of the UK) and REALLY take the time to vote simple.

    also DO NOT EVER FORGET the behind the scenes people that helped him put all these plans in place and come up with the plan are still there, so whatever outsider you pick must be clearly wise to these people and want to move them out of power positions too.

    if the outsider doesnt do a good job in the general direction thats good for your constitutuins rights etc then kick them out next time, but give them a chance to try, you never know they might actually be better than you think, after all, could it be any werse and do you trust the no.1 oposition to do it different.

    wereas the rank outsider is so suprised to get in, they try and do a reasonable job and put back what you have lost in the process, ask them to do it before you vote them in and see what they say, cant do any more harm can it, and this time make the effort to cast YOUR VOTE in person.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    My take on the matter...

    @Dangermouse

    That makes two of us...

    I said before that I had waived any chance to visit the US since it morphed into a fascist nation-state -- and I just keep getting new opportunities for restatement.

    Also the Interpol had already set the tune very loud & clear more than a year ago -- check this:

    http://news.cnet.com/2100-1028-6196190.html?tag=tb

    <-- Burning Bush (No Godly Voice, Though)

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Still small voice of calm

    International air passenger data has been collected by the US for years. They are simply extending this to land border crossings, so unless I've missed a fundamental shift in the political map of North America, this means human traffic from Mexico and Canada. In short, it is unlikely to affect the great majority of El Reg's readership.

    All the same, a 15 year retention policy rings the odd alarm bell, and 75 years for foreigners is simply astounding. There's no statute of limitation on certain high-tarriff offences, but most people (especially foreigners) don't even live that long.

    Still, won't affect me. I've several passports, and have never used the US document for anything except appearing and disappearing in the States as if by magic.

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