back to article Official: America auto-scanned visitors' social media profiles. Also: It didn't work properly

The US Department of Homeland Security used software to scan social media accounts of people visiting America, but it didn't work properly. That's the conclusion of a study by the department's inspector general. In a heavily redacted report [PDF] that surfaced this week, the watchdog revealed that in December 2015, US …

  1. tfewster Silver badge

    Home of the Brave

    Where, Scotland?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Home of the Brave

      Based on the picture - maybe. If the second referendum does not go Standartenfuhrer May's way.

      Note the insignia on the trooper's sleeve.

  2. thesykes
    FAIL

    Who's the dumbest here? Terrorists that post on Facebook that they're off to Merica to blow something up, or, so called intelligence agencies who believe that they do?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      It does sound rather daft.

      On the other hand, never underestimate the power of stupid.

      1. Tomato42 Silver badge
        Trollface

        > On the other hand, never underestimate the power of stupid.

        well, DHS did spend good few million to learn that they don't...

      2. Luke Worm

        No, it can even make you president.

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      @ thesykes

      Every time someone makes that comment I remind them about the way that Robin Hood airport was saved by checking social media.

      1. F0rdPrefect

        Re: @ thesykes

        Robin Hood airport saved?

        From an idiot making a stupid joke on Twitter?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or

      people concerned about illegally occupied lands?

    5. paulf Silver badge
      Headmaster

      FTA: "It has identified 275 software tools that could be used in the scanning,"

      This is also as staggering as the idea the tools could do meaningful scanning in the first place. Are there really 275 distinct tools out there that could do detailed scanning of social media profiles and extract data subject to exacting filters? [And hopefully a bit more sophisticated than: more <profile location> | grep 'allah akhbar|death to murrica|beards FTW'] There may be quite a few tools that claim to work on "Big Data" (which is in the cloud, natch) but social media would be a specialisation that not all of them can handle. Presumably they whittled down a review sample of 275+ software tools to reach that figure. How much time was spent reviewing each proposed tool? What criteria had to be met for a tool to be considered suitable? How do they know they included all tools that may have been suitable in the initial "To review" list?

    6. macjules Silver badge

      Isn't it nice to know that Capita/Steria are not the only companies on the planet that take taxpayers' money and screw things up?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Who's the dumbest here?"

      The group that exists...

  3. Ted 3

    What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

    I still don't have a Facebook account (under my real name), LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat or instagram account. I have a Google+, but only cos I have a Gmail address. The profile is entirely empty. I wonder if that flags me as a miscreant, cos it appears I have something to hide?

    1. zanto
      Pint

      Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

      if you want privacy, don't put your sh!t out in public.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

        "if you want privacy, don't put your sh!t out in public."

        Of course if you do take a dump in public, people will avoid you like the plague.

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

      IIRC there was a Canadian recently who got hassled and eventually denied entry because they showed up with a phone that had been factory reset.

      1. Ted 3

        Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

        See, that's the thing. Combine Zanto's comment and Orv's comment and that is what I am concerned about. As a privacy-preferring person, I am not active on social media. And this very disengagement with what is the new normal could be construed as so unusual that it obviously means I have something to hide. And that could mean "extreme vetting" time, whatever that mean.

        Perhaps I should start working on that Facebook profile full of cat videos and duck-face selfies. That's what a "normal person" does, right?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

          Perhaps I should start working on that Facebook profile full of cat videos and duck-face selfies. That's what a "normal person" does, right?

          I was talked into having a facebook a/c by my family several years ago as a way to keep in contact with them. I put a few photos of cloud formations on there, no one was interested so I haven't bothered since. If my browser forgot the password I doubt that I would ever go there again.

          1. Known Hero

            Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

            @Ivan 4.

            Whilst Personally I have actually forgone Facebook for a while now, There is most certainly going to be groups on there that are fascinated by cloud formations. Whilst not a nice atmosphere as meeting in a pub to talk clouds, facebook is actually a good means to bring likeminded people together.

            e.g.

            https://www.facebook.com/interestingcloudformations/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps I should start working on that Facebook profile...

          ...full of cat videos and duck-face selfies. That's what a "normal person" does, right?

          Just until I get to be president. Then I will ban you and your friends out of the planet!

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Perhaps I should start working on that Facebook profile...

            Trump banned me from his twiiter account - so I've been hammering the POTUS account - just because...

        3. veti Silver badge

          Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

          I'm pretty sure you can get a bot to run a Facebook account for you.

          Leastways, I don't know how else to explain the things.

    3. Chairo

      Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

      If you want to purge your empty google+ profile you could do that on google's downgrade page. At least that worked for me a while ago.

      1. Cris E

        Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

        If you want to purge your empty google+ profile you could do that on google's downgrade page. At least that worked for me a while ago.

        Not so fast. Trying to erase your past is a sign of nefarious intent. Also, leaving behind a long and boring history is a sign of nefarious intent. And being interesting, yeah, that's gonna raise some flags too.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    See icon... it was either that or "No shit, Sherlock". A pity that common sense can't be injected or beat into someone... I've got a list that could use some.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Trollface

      Ah, but you're not looking at it the right way.

      The contractors were, they looked at the problem and thought "how can I screw money out of the government for this?", and the answer to their question was "omg! terrorists!!1!!!"

  5. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Thanks for pointing out the problems with this system, El Reg!!

    Tomorrow we will hear that the DHS is going to double the budget, with a promise that this will fix things!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for pointing out the problems with this system, El Reg!!

      If I were a naughty boy wishing malice, I would have the cleanest social profile imaginable and pictures of the kids in my wallet. So basically all this policy will do is catch the amateurs - not a bad thing in itself but probably not the effect that they are looking for.

  6. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    the DHS: it's only a state of mind

    When are Americans going to wake up and realize that all this surveillance and paramilitarism isn't to protect them from terrorism but, in the event the voters try and eject the neocons, to implement full marshal law on the continental United States of America.

    --

    Do you want to see my ID?

    No need, sir.

    But I could be anybody.

    No you couldn't sir. This is Information Retrieval.

    1. Gray
      Trollface

      Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

      to implement full marshal law on the continental United States of America.

      No, Sherlock. That's 'martial' law. As mentioned earlier, it would be best if you all stayed away, at least until the Trumpanoia recedes a bit and our legislators weary of ulcerated knees from bowing and scraping at the threshold of the Trump presence might regain their senses.

      Truth told, martial law is probably on the horizon but NOT until the Breitbart conspiracy teams can incite a sufficiently horrible terrorist attack worthy of another 'Patriot Act' response. Stay away; don't visit, don't upset our DHS people. You wouldn't enjoy the experience.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

        @Gray, since this all started with Obami and his administration I'm not so sure your moving it on to the present administration is valid. Wasn't Obama the one that wanted to take away the guns of the population just so it would be easer it invoke martial law?

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

          @Ivan 4, it was GWB who instituted the regime whereby "all foreigners are arrested upon landing", which is where I would date the rot setting in.

          Once they've taken your fingerprints, everything else is a formality.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

        "That's 'martial' law."

        Given that it's the US we're talking about surely both spellings are valid but for different reasons.

        1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

          Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

          For clarity, Marshall Law. Very loud clarity.

      3. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

        Wasn't Marshall law what Jim Dale brought to Stodge City in Carry on Cowboy?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

          No he's Forest Laws dad.

        2. WonkoTheSane

          Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

          No. That was Marshall P. Knutt (plumber)

      4. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

        "No, Sherlock. That's 'martial' law. "

        That would involve the Armed forces - perhaps he means Cowboys With Tin Stars

        - Marshal Law...

    2. scrubber
      Big Brother

      Re: the DHS: it's only a state of mind

      @ Walter Bishop: "the voters try and eject the neocons"

      I think you'll find the voters have no say in the matter. We have successfully implemented a duopoly where we either get 95% of what we want if the voters choose D or 100% if the voters choose R. The illusion of choice, change, and freedom is how you fool all of the people, all of the time.

      BB. (Big Business? Big Brother? Bjorn Borg? Bobby Ball?)

  7. thames

    I'm going to be even more fascinated as to where they're going to get all the people who can read and understand all the various languages and dialects around the world that the multitude of social media accounts will be written in. Somehow I doubt that Google Translate is going to be up to the job.

    Oh, I forgot, we're talking about Americans. The fact that most of the world doesn't speak English all the time hasn't occurred to them yet. After all, God wrote the Bible in English, so Adam and Eve were created speaking English 5,000 years ago. Anything written in funny looking squiggles is just terrorist code.

    God help us.

    1. Stumpy

      No, he'll be too busy helping the 'merkins .. since he wrote the bible in (American) English 5,000 years ago as you've already stated ...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "After all, God wrote the Bible in English, so Adam and Eve were created speaking English 5,000 years ago."

      Yeah, the people of Babel and their tower named after themselves are to blame for all the confusion. Is anyone else building towers around the world and naming them after themselves?

  8. Magani
    WTF?

    You want WHAT?

    ...John Kelly, has said that such checks should be mandatory and travelers should also be forced to provide passwords and banking records.

    The US of A officials have 2 chances of getting my banking details. None and Buckleys.

    In the immortal words of John McInroe, "YOU CANNOT BE SIRIUS!".

  9. thames

    A few years ago a francophone Canadian sales manager from Montreal was going to a business conference in New York. On his way there he was exhorting his sales team to greater efforts through the usual bombastic proclamations, including a common French marketroid phrase that apparently translates to "we're going to explode the competition!"

    The Americans were apparently already monitoring public social media messaging accounts at that time, and upon arrival at the border that popped up. Needless to say, he didn't make it to the business conference in New York or indeed any further past the border, bur rather spent a number of long hours sweating it out in custody wondering whether his next stop was going to be Guantanamo Bay.

    I don't have a Facebook or Twitter account, and the way things are going I would be very unlikely to even consider having one now. Cardinal Richelieu supposedly once said "if you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." Substitute "six social media postings" for "six lines" and you have today's situation in a nutshell.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Some years ago they closed down Midway Airport in Chicago after one coworker greeted another in the airport after going through Security, "Hi Jack, glad to see you made it - let's get a move on"

      OMG - a hijack!

  10. Frank N. Stein

    These idiots have also instituted "mandatory groping" to "check for weapons", at American Airports. They apparently forgot that all of the weapons found, have been in BAGGAGE, not down the tops of women or pants of men. This is little more than legal freakery. And there is NO WAY that it is legal to force ANYONE to submit passwords and banking information to TSA agents, just because they want to monitor everyone for possible terrorists. When the airlines start losing money from less people flying into or around the country and less passengers from abroad traveling to the USA, what will Trump's excuse to the Airlines and Airports be? His money buddies won't be happy. He'll have to back the attack dogs and freaks, off.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      You're probably right about TSA agents. Customs agents, on the other hand, can demand pretty much anything they want; the courts have ruled that even Americans have no Constitutional rights when in the act of crossing the border.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      > what will Trump's excuse to the Airlines and Airports be?

      I'm fairly sure he'll try and find a way to blame in on Hilary, or to claim that Obama bummed it up and he's been working hard to fix it ("no-one understands airlines like Donald Trump does"). Assuming he even bothers to respond rather than simply labelling reports of them being upset as Fake News

    3. Shades

      "When the airlines start losing money from less people flying into or around the country and less passengers from abroad traveling to the USA"

      When? Its already happening. Global searches, and bookings, of flights/holidays to the US are already dramatically down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Travel to the USA down?

        And the $/£ exchange rate has nothing to do with it then?

        I was going to ship my Motorcycle to the USA this year and spend 3 months seeing 49 of the 40 states.

        The costs are just far too high with the current exchange rate. I'm biting my teeth and going to Eastern Europe instead.

        BREXIT + Trump is the perfect storm.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Travel to the USA down?

          Well, I'm sure that has something to do with it.

          But if you look at the timing, you'll see the really dramatic drop in bookings and queries coincides nicely with Trump's first travel ban. The pound's drop happened following some idiot exercise last June.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The fun will only increase when the reciprocal collar feeling starts for Americans heading abroad. A taste of their own medicine might put some perspective on how American 'exceptionalism' is playing out these days.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dark mirror

    The recent episode where everyone has to approve everyone else on social media is slowly coming true. They (TSA software people) will write an algorithm to check for your approval rating on facebook by people who have a higher (and therefore more trusted) approval rating...

    China is already doing that with their social credit system.

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/24/13379204/black-mirror-season-3-episode-1-nosedive-recap

    1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: Dark mirror

      "America's wonderful!

      Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful

      It really makes it

      Cream-cheese"

      Frank Zappa: Return of the Son of Monster Magnet, 1966.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Dark mirror

      I'd rather stick with Rammstein: "We're all living in Amerika, Amerika, Amerika..."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What! Trump wasn't even President in 2015! How could this happen!!!!!

    Plus ça change

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is a world of difference

      between trying out some tech (Proof of concept) and actually deciding to use something for real that is clearly borked to begin with.

      As has been said, there are some of us who walk taller than others because we don't do this (anti-)social media stuff whereas the others are always seen head down and scanning their social media services for their latest fix of self gratification.

      The DHS should surgically remove their phones upon entry to the USA. That's one way of fighting the addiction to this crap.

      1. Truckle The Uncivil

        Re: There is a world of difference

        I was wondering what would happen if I arrived in the USA with visa and no phone, social media or luggage. It would seem like less hassle to buy on arrival.

        1. Ian Emery Silver badge

          Re: There is a world of difference

          CONGRATULATIONS!!

          You have just triggered our 1 millionth new suspicious terrorist profile; please bend over and take a deep breath........

          As for reliability, they need Chuck, currently, it sounds like they have Morgan.

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: There is a world of difference

          I was wondering what would happen if I arrived in the USA with visa and no phone, social media or luggage.

          No social media presence, ok, no phone, probably ok, but no luggage on international travel (on top of having no phone)?

          That'd be like taking flying lessons and saying that you don't need to know how to land.

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: There is a world of difference

            Not having luggage is a bother as it gets you the stink eye for quite a while. I did a day trip to Bern for a change of scenery after spending a week at an expo in Paris and didn't bring anything with me. I got to have a nice long chat with the security folk in Bern who basically asked the same questions but from different people in a slightly different way. It only took about ten minutes with odd glances going about the room and a final shrug and I was off. Of course that was in 2000 so they probably thought I was potentially just a drug mule and it was just the high speed rail not a plane.

            Move that greeting to today in JFK and it's a whole nutter can-o-worms. Bring at least a carry-on with a change of clothes if only as to have something to change into when TSA finishes with you. Maybe pack some sterile wipes too, just in case.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    $300m was the trial.

    The live systems will be a lot more expensive.

    Not that it will be any more effective.

  14. Big Al
    Big Brother

    Picture perfect

    Presumably, an automated system will have to take account of the fact that names may not be unique, and therefore compare social media images to the 'target' in question... so at a guess, using a picture of your dog as your profile pic would give you some protection from automated tools right there. Suddenly LinkedIn's insistence on proper pics seems a lot more insidious.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      You're applying logic and rational thought to a subject that completely missed that step from the beginning.

      Please suspend that suspicious behavior until the madness has gone down a notch or three.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Picture perfect

      "using a picture of your dog as your profile pic would give you some protection"

      No, you don't get into the country until you can prove you are a cocker spaniel...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Picture perfect

        I have a dummy FB account in a fictional characters' name, no posts or friends, and the only picture is the profile pic which is of George Washington/Adam W.

        Fuck knows what they'll make of that.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not about effective systems.

    It's about crony contracts.

    It's about always having a stick on hand to beat on the scapegoat du jour.

    It's about subjugating the citizenry simply for the sake of total control.

    It's about perverted fantasies of turning the world into a sim game where you can push the horde around fo your profit and entertainment.

    It's about enabling yourself any and all of your friends to do whatever they want to the world and the people in it.

    It's about the notion that being a chairperson of sorts is a god-given ticket proving you are superior and have the right to dictate everybody else's life.

    And it's about frontal lobe damage and neurotoxins.

    And job security.

    1. NonSSL-Login
      Big Brother

      Re: It's not about effective systems.

      Nail on the head.

      The fact the author puts that it's to stop terrorism shows that the rhetoric of the US works on the minds of the many. It's coz of terrorists!

      Nothing to do with figuring out who to bug and infect with malware for industrial espionage, passing on secrets to US firms. Or finding people to influence, do their bidding, to turn against their state <insert here, 50 other reasons they do it, not related to terrorism>

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: It's not about effective systems.

      Or to summarize:

      It's about power.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck America and stay away

    It's a clown-car nation.

  17. BlokeOnMotorway

    Err, British troops in the photo?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Airstrip One

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Define "wrongdoing" ?

    in December 2015, US Citizenship and Immigration Services ran a pilot program to check social media streams both manually and automatically for any signs of wrongdoing

    Right there lies the problem: what is "wrongdoing"? Who defines that? Who can you talk to if their definition needs correcting? You can bet your last dime that "wrongdoing" isn't going to be conform with the constitution, but more likely follow the prevailing political wind, like calling out Trump for the bullshitter he is.

    I think at present it may be better to give up some accounts on Breitbart or something.

    What IS certain is that they won't stop this folly. If a lack of success was an actual criterium the TSA itself would have been replaced with something more effective and less costly a long time ago.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Define "wrongdoing" ?

      Right there lies the problem: what is "wrongdoing"? Who defines that? Who can you talk to if their definition needs correcting? You can bet your last dime that "wrongdoing" isn't going to be conform with the constitution, but more likely follow the prevailing political wind, like calling out Trump for the bullshitter he is.

      When it comes to non-citizens entering the country, the DHS has absolute discretion, under the law, on accepting or rejecting entry. The reason, as long as it doesn't fall afoul of constitutional protections (race, religion, etc) doesn't matter. The constitution doesn't guarantee, or even set out the criteria for, entry to non-citizens.

      Therefore who defines "wrongdoing" with respect to non-citizens? The border protection officer assessing the data.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Define "wrongdoing" ?

      "ight there lies the problem: what is "wrongdoing"? Who defines that? Who can you talk to if their definition needs correcting?"

      If the article is to be believed, the software is so lame that "wrongdoing" could be as innocent as the mere possession of social media accounts (especially if your name or handle matches someone else). The only way to be safe is to have no accounts.

      There! A silver lining, at last!

    3. GrantB
      Boffin

      Re: Define "wrongdoing" ?

      Think you will find that 'wrong doing' is not about someone posting pictures of themselves waving

      AK47s and getting likes for their upcoming trip to perform evil acts in the US, but rather it is about networks.

      A lot of effort is going into forming network diagrams of people, places and sites. So you been chatting with the wrong people on some dodgy chat site, who are already flagged, then you will get connected to them in a bunch of databases. And anybody connected to you, then might be examined.

      Given the extremely limited degrees of separation between people, I think any attempt to form a 'LinkedIn' network of people of interest to the agencies, will probably quickly end up with hundreds of millions of people. I shudder to think of the number of false positive hits with data like that.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: Define "wrongdoing" ?

        Yes, it's all about the graph dabases and interconnects. If you want a basic example of what's going on, GCHQ has provided version 1.0 as open source. Whatvs really interesting is how they use it. They look for short to no interconnects to pick out the nonparticipants as subjects of interest. Another use is mapping network proximity for, say, burner phone detection, brush passes, and related via gps locations, fora of interest, &c. There's quite a bit more.

        Not anon as why bother. THEY know my interest in all things "cyber", intelligence, and most frightening to them, nuclear. All of which should get me an interesting time, for certain definitions of interesting.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Define "wrongdoing" ?

        A lot of effort is going into forming network diagrams of people, places and sites. So you been chatting with the wrong people on some dodgy chat site, who are already flagged, then you will get connected to them in a bunch of databases. And anybody connected to you, then might be examined.

        Oh, cool, that has potential. Get commercial LinkedIn anonymously (the payment side will be tricky, but let's assume we manage), befriend a couple of senators and maybe Trump. Once they're in the network you then befriend a couple of dodgy jihadi characters. Rinse, repeat, then give agencies and press an anonymous tip. Sit back and watch the show.

        From another country..

  19. Trollslayer Silver badge

    John Kelly can sod off, not interested in visited a place run by Russian pawns.

    And if he comes to the UK I want to see ALL of his bank accounts.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social media and the Internet

    Real names?

    Real pictures?

    For that matter, Social Media?

    NO

    NO

    NO

    Cross-check that Randy!

  21. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    Ah, the presumptions!

    I always get a laugh out of how some of the paranoid posters here seem to assume the NSA, FBI and other Yank TLAs are populated by uniform, evil fascists, who just also happen to be top-line programmers! Don't you ever stop to think that it's kinda hard to be one and the other at the same time? Here's a clue for you lot - the majority of the people building these systems are geeks just like you, only a lot less paranoid. They are capable of independent thought and conscience, as shown by the extreme examples of Snowden and whomever leaked the CIA's malware goodies to Wikileaks.

    Unwrap the tinfoil and take a deep breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, the presumptions!

      the majority of the people building these systems are geeks just like you, only a lot less paranoid. They are capable of independent thought and conscience, as shown by the extreme examples of Snowden and whomever leaked the CIA's malware goodies to Wikileaks.

      Easy to be less paranoid when you're inside the system, but I think you're wrong which is clearly indicated by the absence of any others leaking data.

      There's also a rather massive difference between how Snowden made things public (controlled, unbiased) and how Wikileaks does it (malicious, uncontrolled and very partisan), which makes the latest leaker (a) irresponsible and (b) suspicious, as the timing just *happened* to remove some headlines that were embarrassing to Trump..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, the presumptions!

      " the majority of the people building these systems are geeks just like you, only a lot less paranoid. "

      They may be less paranoid than me, but then again I am quite paranoid...

      But I would build the system for them, if they paid me enough..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, the presumptions!

      "top-line programmers"

      Outsourced India programmers are top-line?

  22. Boohoo4u

    So...

    You're saying that with concerned citizens reporting suspected terrorist activity to the local FBI office, that would be more effective than blowing 100s of millions or billions of dollars? And, it wouldn't interfere with people's Constitutional Rights...

    Then, someone could use that create a targeted and useful database that border patrol could use?

    How novel. There is an unpaid force out there, working in their own self interest, that benefits everyone... that sounds suspiciously like a Democracy.

    Let's go the other direction instead.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Working as expected

    "Also: It didn't work properly"

    It's working perfectly. Upward of 300 million of public money was turned into private profit.

  24. RedCardinal

    >>The US Department of Homeland Security used software to scan social media accounts of people visiting America

    What happens(ed) is your social media accounts aren't in your real name?

  25. 's water music Silver badge

    opsec for millenials

    1 Don't tweet or livestream* your seekrit plans

    2 Change vowels for numbers in your screen name to defeat AI matching in case you forget 1

    Bullet proof

    *yes, yes, I know only remedial class still grannies still use FB

  26. lukewarmdog

    Thing is, if watching American cop shows has taught me anything, which it has, you'd be better off WITH a social media account (not suspicious) than without one (impossible to verify who you are otherwise, "yes I know we have his passport and driving licence and his whole family vouches for him but..HE HAS NO FACEBOOK").

    Just make it a really good fake profile.

    There are, definitely, people who post about their terrorist activities who are terrorists but can you imagine James Bond having anything but a great itinerary, pictures of the grandkids in his wallet, exactly the right number of sunglasses?

    You'd want to wave him through.

    After that he'd get the girl, kill the baddies, save the entire planet and still be back in time for breakfast.

  27. WatAWorld

    At least Trump isn't claiming all programmers are sexist bigots

    At least Trump isn't claiming all programmers are sexist bigots without examining each individual, unlike some publications I know.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: At least Trump isn't claiming all programmers are sexist bigots

      At least Trump isn't claiming all programmers are sexist bigots without examining each individual, unlike some publications I know.

      Course not. Trump isn't a programmer. On the other hand, he could rightfully say "no one understands being a sexist bigot better than I do".

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

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019