Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Newly Declassified Files Detail Massive FBI Data-Mining Project

From Wired Magazine ...

A fast-growing FBI data-mining system billed as a tool for hunting terrorists is being used in hacker and domestic criminal investigations, and now contains tens of thousands of records from private corporate databases, including car-rental companies, large hotel chains and at least one national department store, declassified documents obtained by Wired.com show.

Headquartered in Crystal City, Virginia, just outside Washington, the FBI’s National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) maintains a hodgepodge of data sets packed with more than 1.5 billion government and private-sector records about citizens and foreigners, the documents show, bringing the government closer than ever to implementing the “Total Information Awareness” system first dreamed up by the Pentagon in the days following the Sept. 11 attacks
Does this type of data mining harm privacy? If so, how? If not, why not?

1 comment:

Mallory said...

I think this type of data gathering does harm privacy. When the FBI is collecting database records from car rentals, hotels, department stores and aggregating them together, many privacy harms from our taxonomy are violated. Information Processing harms such as Secondary Use, aggregation, and exclusion are definitely violated. We gave the information in return for services, not so they could give or sell to the government. It is so hard to balance privacy and security and it seems we will always be arguing over where the correct balance is between the two. The FBI says they are collecting this to identify terrorist cells, but by doing this they are also identifying us as citizens and harming our privacy. I think this is another example of how it is impossible in today's world to live off the gird, to not be affected by the governments international search for terrorists.