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OT: Bray on Total Information Awareness

Call me livid.  Can't believe what I read in today's paper, in Hiawatha Bray's
column.  I think he reads this mailing list so even though it's off-topic, I'm
posting my rant here.  (In fact, it's off-topic even for HIS column--why's he
posting this commentary in a column normally devoted to computer-related

I refer you to this URL:
(yeah, they make you register these days, another overdue rant about one of
our prominent local online institutions...I digress.)

He cites a couple of bogus arguments in making a case that Homeland Security
ought to have semi-restricted access to all those commercial databases that
are being built up (credit card purchases, store-discount cards, web-browser
cookies, EZ Pass usage and so on).  Supposedly Congress can come up with a way
to ensure citizen privacy while giving gov't spooks essential tools for
catching terrorists, be it before or after an attack.

These arguments/analogies I think are bogus:

(1) Government dossiers are (somehow) like telephones:  we shouldn't ban the
telephone just because it can be wiretapped.  Huh??

(2) Total (or Terrorist) Information Awareness was an "experimental" project
funded by DARPA, which also funded the ARPAnet in its experiemental era. 
Since the Internet is a good thing then I guess everything else DARPA funds is
a good thing.  Hmmm.

Well I'll leave my comments at that.  This guy is going off the Romney deep
end.  Maybe instead of posting here I (or you) should write to his bosses at
the Globe...


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