QuickTopic free message boards logo
Skip to Messages



^     All messages            2-17 of 17  1-1 >>
Aaron John
07:55 AM ET (US)
incometaxindia.gov.in “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” onlinesbi.com
  Messages 16-13 deleted by author between 07-21-2006 09:00 AM and 05-12-2006 06:05 AM
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
10:40 AM ET (US)
There's also the problem of Dumb Laws. We pay legislators to legislate for us; is it any surprise when in addition to doing the necessary fine tuning on the wheels of justice they also dick around and do make-work in an attempt to justify their jobs at the next election?

Dumb/unenforced laws aren't a problem in a society with merely human enforcers, until someone tries to enforce them. But if we switch to automated enforcement there is a horrible danger that we'll end up with a system in which everybody is a criminal. Per ex: can you swear to me that you haven't broken any laws in the past month? (Like, say, driven at 33 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone? Copied an mp3 without the permission of the copyright holder? Misrepresented the actual book value of a stolen asset in an insurance claim? And so on.)

And automated enforcement is what automated surveillance leads to. Not the police state, but the robot state.
Randy Beck
07:01 PM ET (US)

I disagree and I agree.

Although they'd be false leads, both of your examples would raise valid suspicions. It's not much different -- conceptually speaking -- than if a cop walked into a neighborhood, saw some disturbing graffiti and then checked out everyone who lived there. They can't arrest you for living near the graffiti, but it's a first step in an investigation.

The problem is that we're talking about virtual cops watching your every move, reading all your graffiti (and there's a lot more of it nowadays), and then building a long dossier. They have an effectiveness that human cops could never deliver. So, the activity isn't much different, and yet the level of intrusion is greater.

As for Ted Kennedy, I would think that incident was arranged ahead of time. Back when we were debating the Clinton health care plan and comparing our system to Canada's, one of the opponents' talking points was that Canada had a waiting list for MRI machines. Some Democrat arranged to "need" an MRI scan, so he flew all the way to Hawaii where they (naturally) had a waiting list.
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
05:00 PM ET (US)
The problem with data mining is that it imposes the data miner's assumptions (let's call them prejudices -- pre-judgements) on the mound of raw data. Circumstantial facts can be used to build a damning pattern if you just spread the net widely enough, and given that it's estimated that 40% of all credit rating database entires contain bogus or factually inaccurate information, how do we know that we're not going to be dragged kicking and screaming into a SuperMax installation for debriefing on the basis of a typo in someone else's change of address letter sixteen years ago and a faulty parser grepping an ancient usenet posting spool?

Random example: back in 1989-90 I lived in Bradford, a city in the UK that is approximately 20% Muslim and has something of a reputation for radical mosques. I lived in a student house which was leased out repeatedly and owned by a local Pakistani landlord. And I've posted on usenet, including postings with keywords like "terrorism" and "al qaida" and "bomb" in them. If a Bad Type(TM) moved in across the street but their address was mis-keyed, or the date of their residence was mis-keyed, I think you can see where I might find myself coming up on someone's database search radar (for absolutely no valid reason).

Second random example: the problem of generalizing assumptions. Let us suppose my [fictional] younger sibling shares a flat with a gay friend who thinks they may be HIV positive, and I dig into my pocket to help out by buying books on living with HIV -- and even paying for an HIV test. The pattern of financial and other transactions on my record may make it look as if I have HIV (which is still something I'd be barred from entering the USA for), even though the truth was otherwise: after all, the medical records would be off-limits to most searches while credit records aren't.

This is just scratching the surface. If you want a classic example of the perils of blindly trusting automated procedures to catch terrorists, ask Teddy Kennedy about his time on the "No-Fly" list.
Randy Beck
10:25 AM ET (US)
The fact that some presumably innocent people aren't permitted to enter the U.S. is a nuisance, but I'd call it a cautious nuisance, and a necessary one. Your examples (only one of which I could access without submitting to a profile!) seems to be about keeping people out. It's not the same as when countries lock people in. The general solution might even be better data mining/profiling.

But it looks like we did pretty good on this one. Your article talks about Abhoud Syed Lingga, and calls him the "executive director of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies in Cotabato City and chair of the Bangsamoro People's Consultative Assembly." But a Google search finds that he's also the "former secretary-general of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)" -- and that's a terrorist group.

Okay, a correction: The MILF is the terrorist group, and the MNLF was more cooperative. But my original point still stands. We have to be cautious about who we let in.
Edited 10-08-2004 10:31 AM
Tony Quirke
09:26 PM ET (US)
Makes you worry and wonder though, what could be assertained (however mistakenly) via datamining? What happens when the mid-management like flunkies of various MI# decide that profiles can be built up from the scattered info that lives on the net/public archives.

I sometimes wonder whether it'd be worth it paying the $100 fee and applying for a visa from the US Embassy just to see if the Unistat computers have trolled through the Usenet and tagged me as a radical anti-American extremist hellbent on death and destruction.

Then again, if they've done that for me, Charlie would most likely have the same classification (and a bloody Commie besides) and he seems to be able to get in and out of the Untied Snakes without any problem.

Mmm - I know about Tariq Ramadan - who else has been banned from entering the US recently? There's this and this...
08:02 AM ET (US)
Makes you worry and wonder though, what could be assertained (however mistakenly) via datamining? What happens when the mid-management like flunkies of various MI# decide that profiles can be built up from the scattered info that lives on the net/public archives.

Tracing all the little packets of info that point you towards being a non-conformist-neo-anarchist-hacker-vum-terrorist (Because all law breakers are terrorists don'cher know)!?!

The freakiest scam I ever got was actually an alternative to the 'Nigerian Prince' scam. It was when that one first appeared, and my version was the Gambian Ex-Prime Minister.

Freaked me out completely as I was actually travelling to the Gambia two days after the mail arrived.

I can only blame a near mental collapse on the reason I didn't pick it up as a hoax straight away - but I tool a lot of calming down before I'd get off that plane. I was expecting to be met with bullets!
06:14 PM ET (US)
After my last message here, I did a web search, and found the scam online. Choosing a famous Jewish family that really did have a coat-of-arms, I did a comparison. If you look at the web page
http://www.houseofnames.com/coatofarms_det...p?sId=&s=rothschild you can actually seen the "Rothschild coat-of-arms," as it would be sent to you by our friendly scammers. However, the real Rothschild coat of arms can easily be found by googling.
They both are red and have arrows in them, but there is little resemblance otherwise.

03:29 AM ET (US)
Thanks for the Info.

I wonder where William Pinces's family tree starts. Some primeval swamp somewhere. Maybe they are still there. He (they)must be making loads of money out of this scam. Keep safe everyone.
05:46 PM ET (US)
My grandmother actually ordered one of these; many, many years ago, when computers were all mainframes. Most of it was a list of everybody with her surname (Bopp), presumably compiled from telephone books throughout the world. I have no idea how accurate the historical part was, but I really don't think there are any historical Bopp coats-of-arms (wouldn't German royalty be von Bopp?) I expect they're going through all the surnames with the most common first (more suckers per surname) and have finally gotten to Stross.
Randy Beck
12:01 PM ET (US)
Not on the subject of scams but on data mining, I thought I'd bring up a cover of Reason magazine that went out earlier this year. Every subscriber received a different cover, and each one was the satellite image of his neighborhood, with the house circled:

It was a great stunt, and a great demonstration of what's available.

Dunno if you'd heard of it, but it's worth repeating even if you had.
11:30 AM ET (US)
Bah, that's nothing. My dad got a copy of this at work last year.

They're really not careful with their databases, because this one was addressed to `Dear Finance Officer', with all the other mail-merge elements adjusted accordingly.

(The centuries-old Finance Officer name, and all.)

I'm just hoping that I get a copy at some point, so I can send by return post a simple note

`Sorry, we did the research in 1935, and already have a coat of arms (albeit expired). If you'd done any actual research --- which would have involved talking to living members of the family, among other things --- we'd already know about it. You, sir, are a fraud.'

(Also, in the light of <http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog...ives/001388.html>;,
I kind of hope he accidentally sends such junk to a member of the Lords at some point. ;) )
Ferag NicBhrdePerson was signed in when posted
06:18 AM ET (US)
I wonder if he's properly registered with the Data Commissioner or the Dutch equivalent? After all, that's a lot of personal data he claims to have stored...
^     All messages            2-17 of 17  1-1 >>

Print | RSS Views: 3147 (Unique: 1333 ) / Subscribers: 0 | What's this?