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Saturday, December 2nd 2006

We Know What You Eat!

This program has been making the rounds in the media, despite the fact CNN makes it sound like they’ve stumbled upon a story. Still, it is a pretty disgusting example of the erosion of civil liberties.

Without their knowledge, millions of Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders in the past four years have been assigned scores generated by U.S. government computers rating the risk that the travelers are terrorists or criminals.

The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years.

The government calls the system critical to national security following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Some privacy advocates call it one of the most intrusive and risky schemes yet mounted in the name of anti-terrorism efforts.

David Sobel, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group devoted to civil liberties in cyberspace: “It’s probably the most invasive system the government has yet deployed in terms of the number of people affected.”

Sobel said, “Some individuals will be denied the right to travel and many the right to travel free of unwarranted interference.”

Sobel said in the interview that the government notice also raises the possibility that faulty risk assessments could cost innocent people jobs in shipping or travel, government contracts, licenses or other benefits.

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